The daughter of Haitian parents, cellist/singer Leyla McCalla was born in New York but now lives in New Orleans, with its own French, Creole, and nearby Acadian heritage. McCalla, a former member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, explores all those entwined roots, including jazz and folk, on her stunning second solo album, A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey
. The record boasts a subtle, often poignant thread of socio-political consciousness that winds through traditional pieces as well as tunes by Haitian musician/activist Manno Charlemagne ("Manman") and obscure Georgia bluesman Abner Jay ("Vietnam"). McCalla is a wonderful singer whose lustrous, marbled Creole timbre seems to flow from her exquisite instrumental work on banjo, guitar, and classically inclined cello. She's also a talented arranger who points out Haitian-Louisiana Creole ties with vivid covers of Canray Fontenot's "Le Plat Sont Tous Mis Sur La Table" and Bébé Carrière's "Bluerunner," plus delves into NOLA trad jazz. North Shore "folky-tonk" act Pushing Chain opens.