India.Arie brings message of
love to Monterey Jazz Festival

The Monterey County Herald

If Saturday afternoon at the Monterey Jazz Festival
was about going to the nightclub, Sunday afternoon
was all about getting spiritual and feeling harmony
through music.

Traditionally, Sunday afternoon is taken over by
youth bands, youth vocal groups and a showcase
for the festival’s high school all-star big band, with
a smattering of “adult” acts.

Several years ago the festival began booking big-
name non-jazz acts to help bring audiences into the
arena Sunday afternoon, usually the slowest show of
the jazz festival weekend.

Artists have included such crossover artists as
“smooth jazz” group Spyro Gyra, R&B singer Al
Jarreau, world music star Angelique Kidjo and pop-
jazz trumpeter Chris Botti.

This year that slot was taken by Grammy Award-
winning pop/R&B artist India.Arie, perhaps best
known for her infectious 2001 hit “Video” from her
multi-platinum debut “Acoustic Soul,” and she
brought a strong measure of spiritual uplift,
positivity and harmony to the main arena.

Arie was joined by Israeli singer-songwriter and
pianist Idan Raichel in a program called “Open
Door,” the title of the duo’s new collaboration, with
music written by Raichel and lyrics by Arie.

“Pay special attention to the lyrics because that’s a
big part of why we’re here,” Arie told the near-
capacity crowd on another rare sunny day in

Songs such as “Get Up,” “Just Keep Singing,” “This
Wind,” “Melody for You,” “Lines & Circles,” “Gift of
Acceptance” and “You

Are a Star” all served to deliver Arie’s heartfelt
messages of peace, love, harmony and the power of

“Gift of Acceptance,” in fact, neatly wrapped all
those positive affirmations into one song, which she
said had “everything in it that I’ve always wanted to

Singing the songs in a rich, expressive voice, Arie,
who was dressed in her familiar headdress and a
flowing African-print dress, was warmly received by
the crowd.

She and Raichel were backed by a topnotch band,
William “Blue” Mueller on guitar, Yankale Segal on
bass, ud and sitar, Gillad Schmuelli on drums and
two backup singers, Chantae Cann and Ametria

Arie finished her set with the stirring “You Are a
Star,” that had the audience up on their feet clapping
and singing along with her, which prompted a
cheery “See you next year!” from the artist. Does she
know something we don’t?


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