Born in New York City to Haitian immigrant parents, and raised in suburban New Jersey (with a couple of teenage years spent in Accra, Ghana), Leyla experienced a renewed sense of connection with her Haitian heritage after moving to the Crescent City in 2010. “I feel very at home here,” she says. “The more I learned about the history of Louisiana, its ties to Haiti and French speaking culture, the more sense of belonging I felt and continue to feel.”
Village Club Series
The VCS Crew is now accepting applications for the 12/7 Student Showcase! Got a musical, theater, dance, spoken word, comedy, or other piece you’d like to perform? Apply today!
The Village Club Series hosts performances on Thursdays at 9:00pm in the Benjamin Mays Center! All shows are free to the entire Bates community. Free refreshments are provided at all VCS events.
Fall 2017 Playlist
Fall 2017 Schedule
|Sep 14||Prinze George
Prinze George is Kenny Grimm (production/instrumental), Naomi Almquist (vocals) and Isabelle De Leon (drums), who are based in Maryland. Kenny and Naomi grew up together in Prince George’s County, where they met Isabelle while she was in college. Formed in 2013, Prinze George has quickly exploded onto the Indie scene. Following the release of their breakthrough single, “Victor,” The Wild Honey Pie declared, “[This band] could be destined for Indie Pop royalty status.” Climbing to #1 on the Hype Machine charts, the single and the band have won the attention of music blogs, fans, and labels from all over the world. “Victor” was also selected for the movie soundtrack of Warner Bros.’ biggest European release in 2014, “Honig Im Kopf,” a film directed by Til Schweiger. Last year they were dubbed as one of the “2016 Festival Artists to Watch” by both Pandora and Forbes.
|Sep 21||Southern City Band – SPECIAL OUTDOOR SHOW AT KEIGWIN AMPHITHEATER
Southern City Band is a country music group based in Boston, MA. Although one rarely associates Boston with country music, the band members have set a new standard and passion for the genre that comes across in their tightly crafted songs and rowdy performances that leave the crowd always wanting to see them again. The band members are a talented group of Berklee-educated musicians that come from all across the United States. They anchor themselves in the country and southern rock roots of their home states of Tennessee, Virginia, New Hampshire, and California.
From the foothills of Western Maine comes GoldenOak, a folk group whose genre-blending sound has them steadily emerging as a musical force in New England. Conceived in the winter of 2013, their woodsy, modern folk sound weaves together rich four-part harmonies and piercing melodic lines over a unique blend of cello, guitar, trumpet, and cajón. Shifting effortlessly from energetic swing to dreamy ballad, they’re as comforting as a campfire and as heart-shaken as a summer squall.
|Oct 5||The Ballroom Thieves
Owing to the success of The Ballroom Thieves‘ harmony-rich 2015 debut, “A Wolf in the Doorway,” guitarist Martin Earley, cellist Calin Peters, and drummer Devin Mauch have spent the last two years in a sustained state of touring that took them all across the country and to venerable stages like the Newport Folk Festival. Rough times have helped them explore the darker corners of their sound — which is why they chose to forgo the standard label release cycle to put out their latest album, “Deadeye,” by themselves. Sharing it in this way is exposure therapy, letting their fans pay witness to their hardships and the resulting creative evolution while simultaneously helping the band move on. The struggle is still very real, but the songs on the album are a reminder that for this band, there is but one course, and it is forward — not playing or performing together is not an option.
|Oct 12||Green Dot Student Showcase
Join us for Green Dot Week VCS, featuring the following student performers!
Elliot Chun ’18
|Oct 26|| Freddy & Francine
Freddy & Francine is an Americana-Soul duo comprised of Bianca Caruso & Lee Ferris. With voices reminiscent of Aretha Franklin & Van Morrison, their songs blend Soul, R&B, Folk, and Americana with a modern, yet timeless appeal to all ages.
Freddy & Francine have released 2 EPs & 3 full length records since 2008. Their latest, “Gung Ho” was produced by renowned producer Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird, Anais Mitchell) and featured members of Ryan Adams, Rufus Wainwright, and Andrew Bird’s touring bands.
National audiences continue to be drawn to the duo as they “bring it all out on stage from a lullaby so sweet you’d swear a choir of angels were harmonizing just for you; to gut-busting, foot stomping tunes befitting a New Orleans gospel choir.“ – Flagstaff AZ Daily Sun
|Nov 2||Humming House featuring Becca Mancari
SPECIAL 90-MINUTE SHOW starting at 8:30pmAbout Humming HouseHumming House is Justin Wade Tam, Bobby Chase, Joshua Wolak, and Benjamin Jones. The band formed organically out of jam sessions that Tam held in his living room in East Nashville—evidence that some of the best projects come from spontaneous collaboration and the subsequent seeing it through. Now, three albums and six years later, Humming House continues to embody what is best about the Nashville each transplant chooses to call home.“Companion,” released by Soundly on the 6th of October 2017, continues to pursue that which transforms. In part, it is still movement, movement that comes easily to the body as well as movement driven by the unease we daily brush up against. What’s most powerful about Humming House is their ability to be present with you, to take those moments in life that seem mundane and shift the lens so that they are rendered extraordinary. Theirs is a music of presence.About Becca MancariBorn in Staten Island, New York, to an Italian-Irish preacher and a Puerto Rican mother, Becca Mancari has lived a life of transition – from working as a janitor in South Florida, to writing songs with train hoppers in the Blue Ridge Mountains and seeking spirituality in India. But it was her time in Virginia and Nashville where she found the roots music that would continue to inspire her musical evolution to today.Perhaps more striking than Mancari’s sound is the tender honesty and vulnerability present in each of her songs. Ann Powers describes Mancari’s writing as “lyrical and raw,” commenting on the “great personality in her songs.” As a gay woman in the south, she has fought hard to reconcile her spiritual beliefs with her sexuality. Her strong personality enables her to be a spokeswoman to the outcast and the misfit, helping her redefine the categories that so often divide people. Mancari explains, “It was not an easy road when I came out. No matter how hard I tried to fit into society’s molds, I could not. I want to be open and proud of who I am, because I needed people like that in my life when I was young.” Mancari hopes that people will find the bravery in her story and be able to discover their own inner strength.
|Nov 9||Ms. Pat – COMEDY NIGHT AT VCS
Ms. Pat hasn’t lived the life of your typical comedian. Born to a single mother of 5, living on welfare in a tough West end neighborhood of Atlanta, Ms. Pat learned early on she would have to fend for herself in this world. Her Grandfather ran a “bootleg” house where as a kid Pat learned how to roll the drunks for food money. She had her first child at 14 and her second child at 15, “I knew I wasn’t going to college so I figured why not get an early start on my family”. She became a drug dealer in her teens known by the street name “Rabbit”. At 16 she purchased her first Cadillac. During her teens she was shot twice and arrested numerous times. At 19 years of age she met a man, and with his help and encouragement decided to get out of the “life”. “I was so tired, I thought for sure I was going to end up dead. He was 21 and a military vet and he showed me a way out”.
At 19 with two toddlers and a new husband she is handed 4 more young children from her sister who was struggling with drug addiction. The next 10 years of her life are spent raising those 6 children. Part of that process included visits to the welfare office for food stamps and Section 8 housing assistance for her sister’s children. It was during these visits that Ms. Pat was first told she had a talent for telling funny stories. In 2003 with her case-worker’s encouragement she decided to go on stage and appeared at the Open-Mic-Night at “The Pub” in Atlanta. From the moment she stepped on stage she knew she had found her place.
With a comedy career now spilling over 13 years this powerful woman brings an honest, in your face, and hilarious perspective to her shows. She has appeared on TV Guide Network’s “Standup in Stilettos”, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and Nickelodeons “Mom’s Night Out”. She is a regular guest on the syndicated Bob and Tom Radio Show, and appeared on Katt Williams DVD “Kattpacalypse”.
|Nov 16||Leyla McCalla
A Haitian-American who sings in French, Haitian Creole and English, Leyla McCalla plays cello, tenor banjo and guitar. Deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk, her music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful and witty — it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet also feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary.
The relocation led to her appearance on the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ GRAMMY-nominated 2012 album “Leaving Eden,” as well as extensive concert dates as a touring member of the group. It also deeply enriched Leyla’s own music and sharpened her sense of purpose, setting her on the path that ultimately resulted in the making of her debut album, “Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes.”
|Nov 30||Ashlee Haze – SPOKEN WORD NIGHT AT VCS
Kiera “Ashlee Haze” Nelson is a poet and spoken word artist from Atlanta by way of Chicago. Earning the nickname “Big 30″ because of her consistency in getting a perfect score, she is one of the most accomplished poets in the sport of poetry slam. She has been a part of the Atlanta Poetry circuit for over a decade and has been writing over 15 years. She has performed everywhere from small coffee shops to the Apollo Theater. She is a 4-time member of Java Monkey Slam Team, 2011 Southern Fried Poetry Slam Champions and the current slam mistress of the Decatur based team. Ashlee Haze is a 2-time Women of the World Poetry Slam Finalist. She appears in “3-Minute Activists: The Soul of Slam” a feature-length documentary that examines the lives and work of some of Atlanta’s premier Spoken Word Artists.
In February 2016, she released a full-length collection of poems, “Land of the Living” in a live one-woman performance at Apache Café in Atlanta. She was recently named to the Executive Council of Poetry Slam, Inc. the organization that hosts the National Poetry Slam, the Women of the World Poetry Slam, and the Individual World Poetry Slam. Ashlee Haze currently serves as co-slam master and coach for her beloved Java Monkey Slam Team for the 2016-2017 slam season. She is the first woman in the history of the team to hold this position.
|Dec 7||Student Showcase
Join us for a VCS Student Showcase, featuring music, comedy, and spoken word performances from the Bates community! Interested in performing? Check back soon for the application!