Track Premiere: Nathalie Joachim & Spektral Quartet Perform “Alléluia”

Today’s track premiere features Spektral Quartet and flutist, composer, and vocalist Nathalie Joachim performing “Alléluia” from Suite pou Dantan off of Nathalie’s debut solo album Fanm d’Ayiti.

Translated as “Women of Haiti” in English, Fanm d’Ayiti not only explores Nathalie’s Haitian heritage, but also celebrates the songs and stories of Haitian artists.

Here’s what Nathalie had to say about “Alléluia:”

“Alléluia” is from a suite that includes the voices of the girls choir from my family’s farming village of Dantan. I recorded them at a church service when I was in Haiti, which turned out to be a pivotal moment for me in my planning and research for this project. I’m not a church goer, but I definitely had a preconceived notion of a traditional Catholic service in my mind, and am familiar with the musical structure of a mass, of course. When I received the program of the service, it included all of the “normal” mass bits. But then the songs were sung, not in Latin, but in kreyòl (and French in this case), and not with an organist or pianist accompanying, but a drummer playing patterns deeply rooted in the Haitian vodou tradition which goes all the way back to our African roots. I absolutely loved this idea of these people (almost all women and children aside from the priest and drummer) practicing a religion that was forced upon them by colonialism, but so deeply unable to resist the influence of their ancestral religion within this new construct. I left that service understanding that my role in this project was to showcase that notion for myself and for Haiti: fighting to celebrate your roots in spite of what the world expects of you. 

Fanm d’Ayiti is out August 30th on New Amsterdam Records, but you can pre-order the album here.

About Nathalie Joachim

Nathalie Joachim is a Brooklyn born Haitian-American flutist, composer, and vocalist known for creating “a unique blend of classical music, hip-hop, electronic programming and soulful vocals reminiscent of neo-R&B stars like Erykah Badu.” (The Wall Street Journal) She is co- artistic director and flutist of the four-time Grammy winning contemporary chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird, and co-founder of the critically acclaimed urban art pop duo, Flutronix. Joachim comfortably navigates everything from classical to indie-rock, all while being a committed advocate for social change and cultural awareness. Her authenticity has gained her the reputation of “an edgy multi-genre performance artist who has long been pushing boundaries” (The Washington Post).

Ms. Joachim has performed and recorded with an impressive range of today’s most exciting artists and ensembles including Bryce Dessner, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Richard Reed Parry, Miguel Zenón, and the International Contemporary Ensemble. As a composer, Joachim is regularly commissioned to write for instrumental and vocal artists, dance, and interdisciplinary theater, each highlighting her unique electroacoustic style. Upcoming works include Discourse, an evening-length performance, community engagement and social change initiative commissioned by Carolina Performing Arts; new solo instrumental works for cellist Seth Parker Woods and violinist Yvonne Lam; and larger scale chamber works for So Percussion, Lorelei Ensemble and Duo Noire.

Ms. Joachim is Director of Contemporary Chamber Music at the Perlman Music Program; is a guest teaching artist for The Juilliard-Nord Anglia Performing Arts Programme; and has held faculty positions at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and The Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program.

About Spektral Quartet

The twice-Grammy nominated Spektral Quartet actively pursues a vivid conversation between exhilarating works of the traditional repertoire and those written this decade, this year, or this week. Since its inception in 2010, Spektral is known for creating seamless connections across centuries, drawing in the listener with charismatic deliveries, interactive concert formats, an up-close atmosphere, and bold, inquisitive programming. With a tour schedule including some of the country’s most notable concert venues such as the Kennedy Center, Miller Theater, Library of Congress, and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, the quartet also takes great pride in its home city of Chicago: championing the work of local composers, bridging social and aesthetic partitions, and cultivating its ongoing residency at the University of Chicago. Named “Chicagoans of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 2017, Spektral Quartet is most highly regarded for its creative and stylistic versatility: presenting seasons in which, for instance, a thematic program circling Beethoven seamlessly coexists with an improvised sonic meditation at sunrise, a talent show featuring Spektral fans, and the co-release of a jazz album traversing the folk traditions of Puerto Rico.