After playing The Jazz Café nearly a year ago to the day of her date at The Black Swan, Newcastle is again blessed with the sheer talent of Ayanna Witter-Johnson.
The singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has had a breakthrough 12 months; after a spell-binding performance at the Apollo in Harlem (she had won a scholarship to study at the Manhattan School of Music), she was nominated for a MOBO award in 2016, impressing everyone with a stripped-back cello-led version of ‘Roxanne’.
Ayanna is currently recording her debut album following two EP releases since 2011 – and those that have witnessed her honey-soaked vocals and ingenious arrangements first-hand will be eagerly anticipating its arrival.
Having recorded with revered jazz performers Courtney Pine, Jason Yarde and Julian Siegel, she’s also toured with Laura Mvula, Norah Jones, and Anouska Shankar, recorded with Marc Mac and Ankala and composed for the London Symphony Orchestra. Such is her ability that she can deftly straddle these many musical genres and produce music that not only has soul and originality but also its own voice.
Last year’s gig was one of the highlights of the year for The Jazz Café with a packed house meaning that moving to Newcastle Arts Centre’s other, bigger venue this year will be met with the same anticipation. And given that this is a northern exclusive for Ayanna, it’s safe to say the feeling’s mutual.
Ayanna Witter-Johnson plays The Black Swan, Newcastle on Friday 7th December. Tickets, priced at £10 in advance, are available by calling The Jazz Café on 0191 222 9882 from noon Tuesday to Saturday. Tickets on the door are priced at £12.00.