Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions

NYU Steinhardt News

Alumna Leyla McCalla's Tribute to Langston Hughes

Strings Studies alumna Leyla McCalla has released her first solo album entitled Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes.

McCalla set the poetry of Langston Hughes to song and created original arrangements of Haitian folk songs on Vari-Colored Songs. McCalla collaborated with a number of musicians for the album including Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a renowned African-American string band with whom she has recorded and toured.

To afford the production of Vari-Colored Songs, McCalla launched an extremely successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.

A New York native, McCalla moved to New Orleans following her graduation from NYU’s program in String Studies. McCalla, who is of Haitian heritage, is drawn to the city’s ties to Haitian and French culture.

On the occasion of the release of her new album, McCalla was featured in an article and video clip on the NPR website. The New York Times also praised the record.