Ask 20 people how to define the music of New Orleans and you’ll get 30 different answers. It could be jazz, funk, soul, Creole, Cajun, or gospel, Caribbean, African, Zydeco, rock or the chants and stirring rhythms of Mardi Gras Indians.
New Orleans native, and Oakland’s own “Queen of New Orleans Music”, Michelle Jacques along with some “very special friends” mix all of these influences and a few more. CHELLE And Friends delivers a stewpot of musical gumbo that is sweet, spicy, aromatic and definitely intoxicating.
CHELLE! and Friends is made up of some of the most distinguished and accomplished musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area. CHELLE! And Friends perform music that is vibrant and alive with the driving voices of artistic director, founder, Michelle Jacques, Rhonda Crane, Jay Lamont and Bryan Dyer, with Donna Viscuso on woodwinds, Eric Swinerman on guitar, Kevin Scott on bass and Michaelle Goerlitz on drums.
Although the repertoire includes gospel, folk, blues, and pop songs from around the country, New Orleans music in its many varieties – jazz, R&B, swamp pop, and Mardi Gras Indian music, among them – has been the group’s focus since its inception in early 2005. Preserving those sounds became an even more urgent mission after Hurricane Katrina stuck the Crescent City later that year. This musically rich performance transcends ethnic boundaries, uplifts, brings news, protests, motivates and honors our richness and diversity.
“Whether leading a children’s Mardi Gras parade or headlining the ‘Queens of New Orleans” Music Festival, CHELLE! & Friends’ blend of music delights audiences of all ages.”
Linda Lucero, Executive/Artistic Director-Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
“Chelle has put together a dream team of accomplished performers. This group completely rocks!”
Russ Jennings, Common Soul Productions