Asani – Women Who Sing

ASANI is an Aboriginal women’s trio from Edmonton.  They are Debbie Houle, Sarah Pocklington and Sherryl Sewepagaham.  This circle of First Nations and Metis women have performed across Canada and internationally at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C. and the Saddledome in Calgary.  Their debut CD ‘Rattle and Drum’ was nominated for 11 music awards including a 2006 Juno nomination for Aboriginal Recording of the Year and received the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award (CAMA) for Best Female Traditional Cultural Roots Album, 2005.  Asani composed the theme song for the CAMA’s in 2005 and the honoring song for the Esquao Awards in 2009.   They have performed for the Dalai Lama, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and at the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, BC.
ASANI seek to use the inspiration of their cultural heritage to create music that is accessible to a wide audience, but delivers a powerful message from their hearts.  In October 2009, they released their sophomore CD “Listen,” to growing acclaim. The album establishes a new direction for the group, expending their sonic palette and going even deeper into vocal arrangements with unique depth and impact.


These women sing from their soul.  The amazing projection of sound allows them to sound as if they have omni.  Which is a directional microphone.


Since the release of their follow up cd “Listen”, ASANI has received a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and a 2010 Indian Summer Music Award for Best Spiritual Song.   In March of 2012, ASANI was acknowledged as a finalist by the Alberta Chamber of Commerce for an Alberta Business of Distinction Award as an Aboriginal Women Entrepreneur.

On March 19, 2012 Asani made their orchestral debut performing with the Lethbridge Symphony  at the Southminster United Church.    We would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their financial support of this project.   Without that support it certainly would not have been possible.

The Godmother of Rock & Roll – Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born Rosetta Nubin on March 20, 1915, in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Although the identity of her father is unknown, Tharpe’s mother, Katie Bell Nubin, was a singer, mandolin player and evangelist preacher for the Church of God in Christ; the COGIC, founded by a black Baptist bishop named Charles Mason in 1894, encouraged musical expression in worship and allowed women to preach. At the encouragement of her mother, Tharpe began singing and playing the spectrum acoustic guitar from a very young age, and was by all accounts a musical prodigy.rosetta2

She began performing onstage with her mother from the age of four, playing the guitar and singing “Jesus Is on the Main Line.” By age six, she had joined her mother as a regular performer in a traveling evangelical troupe. Billed as a “singing and guitar playing miracle,” Rosetta Tharpe accompanied her mother in hybrid performances—part sermon, part gospel concert—before audiences all across the American South.

In the mid-1920s, Tharpe and her mother settled in Chicago, Illinois, where the duo continued to perform religious concerts at the COGIC church on 40th Street while occasionally traveling to perform at church conventions throughout the country. As a result, Tharpe developed considerable fame as a musical prodigy, standing out in an era when prominent black female guitarists remained very rare; blues legend Memphis Minnie was the only such performer to enjoy national fame at the time.

In 1934, at the age of 19, Rosetta Tharpe married a COGIC preacher named Thomas Thorpe, who had accompanied her and her mother on many of their tours. Although the marriage only lasted a short time, she decided to incorporate a version of her first husband’s surname into her stage name, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, which she would use for the rest of her career.

In 1938, Tharpe moved to New York City, where she signed with Decca Records. On October 31 of that year, she recorded four songs for Decca: “Rock Me,” “That’s All,” “The Man and I” and “The Lonesome Road.” The first gospel songs ever recorded for Decca, all four of these recordings became instant hits, establishing Tharpe as one of the nation’s first commercially successful gospel singer.

Then, on December 23, 1938, Tharpe performed in John Hammond’s famous Spirituals to Swing Concert at Carnegie Hall. Her performance was controversial and revolutionary in several respects. Performing gospel music in front of secular audiences and alongside blues and jazz musicians was highly unusual, and within conservative religious circles the mere fact of a woman performing guitar music was frowned upon. Musically, Tharpe’s unique guitar style blended melody-driven urban blues with traditional folk arrangements and incorporated a pulsating swing sound that is one of the first clear precursors of rock and roll. The performance shocked and awed the Carnegie Hall audience. Later Tharpe gained even more notoriety by performing regularly with jazz legend Cab Calloway at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club.

During the early 1940s, Tharpe continued to bridge the worlds of religious gospel music with more secular sounds, producing music that defied easy classification. Accompanied by Lucky Millinder’s orchestra, she recorded such secular hits as “Shout Sister Shout,” “That’s All” and “I Want a Tall Skinny Papa.” “That’s All” was the first record on which Tharpe played the electric guitar; this song would have an influence on such later players as Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.

All the while, Tharpe kept up a grueling tour schedule, performing her gospel music in churches as well as playing secular clubs. One highlight was a weeklong stint on stage at New York’s famous Café Society before racially mixed crowds. Tharpe’s considerable crossover appeal was demonstrated during World War II when she became one of only two African American gospel artists to be asked to record “V-Discs” (the “V” stood for “victory”) for American troops overseas.

In the mid-1940s, Tharpe scored another musical breakthrough by teaming up with blues pianist Sammy Price to record music featuring an unprecedented combination of piano, guitar, and gospel singing. The duo’s two most famous tracks, recorded in 1944, were “Strange Things Happening Every Day” and “Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread.” However, in the face of intense criticism from the religious community, who viewed her jazzy collaborations with Price as the devil’s music, Tharpe returned to recording more Christian music later in the 1940s. In 1947, she formed a duet with fellow gospel singer Marie Knight to record such overtly spiritual traditional gospel songs as “Oh When I Come to the End of My Journey,” “Stretch Out” and “Up Above My Head” (“I Hear Music in the Air”).

Tharpe married Russell Morrison on July 3, 1951. The elaborate ceremony at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C., attended by some 25,000 paying audience members, featured a gospel performance by Tharpe in her wedding dress and finished with a massive fireworks display.

In 1953, Tharpe and Knight deviated from the gospel genre to record a secular blues album. The experiment proved disastrous. Not only was the album a commercial failure, it also earned both artists widespread condemnation from the religious community that had provided their most loyal fan base. Tharpe and Knight parted ways shortly after the album’s release and neither ever recovered her previous popularity. Tharpe spent the remaining two decades of her career touring Europe and the United States, primarily playing gospel music.

Though she had a much lower profile during these years, Tharpe enjoyed several late-career highlights, including an acclaimed 1960 performance with James Cleveland at the Apollo in Harlem and a 1967 performance at the Newport Jazz Festival.

While on a European blues tour with Muddy Waters in 1970, Tharpe suddenly fell ill and returned to the United States. She suffered a stroke shortly after her return and, due to complications from diabetes, had to have a leg amputated. Despite her health woes, Tharpe continued to perform regularly for several more years. In October 1973, however, she suffered a second stroke and passed away days later, on October 9, 1973, at the age of 58, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

One of the most celebrated musicians of all time, Sister Rosetta Tharpe enjoyed a celebrity in the 1940s rarely attained by gospel musicians before or since. “She could play a guitar like nobody else you’ve ever seen,” her friend Roxie Moore said. “People would flock to see her. Everybody loved her.” Ira Tucker Jr., the son of the legendary gospel singer Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds, put it simply: “She was a rock star.”

rosetta3More than just popular, Tharpe was also groundbreaking, profoundly impacting American music history by pioneering the guitar technique that would eventually evolve into the rock and roll style played by Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Eric Clapton. However, despite her great popularity and influence on music history, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was first and foremost a gospel musician who shared her spirituality with all those who listened to her music. Her epitaph reads, “She would sing until you cried and then she would sing until you danced for joy. She helped to keep the church alive and the saints rejoicing.”


Thanks to


Remembering Natalie

American singer-songwriter Natalie Cole, daughter of mid-century crooner Nat King Cole, is best known for her Grammy Award-winning album ‘Inseparable.’

“I never got to make the transition from little girl to young woman … and that really screws you up.”

—Natalie Cole

Natalie Maria Cole was born on February 6, 1950, to vocal legend Nat King Cole and jazz singer Maria Cole in Los Angeles, California. Growing up with talented and renowned parents, Cole was raised in an environment that nurtured her natural musical ability. At the age of 6, she recorded “I’m Good Will, Your Christmas Spirit”

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREwith her father, and by age 11, the young songstress had begun performing in the community.

Natalie Cole’s world suddenly changed when she was 15 years old: In February 1965, her father died of cancer. The tragedy put a strain on Cole’s relationship with her mother. Later that same year, her mother moved the family to Massachusetts, where Natalie attended Northfield Mount Hermon High School.

Although a career in music would be an obvious choice for Cole, she set her sights on something different: Following high school, she enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she majored in child psychology. She briefly transferred to the University of Southern California, where she pledged the Upsilon Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Her time at USC was short-lived, however, as she soon transferred back to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972.

Cole, who had begun performing again over a summer break in Amherst, at a venue called “The Pub,” met the writing and producing team of Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy in 1975. The duo helped Cole land a deal with Capitol Records and, later that year, create the album Inseparable. With hit songs such as “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love),” the album exploded onto the music scene, earning the young starlet her first two Grammy Awards—for best new artist and best female R&B performance. Cole’s career took flight, and throughout the 1970s, she turned out four gold and two platinum records. Her third—and first platinum—album, Unpredictable (1977), donned yet another No. 1 R&B hit: “I’ve Got Love on My Mind.”

In 1976—not long after Inseparable was released—Cole married producer Marvin Yancy. An ordained Baptist minister, Yancy reintroduced religion to Cole, who became a devout Baptist during their union. The couple welcomed their son, Robert Adam Yancy, into the world in 1977, before divorcing in 1980.

In 1979, Cole was awarded her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, both signifying and solidifying her prowess as a performer.

Cole hit a lull in her career in the early 1980s due to her struggle with drug addiction, subsequently parting ways with Capitol Records. She began recording again after a stint in rehab in 1983, and was back on the charts with a megahit by the mid-’80s: “Pink Cadillac.”

In 1991, Cole released the career-defining album for which she is best known, Unforgettable… with Love. Her debut album with Elektra Records, Unforgettable pays tribute to her father, featuring many beautiful renditions of standards previously recorded by Nat King Cole. The album’s breakout single, “Unforgettable,” features a track dubbed over a previous Nat King Cole recording, as to create the sound of a father-daughter duet. The album sold more than 7 million copies and garnered several honors, including the coveted Grammy for album of the year.

Cole remarried in 1989, to record producer Andre Fisher. The couple divorced in 1995. She wed her third husband, Bishop Kenneth Dupree, in 2001. The marriage was short-lived, however, ending in 2005.

The ’90s saw Cole release many other popular albums, including Snowfall on the Sahara and The Magic of Christmas (both released in 1999), an album of holiday standards recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. Cole also launched her acting career before the end of the decade, appearing on television series of the time.


The death of her father greatly affected Natalie Cole, which was obvious through her songwriting and tributes. In her 2000 autobiography, Angel on my Shoulder, Cole exposed her depression and heavy drug use throughout her career. She began using recreational drugs while attending college in Amherst. Cole’s addiction became so prominent in her life that on more than one occasion it nearly killed her. She overcame her addiction after checking into rehab in 1983.

In 2001, Cole starred as herself in Livin’ for Love: The Natalie Cole Story, a TV-movie adaptation of her 2000 autobiography, Angel on my Shoulder. The book has been described as an exposé of the private struggle that accompanied Cole’s rise to fame. Also in 2000, Elektra released Natalie Cole: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, an album highlighting the singer’s career.

Cole’s 2008 release, Still Unforgettable, was well-received, winning the singer yet another Grammy, this time for best traditional pop vocal album.

In 2008, Cole was diagnosed with hepatitis C, a disease of the liver.  She received a kidney transplant in 2009 at USC.

Natalie Cole died from congestive heart failure on December 31, 2015 in Los Angeles. She was 65.  She leaves behind a legacy as one of the most celebrated and iconic women in R&B.  She is survived by her son, Robert Adam Yancy.


Submitted by Lucy Yandra, an avid music buff, Natalie Cole fan and employee of yamaha audio.  Lucy is a mom who also plays guitar and sings.


Thank you for your submission. – Women Move the Soul


Honoring Ella Jenkins

Children are her favorite people. Ella Jenkins sees them as genuine, down to earth people who should be listened to and recognized as having much to offer.  Fellow music educator Patricia Sheehan Campbell lauds her as “a pioneer in her early and continuing realization that children have something to sing about, that the essence of who they are may be expressed through song, and that much of what they need to know of their language, heritage, and current cultural concepts may be communicated to them through song.”

Through her songs, she hopes to develop greater intercultural understanding and rhythmic-consciousness, and to help people discover the joy of singing and communicating through active participation in songs.

Jenkins’ repertoire includes nursery rhymes, holiday songs, bilingual songs, African-American folk songs, international songs, rhythmic chants, and original songs. Drawing from cultures all over the world, she sings in many languages, exposing her audiences to diverse cultures and promoting greater cultural awareness.

Through call and response singing, Jenkins promotes group participation.  This began in Africa. Call-and-response singing involves a leader or leaders singing a phrase and the participants responding with another phrase.  Her goal was to break barriers between audience and performer, and turns everyone into a performer. By encouraging active participation, she promotes the development of a warm group feeling, cooperation among the participants, greater attentiveness, an enjoyment of singing, and a desire to sing. She also encourages children to lead songs, make up their own variations of songs, and experiment with fun and silly sounds. This allows children to think independently, develop leadership skills, and improvise, resulting in increased self-confidence.

In helping children discover music and participate in its creation, Jenkins provides them with a new tool of communication that they can use and enjoy for the rest of their lives.

Ella Jenkins, “The First Lady of Children’s Music, has received numerous awards during her lifetime.  In September of 2015, a park was named in her honor.  Ella Jenkins Park is one of her these many awards that have been bestowed upon her.

To the audience’s delight, at the dedication ceremony, she performed performed “Jambo”  and  “Did You Feed My Cow.”

Music is everything.  If you are going to listen to music, you should listen with the best equipment so that you can hear very sound in great detail.  When you use cheap speakers and cheap earbuds, you are missing out on a lot.  The  eon515xt is an excellent choice.

Congratulations again to Ms. Ella Jenkins and thank you so much for the hundreds of songs that you created and brightened children’s lives with over the decades!





Never Too Old to Learn!

In her fifties, Tomaca Govan is learning how to play the guitar.   I never wanted to be a guitar “rock star;” that’s not my goal, but I’ve always sung.  And the guitar has helped to change my ear.  It has opened music up a whole new dimension because I am hearing new sounds, new tones and new vibrations.  And vibrations because the guitar vibrates and my body vibrates with it.  It’s so cool.  I understand more deeply how music is medicine. Because everything vibrates – down to the cells and molecules in our bodies.  It we have good “vibes,” we have good health!  When our vibes are off, we’re not well.


I strongly suggest that anyone that ever wanted to learn how to do something new, do it!  What are you waiting for?  Circumstances may never be ideal.  If it’s in your heart to do, jump on it!


Who knows?  One of these days I just might need  show lighting by Chauvet for a really big gig! Haha!  You never know what can happen when you develop talents and skills.


An interview with Kalimba Recording Artist Paula Atherton

The music business “ain’t” necessarily easy for women.  But, if you persevere and stay true to the course your heart has for you, you can meet with success.  Paula Atherton is a jazz woman who has done just that.  We appreciate her taking time from her busy touring, writing and recording life to answer just a few questions for us.


“My philosophy as a woman and as a musician is to always do my best and to enjoy what I do – process and all – every day.”






You wanted a piano when you were a little girl but your parents couldn’t afford it, so you ended up studying flute when you got to school.  Did it take the place of the feeling that you wanted to learn piano?

I was just happy to get an instrument!

 Did the piano ever come to play in your life?
Yes I often use piano to write.

 You also play sax, flute,  and sing.  Did you ever pursue or feel the need for vocal coaching?  Why or why not?

I play alto, soprano and sometimes bari sax (mostly for recordings), flute and I sing.  Voice was my first instrument.  I did study voice and vocal improvising.

 Do you play around with other instruments, such as the guitar or drums, or do you stick to those instruments that you chose (or that chose you!).

I stick to what I play, I have my hands full with that!

You tour and travel quite a bit.  Do you have a steady band that travels with you or do you use musicians at the locations that you go to?

I mostly use musicians that are local to the area, but sometimes get to bring my band.

 In regards to that, what would be your preference – a regular steady group of musicians or others that you pick up at the gig?  Does it matter?

I prefer to use my band because they know my music so well, however, I’ve worked with some great musicians on the road, and that’s been great too.

 What is your favorite venue and why?

I’d have to say that Spaghettini’s in Seal Beach, CA is one of my favorite venues!

Does the audience differ based on where you go and do they come specifically to see you or does some of the audience happen to be there?

If it’s a club, I would say they’re coming to see me.  If it’s a festival, there will be people there to see the other acts on that festival also. If there is a radio station in the area that plays my music, I usually will have more of an audience in that area.


Often fans don’t understand the process that’s involved with creating music from the writing of the music to the lyrics to the musicians that record all of the instruments to the music mastering to the creation of the actual physical cd — the completion of the project.  One of your cds took you four years to complete.  Why did it take that long?

The recording studio we have is open to the public, and it was very busy, We were recording in between clients.  Then it took a little while to find a home for the recording;  we’re talking   about “Groove with Me” here.

My new CD will be coming out early 2015; the 1st single releases January 19th, and CD release February 17th on Kalimba music, owned by Maurice White from Earth, Wind and Fire.
For more information, visit

Malina Moye – Lady Guitar Rocker

Flipping a Fender Stratocaster upside-down, acclaimed singer/songwriter/lefty guitarist Malina Moye fills a void in the entertainment industry. Described as a modern day renaissance woman, she’s a quadruple threat, carving out her own lane in today’s music scene as one of the few artists in history able to straddle both Rock and Soul genres. Moye’s musical narrative boasts an impressive resume that includes making history as the first African-American woman to play the National Anthem on guitar at a professional sporting event, all the way to performing at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tribute concert for music pioneer Chuck Berry. And recently, Malina was praised by Jet Magazine as “the highlight of the evening” after she headlined the largest peace concert on the west coast with Chaka Khan honoring the legendary humanitarian Stevie Wonder.

malinamoyeAs a guitarist, maybe she uses the boss rc-3 too!
With an electrifying stage show, Malina delivers an intoxicating fusion of funk, and Rock. Her critically acclaimed LP “Diamonds & Guitars” reached number 35 on and iTunes respectively and a number 50 slot on the Billboard album charts, showcasing an eclectic pallet of music while preserving its mainstream appeal. Abroad and stateside, Moye’s Diamond & Guitars tour served her as an opening act with Robin Thicke, and legendary rock group Journey.

A pioneer among the new generation of lead guitarists, Malina is the first left-handed female player to be included on the legendary Fender Guitars’ impressive roster of endorsees and to also join the critically acclaimed 2012 Experience Hendrix tour. Furthermore, the songstress was featured in the UK documentary “Stratmaster: The Greatest Guitar Story Ever Told,” and Guitar World Magazine dubbed Malina the “female Jimi Hendrix” and “one of the top 10 female guitarists to know.” UK’s Blues and Soul Magazine touted Malina as having “…all the ingredients to shake the modern soul room.”

In addition to being on Sony’s writing team, Moye independently released her first R&B single “Girlfriend” through her WCE Records to great reviews and a number 43 slot on the R&B/Hip-Hop Billboard chart. Then Malina followed-up with her second single “Alone,” which remained on the charts for 32 consecutive weeks. “Alone” peaked at no 9 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts and at number 27 on the hot 100. Rolling stone, Billboard Magazine and some of music’s hottest names have raved that Malina is “a ground-breaking artist who makes indelible impression.”

Malina’s humanitarian efforts include serving as ambassador for HRH Prince Charles’ Prince’s Trust for which she donated her single “Hustler’s Blues” to the Wilberforce 200 compilation CD. The record was one of the fastest selling soul CD’s on iTunes UK with all proceeds going to the Trust and UNICEF.

Cover girl Malina Moye continues to build a brand name globally, appearing in campaigns like Victoria Secret’s “Love Rocks” and shoe chain Steve Madden’s Music amongst other retail powerhouses.

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