Kaleta Mask Festival

In collaboration with the International Center for Art and Music of Ouidah (CIAMO), Carla recently performed at the “Festival Carnaval Kaleta” in Benin, West Africa. The Kaleta festival is an event that draws from the masked carnival dances performed by African slaves in Brazil, who would use such carnival events as a way to mock their white owners without fear of punishment. Carla led CIAMO’s girls chorus and sang a rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun.” kaletacswguitarlq1

Ça va aller

Over in Togo

Ça va aller. It will be all right. Just lay back and relax.
Wait all day by the side of the road to see
if a bus or truck
is going your way.
Go with the destiny.
God and the spirits control, not us. There is so much suffering; what can we do? Just bear it,

9/4 Performance at The Bitter End

Carla will be performing at the NYC venue The Bitter End as part of its Sunday night Singer/Songwriter Sessions. She will play an original set from 8:30 to 9pm on September 4th, 2011. $5 cover charge. Address 147 Bleecker Street (between Thompson and LaGuardia), New York, NY 10012. Click here for directions.

The Yovo Song

Yovo, yovo, bonjour! Ça va bien? Merci!

This piece, recently aired on AARP’s Prime Time Postscript, was produced while Carla was serving as a Girls’ Education and Empowerment volunteer in Togo. It deals with the common annoyance faced by herself and other volunteers of being constantly confronted with a chant by local children that drew attention to their race, their whiteness, their difference — and this, when volunteers were doing their best to integrate into and become part of their new communities. “The Yovo Song” examines reactions to and history behind the song, ultimately concluding that acceptance of this chant is a better path than resistance.

Maba Ela

Singing with Togolese music group Kotr Wiss in Kante, Togo, December 2010.

“Malaria has killed my friends. Poverty has killed my neighbors. AIDS has killed my friends. Sorcerers have killed my companions.”

“I have only my voice to sing their memory. My guitar to cradle their crying hearts….my voice to bring back joy.”

—Klenwa Toua