From New York to Accra, Ghana and Back

Twelve years ago I came to visit New York for the first time. On the recommendation of a music buddy, I headed straight to world music, dance and experimental venue Barbès to see a show, so I’m delighted to be finally playing a duo show with Jon Toscano there next Sunday. Today, afro trip-hop collective Lucked In, has our second single out on London’s XVI Records, with full EP and music video coming up!

Lucked In went on tour to Accra Ghana a couple ago, we played shows and made new friends. Also, our first single was released ‘Debi Debi’

Debi Debi

The ‘Nuttin Cold’ single is out now on every digital place that you like to listen to and buy stuff on XVI Records, London

Nuttin Cold

LEILA ADU DUO Sun 10/27, 7:00pm


Leila Adu sings her original songs for piano and voice joined by longstanding NYC collaborator, bass-player Jon Toscano, for an acoustic set of impressionistic ballads and stridant protest songs that have been compared to Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell and Tim Buckley. Hailing from New Zealand, Britain and Ghana, Leila has toured the world with recent shows in Paris and Accra, released five acclaimed albums, including two for Italian National Radio and ‘Dark Joan’ recorded by Steve Albini; was voted MTV Iggy’s Artist of the Week, and has performed on BBC’s World Service solo, as well as performing in Luscious Jackson on ‘Late Night with David Letterman.’ WNYC’s John Shaeffer describes Leila’s music as “art pop”: “she pulls it off because she is a genuinely good singer, with a velvety, soulful voice, and because she is an accomplished composer who’s written music for symphony orchestras, string quartets, and the like.”

A Year in Collaborative Releases

Over the past year, I’ve been finishing off my PhD but lots of collaborative music has been bubbling along and bursting out into the atmosphere!

GAIKA: ‘Neophyte’ Spaghetto, Warp Records

I met Gaika a few years back and was immediately struck by his flow and lyrics. Now he’s signed to Warp and doing great things, both musically and culturally. Two of my homies, Alex Morris and Yoshee Windrich of Briggs Studios, London also produced this track. Check out a teaser for “Neophyte” on Warp Records here.

Listen/Buy Here: Gaika, Spaghetto, ‘Neophyte’ feat. Leila Adu on WARP Records

THE MIZ’RIES Complete Control of Your Vehicle

Part-improv, part powerpop, part digital hardcore, the Miz’Ries is the funnest band of all time to play in and always gets a wild response from the audience when we play live. We have recorded more ambient tracks on this recording with techno crazytronica and drones from Jeff Snyder on analog synth and gritty noise, vintage voice and opera samples and effects from Quinn Collins and kraut rhythms from me on drumpad, with poetry and punk political lyrics from me. All in all a great time.

Listen/Buy Here: The Miz’Ries Complete Control of Your Vehicle on Belts and Whistles

Leila Adu (vox/piano), Daniel Carter (horns), Jeff Henderson (sax), Jeff Snyder (analog synth), Federico Ughi (drums).

I love the spirit, creative and political nature of the act improvisation and I deeply value the global community around it — this album has some of my favorite people and musicians in the world. Jeff Henderson has been my buddy, mentor and collaborator for too many years to count. He’s an amazing musician and I was excited to organize a recording session for him when he hit New York from NZ. I enlisted Federico Ughi, who I met 9 years ago when I lived in Rome. We both happened to live in Brooklyn after Italy we’ve collaborated ever since. Luckily, through Federico, I met the lovely, living legend, Daniel Carter, and he agreed to come down and play. The final person in this group is my genius analog synth master friend, Jeff Snyder… Thus, LIFE STATION was born.

Listen/Buy Here: LIFE STATION on 577 Records

CAVE CRICLES, Apricity, “HOUSEKEEPING feat. Black Rainbow”(/aka Leila Adu)

Cave Circles is one of the brainchilds of drummer-producer-composer, Riki Gooch. Riki played drums on my second album years ago, and I’ve always been struck by his rhythmic strength and sensitivity. He has always prolifically produced and composed electronic music and now the world is lucky that he has suddenly started releasing it, under different monikers. This vinyl was put out by the lovely people at Wonderful Noise, Japan and you can check out more of Cave Circles on bandcamp.

Listen/Buy Here:

Coming Up: Silent Poets on Wonderful Noise, Out 7 Feb 2018 on Wonderful Noise, Japan

Ojai Composer Pic


Tom Scheponik & Rosie Langabeer

Made the most of the vertical time space continuum by resonating with a fellow kiwi who is gracing Philadelphia with her musical presence, Rosie Langabeer. Tom and Rosie played a duo followed by my solo at the benefit for Subcircle movement theater company at Christ Church Neighbourhood House (yeah, not the NZ Christchurch – the Philly one.) We caught the feeling in the streets a bit…

Occupy Philly

Free Tibet protest in Philly

Around the world in 80 days…

So, as I found out the hard way, America is different from Europe, mainly because of this (see above.) Not that that’s a bad thing for your mind but your arteries might complain a little later down the line.

I flew to Rome to start the European leg of the “Ode to the Unknown Factory Worker” CD release tour with drummer Daniele De Santis. While in Rome we also shot a video for his electronic project MDF (Midi D’Un Faune.) for the “Prendi Uno” single – out in May on Italy’s foremost electronica ‘Minus Habens’ label (Aphex Twin, Brian Eno…) – aided by a small classy dog, very Italian.

MDF video shoot, Rome



Leaning Tower


Goodbye Sicily


We had a wonderful time in Italy, Berlin and London and Alison Blunt even shot the footage of our show in Berlin, for our ‘Fortuna’ video, shot by Boston Fielder ‘Fortuna’ Music Video

We recently heard of the devastating earthquake in my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. I’ll be over there for a bit seeing loved ones.

Travel Diary






Pulp Fiction parking lot

Leimert Park by night

Winter in Leimert Park

Kaos 3333

Rehearsing with Oddrocker at the Kaos Network

me, Ben Caldwell & Orlando “Oddrocker” Greenhill at the Kaos Network
— Caldwell says “the Sanskrit term for chaos is ‘where brilliant dreams are born.’”

California Dreaming

‘Ode to the Unknown Factory Worker’ drops tomorrow and is being sold from boutique stores to Amazone and Best Buy! In the meantime, I’m gearing up to go on tour, playing in LA and NYC with concerts in Rome, London and Berlin in between. I’m really looking forward to playing at the Mezz in LA, as I had such a great visit last Spring playing with Voice on Tape and Howard Amb at the wonderful and now defunct artist space, Echo Curio. RIP. I also got to go to DISNEYLAND which I thought I would hate (I’m more of a Warner Bro.s, Mel Blanc kinda girl) but I loved. It was totally surreal, like being stuck inside one of those ‘Disney Read Along Books’ that had matching cassette tapes played chimes when it was time to turn the page. “You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!” I’m a total wuss and got very scared on the futuristic ride (the name of which I have traumatised out of my memory.)

On the news front, I’m also going into the studio in London to start to realise some new songs from a twelve song demo into a new album…

Cool people I met last year


So… of course I meet squillions of people who are cool every year. That means, I’ll focus on some artists whom I met whilst on tour etc.

Dearling Physique is a name you’ll be hearing a lot in the near future, they played at Urb Alt Fest last Summer and here’s their amazing new video!

Orlando “Oddrocker” Greenhill of Millions of Shaved Heads and more. I played a gig in LA with this dude and after one rehearsal he had the songs down.

Howard Amb – the nicest musos you could hope to meet in LA with an uncanny propensity for drinking bottled green tea

Maigin Blank in Chicago – super chick with a radio voice and DIY stylz (p’rhaps coz she spent some time in Chch as a teenager…)

Rachel in LA does heaps of stuff like VJ mashups, member of Dubbumba… um – yeah – rocker but here’s a ten second tribute

Met Twin Shadow at Urb Alt Fest last Summer too; they are a neat band from New York, currently garnering international acclaim and the members are real sweethearts

I was racking my brain to think of someone I met in Italy, as I lived there over two years but that was early in the year and my long term memory is getting a bit rusty… then it hit me! In Bologna, at Scuola di Musica Ivan Illich, I did a gig with the duo of Gianni Gebbia and Eiko Ishibashi. You can see them in Tokyo here:

Based in Atlanta (like Janelle Monae) maybe there is something in the water because the Dolldaze could sing the spots off a leopard. See for yourself:

I could go on but that’s enough for now. Stay tuned for more posts such as “Cool people I already knew that I saw last year,” “People I thought were cool who turned out to be tossers” and “People I suspect are cool but haven’t actually met yet”

P.S. I must confess at this point that I base my definition of cool on The Fonze and Madonna in Desparately Seeking Susan… Doesn’t everyone?

End of year report

OK, so I’m more of a “what’s next?” than a pat yourself on the back kinda girl. That means I have to make myself look at what I have achieved with the support of some beautiful people. Here’s a short chronological list:

— Toured to UK, Italy, New Zealand and US with Dark Joan album (see below)
— Launched Dark Joan video in London with director Stephen Bain, Nisha Madhan and school children from Ambrit Rome
— First shows with other musos in the US – Orlando Greenhill in LA and Federico Ughi & Andrew Weeks (New York) for URB ALT Fest 2010 @ 92Y, New York
— Produced ‘Ode to the Unknown Factory Worker’ album in Rome with drummer Daniele de Santis (Jan 18 2011 global release date)
— Had stunning shots with world-class Atlanta photographers Tania Calderòn (see above) and Leon Dale
— Recorded a new demo album of electro pop songs in the US
— Started this blog for photos, videos and impressionistic splashes of thought
— Transitioned with the sheep from facebook group to the snazzy new facebook musician/band page