Leyla McCalla has spent much of her career paying respects to greats of the past, building a solid foundation as cellist with Carolina Chocolate Drops and continuing with forthcoming solo release, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes. Much of the full-length includes original music set to Hughes’ poems as well as completely original compositions and traditional Haitian folk songs, a nod to the nation where both of McCalla’s parents were born and where Hughes found much inspiration in his travels.
“Reading his work made me want to be an artist,” says McCalla of Hughes. “I wanted to honor his life and his legacy and my own creativity through him.”
Vari-Colored Songs is an album that’s been in the making for a long time, and McCalla estimates she’s been working on the music in one way or another for at least five years.
“Though I didn’t always know that these songs would become an album, it’s been an unforgettable journey,” said McCalla.
Vari-Colored Songs is set for release on Feb. 4 via Music Makers. Listen to the album in its entirety in the player below.