ChamberSoul: Cello & Songs
As a child, Shana Tucker moved around a lot in the school’s orchestra room.
In the beginning, she waited in line to get a flute – but when it was finally her turn to pick an instrument, the flutes were all gone. “Oops – grab a violin so they won’t make me leave,” she thought. Quick-thinker, Shana Tucker...
By junior high, she had traded piano and violin for cello, and seeds quickly began to take hold in fertile soil. Before finishing high school, she was composing, singing, performing at every chance in any genre and configuration available – and getting noticed for all of it.
With subsequent musical studies at Howard University and Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music, her work as an arranger/composer and member of the string trio Hue brought further accolades and commissions for works performed at the Kennedy Center, the Joyce Theatre in NY and the Witts Theater in Johannesburg. The trio opened for acts including Sweet Honey in the Rock, Blind Boys of Alabama & the Indigo Girls.
Fast forward. Now.
Transcending genre limitations, Shana Tucker is a distinctive cellist and singer/songwriter whose music is an instantly captivating, sultry pastiche of acoustic pop and soulful, jazz-influenced contemporary folk. Her debut solo recording SHINE and a subsequent interview on public radio grabbed the ear of Cirque de Soleil’s découvreur de talent who whisked her to Las Vegas to join the world-class musical ensemble as cellist and mezzo-soprano for KÀ, their unprecedented, gravity-defying production at the MGM Grand. She now balances mainstage performances in listening rooms, performing arts centers and festivals throughout the country with her continuing role for Cirque du Soleil.
Shana Tucker appears in duo, trio and quartet configurations, also offering unique outreach sessions and residencies based on songwriting and the musical process for student groups of all ages.
“I can't deny the classical training; it inspires my cello sensibilities,” she says. “But I like the thump of walking blues & old-timey bass lines. It's like a delicious coffee blend, bold and robust, with subtle undertones of bittersweet... Something you can't quite place, but it's still good!" she says.
ChamberSoul… ChamberMesmerizing. ChamberMagnetic. ChamberLicious.
In a Word…
“You rarely see Joni Mitchell invoked as a reference point...because her music is so uniquely individual that few can follow her. But in Shana Tucker, we have a worthy successor.” David Menconi, News and Observer
“Most importantly, the songs tell a story; that’s what a work of art should do...making the audience realize that life is universal... Compelling, distinctive, a sure sign of greater things to come.” Larry Reni Thomas, JAZZTIMES
“Her voice alone would support a career. What makes Tucker special is her adherence to the cello, boldly taking the instrument into new territory. Much like vocalist Esperanza Spalding with her double bass, Tucker and her cello blur the lines in our heads that divide classical, jazz, folk, R&B and soul... The only emotion not catalogued is fear. Tucker’s debut is a gold piece of vulnerability, meticulously executed and gorgeously produced. Transcending obstacles, SHINE is acoustic music for inner rooms, with the human soul as resonating chamber. She burned down the house.” Sylvia Pfeiffenberger, IndyWeek.com
“An absolute stunner... Her original gumbo of jazz, folk and R&B evokes the spirit of Bill Withers and Esperanza Spalding.” Cliff Bellamy, Herald Sun
A Presenter's Point of View
Shana’s star is rising so quickly. She is an incredibly talented musician who completely engages an audience with her music and her charm. From the stage, she invites you into her world and shares her stories through her songs. When you leave one of Shana Tucker’s performances, you feel as though you have left behind a long-time friend. Her music is personal, relevant and beautiful.
Shana is a dedicated and passionate educator and an inspired collaborator. Audiences of all ages are captivated by her performances. Last year, she performed 20 minutes for 150 NC State University students as part of a required class, and they responded with such enthusiasm I thought they were going to storm the stage.
You can’t ask for a more compassionate partner in engaging your audiences, your school -- any of your stakeholders in your program. We love her at Center Stage and can’t wait to have her back!
Sharon H. Moore, Director
NCSU Center Stage & Arts Outreach
NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Live Performance Preview