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Vocalist/Multi-instrumentalist DO'A Unveils Debut Album 'higher Grounds'

Graceful, nuanced, and musically rich, higher grounds introduces a bright new voice to the scene.

Vocalist/Multi-instrumentalist DO'A Unveils Debut Album 'higher Grounds'

DO'A, vocalist-guitarist-pianist-composer and, that's right, mathematician, has just released a stirring debut album entitled higher grounds with jazz record label Outside in Music. Known for her emotional integrity, the multi-hyphenate artist pulls from a deep sonic well to produce what she calls "melodies for the soul".

It's a musical melting pot of Albanian folk music, jazz, samba and Latin American rhythms, buoyed by the accompanists she's brought on board. They include popular jazz pianists Shai Maestro, Nando Michelin and Harold López-Nussa, plus trumpeter Mayquel Gonzalez, bassist Julio Cesar Gonzalez and percussionists Ruy Adrian López-Nussa and Shango Dely.

The music on higher grounds is doubtless compelling. She says: "My compositional style is based very much on feeling and intuition. From the way music 'comes to me' when writing down my own compositions, to the collaborations I decide to embark on, a lot of it is based on inspiration and an openness to be guided in the right direction."

One of the highlights is "Flor de Lis", the album opener by Brazilian samba master Djavan. With Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa and his band at her side, DO'A combines the harmonic and melodic sensibilities of the samba with Cuban flair to create a unique and multicultural take on this well-loved tune. Another strong one is DO'A's rendition of the Argentinian song "Alfonsina y la Mar," made famous by Mercedes Sosa. Uruguayan pianist Nando Michelin is ideal support for DO'A as her rich voice floats atop the glistening keys. "Pranvera" pairs DO'A with Israeli pianist Shai Maestro and on it both lean into emotive and technical creativity.

There are three originals on higher grounds, all based lyrically on Bahá'í writings. Musically, all three ("Krijim", "Unidad" and "Lampara") stand shoulder to shoulder with the cover tunes, highlighting DO'A's strong abilities as a composer.

The only American standard on the album is "I Fall In Love Too Easily". Another duo with Michelin, the song by Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn is a beautiful album centerpiece, featuring crystalline vocals and an emotive ad-libbing section halfway through.

Graceful, nuanced, and musically rich, higher grounds introduces a bright new voice to the scene. DO'A will perform at Blues Alley in Washington, DC on October 10, with more shows, hopefully, on the horizon soon.




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