Lush Tongue was born in my friend's living room as we spoke of yearning for unique creative fellowship using voices as the main vehicles. I grew up on mixtapes of Irish folk music, Italian arias, Nina Simone, Bjork, Mongolian throat singing, Hawaiian oli, hip hop, barbershop singing, traditional vocal jazz and pop a cappella greatly informed my evolution as a vocalist with an eclectic, globally multi-cultural repertoire.
I've had the honor of studying with Bobby McFerrin and performing with a diverse range of artists such as Alice Smith, Saul Williams and Neil Young. I am currently involved in a vocal improvisation lab at Carnegie Hall. I offer private lessons and teach music courses at several different youth and adult enrichment programs. use music, performance, writing and other creative expression tools for consciousness expansion, self-discovery, community building and empowerment. I am continually developing my craft in voice as a practitioner, performer, teacher and coach.
Bonita Oliver is an actress (SAG/AFTRA), singer/songwriter, and educator residing in Harlem. She has showcased her talents as a singer throughout the northeast over the past 20 years. She was the featured performer for the 2007 Nina Simone Activist Award honoring Sweet Honey In the Rock. She has also performed at venues such as Cleopatra's Needle, Juilliard, Joe's Pub, S.O.B.'s, Canal Room, Galapagos, The 5 Spot, Sugar Bar, and the Glasslands Gallery. Her vocals and lyrics have appeared on various compilation CDs.
Past collaborators include Karl Rausch, Mason Lucas, Todd Amodeo, Cactuz, and Skyscraper DJ, (Toshi). She has also performed as lead vocalist with an 11 piece Afro-Beat orchestra called Afro Funk Massive. Now Bonita is proud to be a member of Lush Tongue's core ensemble.
My mother believes that names carry power---that when you name a child, its name should claim for it an esteemed way of being--and so she called me Carolyn. My name means song of joy. All my life song has been a way for me to express my joy, as well as cultivate joy in others.
I have sung, in ensemble and as a soloist, at Jordan Hall as a member of The New England Conservatory Youth Chorale and as a member of Voices of Praise at The Eastman School of Music. I have also had the pleasure of singing, in conjunction with the Wesleyan University Jazz Orchestra, as the opening act for Bennie Maupin, inspiring noted journalist Chuck Obuchowski to write, "The group's set ended with a soul-stirring arrangement of Billy Taylor's 'I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free.' Wesleyan senior Carolyn Sinclair-McCalla carried her colleagues to great heights with her powerful singing." I have also composed and arranged original works, which were then performed as a part of my senior thesis, "Movements to One Love."
Vocal Artist, Actor, Dancer, Educator. From Brooklyn, NY, raised in Newark, NJ. She has been singing since her elementary school days and has battled years of stage fright. However, through various experiences in her youth she has acquired a passion for performing at different capacities, whether it be acting, teaching, public speaking, singing, or dancing. Vocal improv is a totally new venture for her, however, she definitely isn't new to the improv scene. She is the youngest of the group and hopes to inspire and create magic with the beautiful voices of Lush Tongue.
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--- Onome will be co-facilitating a community singing circle in Central Park on September 21. Come and sing!
September Singing in Central Park!
Mon Sept 21, 6pm
Greyshot Arch, near 61th St and Central Park West
(A, B, C, D & 1 trains to Columbus Circle)
After an amazing summer of public music-making, it's time for another gathering in the park!
Join us for singing, rhythm and movement, all improvised in the moment, in a resonant tunnel, as dusk falls.
This month our gathering will honor the International Day of Peace.
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Saturday, October 3rd, Lush Tongue will be the closing act for the New Legacy Leaders Domestic Violence Healing Conference at Harlem Hospital's MLK Pavilion. More details to come.
Kumble Theater. Images courtesy of Deneka Peniston.