Musical traditions from African, Arab, American, Southeast Asian and Cuban cultures have informed Colette Michaan’s music throughout her life. A first generation American, native New Yorker of Egyptian/Syrian heritage, Colette plays music that expresses a journey, an integration and universal expression of feeling. Her intention is to create beauty, to move people to feel, to enjoy, to reflect, to come together and dance.
In 2004, Colette released her debut album First Cause. Appreciated for its eclecticism, this recording includes original compositions, Cuban Son, Cha cha cha, Yoruban folklore, Latin Jazz, and World Music. The musicians on the recording include: Colette Michaan, Oriente Lopez, Pedro Martinez, Richard Bona, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Nomi Bloch, and Chacho Schartz, among others.
Her second album Querencia, a recording of World Music with a Cuban core, was released in 2010. The recording features Colette Michaan, Edgar Pantoja Aleman, Yunior Terry, Jorge Bringas, Hassan Hakmoun, Aaron Halva, Jainardo Batista, and Pedro Martinez. In 2012, Colette toured Morocco with her band, performing at the Lotus Club in Marrakech. The tour culminated with a concert at the renowned Essaouira Gnaoua Festival where her band received great acclaim.
From 2005 to 2007, Colette played flute in Charanga Soleil. From 2007 to 2015, Colette performed with Cuban Son group Nu’ Guajiro/ Nu’ Dlux, led by Aaron Halva and Jainardo Batista, on a weekly basis at NYC’s clubs Oliva, Boca Chica and Cienfuegos.
Michaan has performed with Youssou N’Dour in Senegal, Fathy Salama in Egypt, Toi Pinto in Cape Verde, Julio Cambara Palacio and the Cuban Express in Curacao, Harry Whitaker, John Stubblefield, and Hubert Laws.
From 1999 to 2002 Michaan was an adjunct faculty member in the Jazz and Contemporary Music Department at the New School in New York City.
Colette has recorded on albums by Harry Whitaker, Richard Bona, and Kaissa. She has also performed with Kenny Barron at the Jazz Yatra Festival in India (1986), Richard Bona at the St. Louis Festival in Senegal (1995), and Gnaoua Maâlem Abdelkebir Merchane at the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival in Morocco (2012).
In 2012, Michaan worked with Flor de Toloache led by Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol, including performances at New York’s Museo del Barrio, Rockwood and appearances on NBC and Telemundo.
In recent years, Colette continues to perform weekly in NYC venues such as SOB’s, Havana Central, Son Cubano, Brooklyn Academy of Music, NJPAC, Shapeshifter Lab, Drom, Barbes, Cienfuegos, and more.
In September 2014, Colette released her latest cd INCARNATE. This music is her response to the passions and pains of life. The language is Latin Jazz. The rhythms are Afro-Cuban. The soul is universal.
Michaan finds her joy in music and communicates it onstage, “Playing music is vital to me,” she affirms, “I am grateful for the desire to play, the ability to play, and for each opportunity to play.”
To see Colette’s Querencia at Essaouira Gnaoua Festival 2012, fast forward to 10:27 => 11:30 (m:s)
15ème édition Festival Gnaoua et Musiques du Monde – 21-24 juin 2012 – Making-of from gnaouafestival on Vimeo.