Samirah Evans is known for her dynamic, soulful approach to jazz and blues, among other genres. Her style is also heavily infuenced by the New Orleans sound where she was one of the city’s most in-demand singers. Evans moved to Brattleboro after Hurricane Katrina. She assembled a band called Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils and developed notoriety throughout New England touring upon their 2009 CD release “Hot Club” Live at the Vermont Jazz Center, Evans 3rd release. Her 1990 debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival began a stint of 15 consecutive years performing there as a leader or featured vocalist, and she was a fixture in both clubs and concert venues throughout the Crescent City. During her career, she has toured North and South America, Europe and Asia, sharing stages with a multitude of New Orleans notables and legendary artists, including James Brown, B.B. King, Dr. John, Aaron and Charles Neville, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Jr., Sheila Jordan, Poncho Sanchez, Bob Dorough, Irma Tomas, Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty and Sam Kininger. Evans dedicates time perpetuating indigenous American music. She was a long-time participant in the Blues Schoolhouse program sponsored by the International House of Blues Foundation. She also served as a volunteer show host on the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage radio station, WWOZ, for over 10 years. In New England she’s is the founder of various musical programs, including Sam’s Set & Shed, Ladies in Jazz, and the NOLABratt’s choir. Samirah is currently an Artist Associate in Jazz Voice at Williams College.
Wanda Houston is a professional singer, actress, and recording artist who has lived and performed throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. For years Houston sustained a bi-coastal career in theater and music working in various capacities with Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand, Patti Austin, Eartha Kitt, Joe Cocker, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Sam Harris and Rick Astley. Houston, performed the stages of the Pasadena Playhouse, Universal Studios, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and Carnegie Hall. A private scholarship to study opera took her to the University of Southern California, but she soon found herself on tour with Motown legends like Mary Wells, Martha and the Vandellas, and Te Platters. Moving to New York City, Houston was a featured singer in the Roundabout Teater production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” that starred John C. Reilly and Natasha Richardson, and was part of the Broadway Inspirational Voices gospel choir that received a Grammy nomination for its Christmas album, “Great Joy.” Her travels brought her to Te Berkshires in 2001 where she continues to perform musical theatre, jazz, gospel, R&B, blues, folk and rock-’n- roll. She is a superb storyteller, coloring the spaces between her songs with fascinating stories of her youth and the trials and tribulations of life on the road. She also is a private vocal coach, and choral director and the lead vocalist for a number of projects including the Mothership Trio, Te VJC Big Band, and the Wanda Houston Band who recently released their recording Lucky So & So.