© 2018 The Grass Roots Cultural and Performing Arts Center

marcella and her lovers

Marcella Simien is cut from divine cloth. The daughter of New Orleans Zydeco legend Terrence Simien, Marcella has been performing on stage since the age of 10, amassing 18 appearances at the famed New Orleans Jazz Festival. She is a consummate performer with not only a majestic voice and serious instrumental chops but a stage presence that exudes the joy of making music and bringing people together. Most musicians talk of influences in the context of what was playing on the stereo in the house when they were growing up. When your "family" gatherings as a child include the royalty of New Orleans music and culture, from Alan Toussaint to Dr. John to The Nevilles, influence takes on a whole new meaning. Marcella Simien absorbed her childhood and it has become part of her DNA. It's not just about music either...it includes lessons from the best on how to BE a musician, a performer and a person of incredible grace and humility. She is without a doubt, one of the most electrifying and compelling performers we have ever seen on the Fallout Shelter stage.

 

Not satisfied to simply follow in the footsteps of New Orleans or Zydeco history, Marcella has relocated to Memphis on a journey to explore the soulfulness of her voice and her music. With a voice that rests somewhere between the great Astrud Gilberto, Sade and Alicia Keys, Marcella is becoming a soul voice to be reckoned with. The range is in full bloom on the beautiful 'En Chaleur' as she wanders between styles that move from Latin to West Coast Jazz courtesy of guitarist David Cousar who simultaneously channels Antoni Carlos Jobim and Wes Montogomery with a touch of Merle Travis picking for good measure. That's just another thing you pick up when you grow up around music...surround yourself with the best musicians you can find and let them do what they do. Marcella Simien is also a really smart band leader and for a young woman to be navigating a moving target like the music business in 2019...it's pretty impressive.

Not to be lost on this insanely cool night of music is the saxophone genius of Myanna Pontoppidan. She's well known in Boston/New England music circles and respected in the jazz world on a global scale but what made this so special is that she and Marcella met for the first time just 2 hours before this show and she was magnificent on every song...playing as if the two had been performing together for years. The same could be said for drummer Dave Mason who, on just his third gig with Marcella was as solid as it gets and laid down a killer STAX-esque groove. This goes back to the point of surrounding yourself with solid players and letting them go...Cousar and bassist James Godwin are solid members of the 'Lovers' club and Godwin's interaction with Mason was pure Memphis rhythm and blues.

Marcella Simien is on her way to grand accomplishments with her music. It's well written, impeccably performed and adds a needed dose of love and passion to a world desperately in need of both.

MARCELLA AND HER LOVERS

Marcella Simien - vocals, accordion, washboard

David Cousar - guitar, vocals

James Godwin - bass

David Mason - drums

(Special Guest) - Myanna - saxophone

 

The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Cameras:
Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Audio:
Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Photos:
Nate Dow