Singer-songwriter Riva Precil originally studied to be a music therapist as an undergraduate at Loyola University in New Orleans, but after a brief stint working as a musical therapist she decided to dive into the arts full-time. Working across traditional media boundaries, Precil has written a children’s book in Creole called Anaelle ak la Sirèn (“Anaelle and the Mermaid”) and also creates handmade metal jewelry, which she adorns with jewels and painted vèvè, religious symbols common to the practice of Haitian Vodou. According to Precil, her sense of self-expression naturally extends across media and unites her work:
I strive to create a perfect harmony among all my passions so everything works hand in hand. I pull my inspirations from the same sources so it works beautifully…Art is art regardless of its form.
At the moment, Precil is working on her début album, a collection of traditional sacred Haitian songs that reflect American musical influences like soul and R&B. As she said in a May profile in The Brooklyn Reader, her music might be described “kind of like if Sade or Erykah Badu were to have a Haitian album.”
If you’ve only got a minute and a half to spare today, take a listen to the following minute and a half clip of Precil performing “Minis Azaka” duo with Haitian drummer Jean Mary Brignol. This and many more videos are available at Precil’s YouTube channel:
BOHIO MUSIC featuring Riva Precil performs at The Jazz Gallery this Thursday, June 12th, 2014. The ensemble features Riva Precil on lead vocals, Monvelyno Alexis on guitar and vocals, Jeremy Powell on saxophone, Motoki Mihara on bass, and Markus Schwartz on drums. Sets are at 9 and 11 p.m. The first set is $15.00 general admission and $10.00 for Members; the second set is $10.00 general admission and $5.00 for members. Purchase tickets here.