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Salone soul diva Azania joins AYOTK ‘Whitney Houston Tribute’ special line up

Salone soul diva Azania joins AYOTK ‘Whitney Houston Tribute’ special line up

Azania, born in America and of Sierra Leone descent, has been added to perform at Jeremiah Abiah presents ‘Artists You Ought To Know (AYOTK)… Celebrating Whitney’ second annual tribute concert on Monday, February 25 at the Mist Theater in Harlem, New York.

“Whitney Houston is and always will be my number one idol. She is the reason I started singing and continues to inspire me,” said Azania during a phone conversation from her home this week.

Handpicked by Mr. Abiah the show’s producer, Azania will join seven other R&B, Musical Theatre, Soul, Jazz and Pop artists and musicians including Carmen Jones, Jamie Owens, Jennie Harney, Linzey Jones, Lisala Beatty, Raena White, Dani Eliot and House band: Morloko at MIST Harlem’s new state of the art performance facility located in the hub of Harlem’s new blossoming cultural center for this special tribute to the late multi Grammy award winner Whitney Houston the Queen of pop music who died on February 11, 2012 in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California.

The concert series “is a dedication to the vocal arts and its preservation and a showcase of celebrating great singers and their great works using established and upcoming names in the vocal arts,” said Abiah a renowned singer and vocal coach whose father is from Ghana and mother an African American of Cuban descent.

Arguably, Azania a classical Opera trained artist has emerged as one of the best soul singers whose eclectic performances reflects distinct characteristics whether she sings gospel, jazz, techno, reggae or African music.

Reminiscing a few years ago, in Paris, France, where as a contestant on France’s first equivalent version of America’s Star Search or American Idol, Azania said the very first song she performed to win the contest viewed by an estimated  4 million people was  a cover of Whitney’s “I wanna dance with somebody.”

During a recent in-studio interview on South African born Sduduzo Ka Mbili’s No Questions Asked radio program – a two hour African arts, music and news show on WBAI, 99.5 FM in New York City, Azania talked about how she cherishes her Sierra Leonean heritage even though she was born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in Geneva, Switzerland.

In the studios of WBAI, Azania exhibited superior singing abilities especially when she teamed up for a duet with Ghanaian artist and band leader Osekre and the Lucky Bastards for a live rendition of Sweet Mother, a popular African tune by Prince Nico Mbarga.

Azania confidently assured her fans that she is fully prepared for Monday’s celebration of her idol Whitney.  She said she “feels so blessed and honored to be a part of this beautiful tribute to the woman whose voice has touched and brought love and joy to me and to so many lives.”

By Dennis Kabatto

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