JUWANA JENKINS INTERVIEW


What's the first song you ever remember hearing?


I can’t remember if Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or Happy Birthday was first.


What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?


My fondest musical memories are that I was always surrounded by music.

There was always music on in the house I grew up in: Bonnie Raitt playing in the cassette player on my mother’s side of the bed; country music playing in the kitchen as she made Sunday breakfast; gospel in the bathroom when my father was getting ready for church; rap in the dining room while my sister was doing her homework and Motown and oldies in my while I was getting ready for school.

 

There was music all around me outside the house too. I remember being watching the Wiz at a musical dinner theatre with my parents when I was a very little girl and attending classical music performances by the Philadelphia Orchestra during elementary school trips. Urban music of the 80’s and 90’s blared as I walked down the streets of Philadelphia. Modern contemporary gospel rang out from my choirs in high school and college while old-time gospel music creaked out of the small upright—out-of-tune-- piano at my parent’s Baptist church.


If you have to describe your music in three of four words, what would you call it?


Honest, playful, fun, raw??


What can people expect to see at your live performances?


People can expect to see me encouraging everybody to join in and have a good time, to party and let it all hang out. That’s why I wrote the song J’s Juke Joint for people to know that I come to have a good time and I want them to join the fun.  ??


Do you have any fan comments of how your music or a song affected them?


The fan comments are so very uplifting and encouraging that the fans reactions are a big part in why I do what I do and how I do it.


After opening for Mick Taylor, formerly of the Rolling Stones, a fan came up to me and told me, “I was feeling bad, but then I heard your voice and I’m feeling better now.”

That is the transformational power of the blues to give expression to the unspeakable, to set it free, and be set free.

 

To write and sing from my joy, my experience, my pain and my life and it touch, help and uplift someone else is such a precious connection with the audience that is a virtuous circle. 


If you could perform with anyone in the world, either dead or alive, or broke up who would it be? Why?


It would be with Muddy Waters’ Band with Little Walter on harp, Willie Dixon on bass an

 

First, I’d want to perform with a band to be in the midst of the chemistry and energy they have created by playing, working and traveling together for all those years.

 

Second, it would be with Muddy Waters because his music influenced the sound of so many musicians. ?

But if I were hosting a show with an all star jam as the closing number and everybody performed a little bit for the closing number with me, there would also be Tina Tuner, Etta James, Koko Taylor, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Buddy Guy, BB King, and.


What is the furthest show from your home that you have done?


All my European shows are pretty far from Philadelphia and I performed in Seoul, South Korea when I lived there, but using my home in Prague as a base in Europe, the furthest would be Rossano, Italy to play the Marco Fiume Blues Passion Festival.


What genre of music can't you stand to listen to? 


I can listen to metal, but I can’t stand academic, choral versions of spirituals and gospel with the soul sucked out.??


What hidden talents do you have? 


Listening. Once I come off stage, it’s a pleasure to sit quietly and give my full, undivided attention to focus on a friend for a while.??


Best track you've ever written and why?


Best track I’ve every written is I Don’t Miss You. It literally came to me and through me in a matter of minutes. It basically wrote itself. First, rushed in the lyrics, then, the melody, harmony, and finally, the organ and guitar parts. While I wrote it as a love song for my gay best friend who had moved to another city, I recently had the honor to sing it at the funeral of a friend who suddenly passed away and I’m so very glad that his widow and guests could take some comfort in the words of the song as well.


Which question i did forget to ask?


After 15 years as a frontwoman singing the blues, I’m working on new original music for my next CD, which will come out in 2016. Fans will get a taste of the blues from its gospel and spiritual roots to its present day fruits.

 


Juwana Jenkins & Charlie Slavik - The Blues Keeps You Alive


De naam van het album zegt eigenlijk al heel veel. 

Een zangeres met de kwaliteiten als Juwana Jenkins zorgt er absoluut voor dat de blues muziek blijft leven.

Juwana Jenkins komt oorspronkelijk uit Philadelphia maar woont tegenwoordig in Praag. Samen met mondharmonica speler Charlie Slavik heeft de zangeres een uitstekend album gemaakt. Het album telt twaalf sterke nummers . Ondanks dat dit album al een geruime tijd uit is verdient de muziek het gehoord te worden.  Dit is echt een uitstekend album en de liefhebbers van old school blues zullen zeker niet worden teleurgesteld. Mijn favoriete nummers zijn ' The Blues Keeps You Alive ' en ' Married To The Blues '.