The voice is smoky-sweet, the phrasing is sophisticated
-David Cuthbert, Times-Picayune
In New Orleans, a city known worldwide for its music, Samirah was one of its most popular jazz & blues vocalists. She first performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1990, and became a regular fixture as either a leader or featured vocalist for fourteen consecutive years. She has toured Europe, Asia, and both North and South America as a headliner, and shared stages with a multitude of legendary artists from B.B. King and James Brown, to New Orleans own Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas.
Her debut CD, Give Me A Moment, ranked as the fifth best in the New Orleans Times-Picayune annual music list of 2002. It was co-produced by keyboardist Darrell Lavigne and drummer Ricky Sebastian (former drummer for Grammy-award winning vocalist, Dianne Reeves). While living in New Orleans, Samirah appeared regularly at Snug Harbor, the House of Blues, Sweet Lorraine's, and the Bombay Club among other prestigious Crescent City venues and has been joined in concert by notable New Orleans musicians including trumpeter Terence Blanchard, saxophonist Charles Neville (Neville Brothers), and drummer Shannon Powell (Harry Connick, Jr. Band and Diana Krall).
Give Me A Moment is a tasty and mellow affair marking the debut of a classy talent.
- Michael Dominici, WHERE Y'AT Magazine
Hurricane Katrina caused Samirah and her husband to seek out new living arrangements outside of New Orleans, so they moved to his native town of Brattleboro, Vermont in the fall of 2006. Her debut performance was at the Vermont Jazz Center with the VJC Big Band. She soon found herself sharing the spotlight with the legendary Shelia Jordan as a principal in a musical theater performance, Beatnik Café, depicting the beatnik generation. Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils, an electrifying ensemble, was formed in 2009 just in time for the release of Samirah's second CD, My Little Bodhisattva recorded in New Orleans. Samirah and her new band released it in Vermont with a performance at the Hooker Dunham Theater in Brattleboro. Since then they have been performing to adoring fans at popular venues throughout New England. The band complements Samirah's style perfectly, which is a mix of swampy, sultry, and soulful takes on jazz standards and originals. The spring of 2011 marked the debut of their first CD release Hot Club recorded live at the Vermont Jazz Center.
"Samirah and Her Handsome Devils are amazing, the music is exciting and the energy is burning hot!"
- Eugene Uman, Artistic Director of the Vermont Jazz Center
Samirah's live performance repertoire runs the gamut from raunchy blues to jazz smooth as silk. She has often been compared to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, and Etta James. Like many jazz and blues artists, Samirah dedicates time to perpetuating indigenous American music. She was a long time participant in the Blues Schoolhouse program sponsored by the International House of Blues Foundation. She also served as a volunteer show host on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage radio station, WWOZ, for over ten years.
Samirah Evans is an effervescent presence with a mellifluously dynamic voice.
- Annie Lawrence Guyon, Rutland Herald
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