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queen esther, music


This Rock n' Roll BlackGrrl's High Life

A Cautionary Tale

The Next NYC Gig: The Sweetheart Soiree, February 15th
queen esther, music
FYI: I'll be performing an evening of love songs (Lady Day's rare sides!) on the third floor of this elegant, well-appointed mansion with my trio for the evening -- Hilliard Greene (bass), Marvin Sewell (guitar) and Wayne Tucker (trumpet).

Return to romance at Michael Arenella's SWEETHEART SOIRÉE. To celebrate the Soirée's fifth flirtatious year, we have, in collaboration with ST-GERMAIN, chosen a most posh and exclusive rendezvous point - NORWOOD, a perfectly preserved, landmarked 1947 mansion. A strictly private club, enjoy a rare opportunity to experience this stylishly bohemian hideaway as our guest.
Whether with an amour, wedded to one you adore or hoping to meet the one you're looking for, this promises to be an evening of enchantment and delightful intrigue. Plenty of plush seating, artisanal French cocktails featuring St-Germain and wooden floors for dancers will assure a most chic and intimate affair.
A passionate programme of entertainment will be featured over four floors of this lavish Victorian manse:

*MICHAEL ARENELLA and His Sextet, your devoted host and beloved bandleader
*NICOLE RENAUD, the luminous accordionist and chanteuse
*Jazz royalty, QUEEN ESTHER and trio
*Tap-dance darlings THE MINSKY SISTERS

Enjoy a dance lesson for both singles and doubles at 9:30PM with the ever-dapper and undeniably adorable RODDY CARAVELLA.

A gorgeous gratis portrait in our St-Germain KISSING BOOTH.

Guests are welcomed with a complimentary ST-GERMAIN COCKTAIL.

Cupid-approved cocktails alongside fabulous wines will be available for purchase at three unique bars. Complimentary gourmet hors d'oevres and sweet treats will be featured throughout the evening.


...a thousand words (and then some!) from last night...
queen esther, music

Accompanied by her quintet The Hot Five, Queen Esther sings the timeless classic Stardust in the library of The Player's Club for The Salon's New Year's Eve Eve fete...

...and absorbing a solo from Patience Higgins. What a beautiful night. Happy New Year, everyone.

The Next NYC Gig: New Year's Eve Eve!
queen esther, music
New Year's Eve Eve

Queen Esther interview in Combustus magazine!
queen esther, music

I gave an in-depth interview to writer/journalist Monika Zameta for Combustus magazine in October, 2013. To read it in its entirety -- and to hear the song I Feel Like Goin' Home from my soon to be released Black Americana album The Other Side -- please click here.

Stand By Your Man (...for a few seconds...!)
queen esther, music

How cool is this? Someone -- rasupreme of Instagram, to be exact (THANK YOU!) -- captured a few seconds of me singing that Tammy Wynette classic Stand By Your Man at Sekou Sundiata's WeDaPeople's Cabaret last night at Aaron Davis Hall with Marvin Sewell on guitar, so I thought I'd share it with the world.

I cover this song on my first self-released album Talkin' Fishbowl Blues. Sekou believed -- in this really heartfelt way, I might add --  that the way I sang it turned it into the ultimate black woman's anthem. He was convinced that I made it belong to black women in a way that people wouldn't really understand unless they heard me sing it. So of course, he wanted me to sing it all the time, especially when I'd perform with him in Harlem.  I didn't always say yes -- it took some convincing to sway me. Now that Sekou is gone, I sing it all the time.

He was right, of course. It is a black woman's anthem. Or maybe it's that way because that's what I mean when I sing it.  How cool that my next album will be original country/rock songs.

Thankfully, Harlem Stage videotaped the entire evening so hopefully, I can show you the complete performance very soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this little snippet...!

The Psychology of Music
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the ongoing upshot
queen esther, music
i didn't win in my region for the mountain stage newsong contest this year (womp-womp!) but my songs were automatically entered into the general round (the deadline is tomorrow) and i'm still in the running for the people's choice winner (voting ends on 9/17), so let's see what develops.

there's a lot of songwriting contests out there.  apparently, i've got work to do.

in the meantime, if you'd like to vote for me in the people's choice category, please click here.

I'm a regional finalist in the 2013 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest!
queen esther, music
i sent three songs from my next black americana/country/rock album as an afterthought to this contest a few weeks ago -- i seriously don't even remember which ones i sent -- and was genuinely surprised to get their warm, generic congratulatory email.  i dropped them a line to find out which songs were in play and as luck would have it, they're my favorites: love is a wrecking ball, will you or won't you and oh sun. apparently, they sifted through a jillion songs and i'm one of ten in my region. from here, they choose one from the ten of each region, which will leave six finalists.

interestingly, i have until saturday to submit a video of me playing one of my songs. whoever gets the most hits will be a people's choice finalist. i was going to play one that i already submitted but then again, i just wrote one that i feel strongly about. it's not very folky or fingerpicky at all but i mean it when i sing it -- and i suppose that's enough. God help me.

that'll be real special, cranking up my pignose amp and singing without a mic in my little makeshift harlem manse, what with all these touchy white people in my building now that want to live quiet, sanitized city lives, with no negroes. how oxymoronic can you get?  harlem is still a ghetto, in spite of their best intentions. if they want the suburbs, why are they here?  you can only imagine exactly how i intend to serve it up to the first well-intentioned, pasty-faced sex and the city wannabe that knocks on my door and "politely" orders me to turn down the volume. good times.

here's the lowdown. and yeah, you kind of need a color coded flow chart to understand how this whole thing unravels.

The Next NYC Gig: Pete's Candy Store, September 9th
queen esther, music


the band is: marvin sewell (guitar) and naisha walton (bass).

this is the first gig for my original music that will eventually culminate in a new release and a european tour next spring. there is so much joy unspeakable joy in doing what i love to do and giving it my all. i'm grateful for the discipline, the fortitude and the presence of mind that it has taken to stick with this -- but really, i was only being myself and going where inspiration led me.

onward and upward.

The Next NYC Gig: The Jazz Age Lawn Party, 8/17 AND 8/18
queen esther, music

Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra invite you to the beloved Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island. Now in its eighth year, the event has become the quintessential outdoor celebration of the Jazz Age and its living legacy.

Under a canopy of century-old trees, caressed by fresh sea air, a sprawling green surrounded by historic architecture is the setting for this trip through time - a dream of the 1920s nestled right in the heart of New York Harbor.

Widely anticipated by flappers, sporting gents and tiny tots alike, the event has been revered year after year by The New York Times, The New Yorker and countless media around the globe.

A delightful array of offerings abound throughout the day, including:

*MICHAEL ARENELLA AND HIS DREAMLAND ORCHESTRA the world's premier Jazz Age dance band, specializing in the Hot-Jazz of the 1920s. Conductor, composer, musician and singer Michael Arenella presents a personally transcribed songbook for your listening and dancing pleasure

*THE DREAMLAND FOLLIES an Art Deco spectacle evokes Ziegfield-esque grandeur *RODDY CARAVELLA AND THE CANARSIE WOBBLERS this fun-loving dance troupe conjures the rebellious yet exuberant spirit of Roaring '20s youth

*GELBER & MANNING feuding vaudevillian lovebirds quarrel, coo and make beautiful music together

*QUEEN ESTHER her vocals pay tribute to jazz royalty of yore

*PETER MINTUN world's greatest piano man

*THE MINSKY SISTERS tap dance darlings delight with fancy footwork

*ANTIQUE GRAMOPHONES bring to life original recordings from the 1920s

*DANCE LESSONS learn the hottest dance steps of the time

*VINTAGE PORTRAITS you ought to be in pictures, snapped in our Sweetheart Booth or perched upon our Paper Moon

*BATHING BEAUTIES AND BEAUS PROMENADE pull that itchy wool number out of the closet and parade it for all to admire

*1920s MOTORCAR EXHIBITION get up close and personal with flivvers and Tin Lizzies

*TUG O' WAR categories include ladies, gents, co-ed and kids

*CHARLESTON DANCE CONTEST see who's the Bee's Knees in this lighthearted dance off

*THE HIGH COURT OF PIE CONTEST categories include "Mom's Best" "Best Savory" "Most Original" and "Hobo's Choice" (For entry email: govislandpie@gmail.com)

*KIDLAND carnival games and prizes for junior gents and flapperettes

*NEWLY EXPANDED wooden dance floor set up right on the lawn!

*ST-GERMAIN ELDERFLOWER LIQUEUR presents a variety of refreshing cocktails and sangria

*BROOKLYN BREWERY BEER, old fashioned lemonade, soda, juices, water, iced coffee and tea to whet your whistle

*GOURMET FOOD MENU featuring an assortment of freshly prepared, era-inspired entrées and picnic fare along with treats and snacks including ice cream, hot popped corn and more!

*VINTAGE CLOTHING VENDORS AND ARTISANS a veritable village of lost treasures and inspired creations to take home

*DREAMLAND GENERAL STORE for your comfort and convenience offering blankets, parasols, hand fans and assorted sundries