Russia Captured by the Power of Peace and Love
As Atlanta Based Songstress Myrna Clayton Overwhelms Moscow With American Music!
By: Myrna Clayton
The Atlanta-based performer is authentic in her quest to use music's universal language to demonstrate, in her words, that "we are more alike than we are different." Myrna has traveled solo to Russia, a road less traveled, for the past four years to perform with Russian musicians both small combos and larger Big Bands to thrill and empower audiences to sing and dance along with her. She is described by one Russian Big Band conductor as the "Maynard Ferguson of Jazz vocals." Myrna recognizes the importance of her role and the significant timing of her appearance. "I just discovered on this tour that my name in Russian means 'peace'... what an amazing truth for me!" Myrna explains, "at a time when differences are negatively touted, I see our similarities and applaud them. My first-hand experience in Russia indicates that they (Russian citizens) recognize it too."
Myrna is one of ten performers/bands selected from nearly 400 applicants representing 20 states, by the American Music Abroad Program to perform in a month-long, multi-country tour amongst younger, underserved communities that have had little exposure to American music. She and her band will have the opportunity to perform and to engage with local musicians in workshops, jam sessions, and lectures/demonstrations. It will also provide an opportunity for international media interviews with Myrna and her uniquely American multi-genre artistry. The tour will take place Spring 2018.
Myrna was recently awarded entry into the competitive Performing Arts Exchange Juried Showcases by South Arts. She was selected as one of sixteen artists to be showcased for performing arts presenters and venues. A nonprofit Regional Arts Organization (RAO), South Arts receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and partners with State Arts Agencies.
Myrna shares her thoughts about the unique value of American music:
"American culture -- the joys and sorrows -- resonates through American music and connects to the hearts of individual listeners around the world. It's this personal connection that unifies us and allows us to sing together, play together, and find commonality -- in harmony. I am grateful for the opportunity pay homage to the American legends who influenced my style: Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, Nina Simone, and Minnie Riperton to name a few."
recent appearances and performances of "America's Songbird" include:
2017 Atlanta Jazz Festival's "Celebrating Sarah" Vaughn (a female vocal collaborative established by Kathleen Bertrand); "JazzAhead" Conference in Bremen, Germany; and Wednesday WindDown's in Douglasville,GA and MOTOWN Tribute at metro-Atlanta's SW Performing Arts Center and Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center with Asa Music Production's Westside Wind (24-piece) Jazz Orchestra.
2018 brings Jazz Vesper @ First Congregational Atlanta, US Embassy World Tour - Baltic Region, Averitt Performing Arts Center in Statesboro GA, International Jazz Day Concert, etc.
Ms. Clayton is also the Executive Director of Abel 2, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to bringing global awareness to and expanding the performance opportunities for musicians and artists with disabilities of all ages.
IMPORTANT READER'S NOTE:
The U.S. Department of State's America Music Abroad Program and South Arts' Performing Artist Exchange (PAE) are two separate and distinct programs. Neither of these prestigious programs is a sponsor of the other.