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The Ella Fitztival

Ella Fitztival 1The Ella Fitztival

Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 8pm

Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center

7 Lock Street, [Manayunk]

Phila., PA 19127

Get Tickets Here


Ella Fitzgerald is one of America's most amazing, as well as most beloved artists. She emerged as a 17 year old contestant in the famed Amatuer Night At The Apollo, moved onto sing with Swing Master, Chick Webb and his orchestra, took over the band after Webb's death. Connected with the Bebop world during her relationship and marriage to bassist Ray Brown. Known to contemporary audiences for her series of commercials for Memorex, which extolled the purity of her voice and of course, the purity of their tape.


A special Jazz Appreciation Month Celebration of Ella Fitzgerald featuring Sistahs Attune is planned for April 28th. Sistahs Attune vocalist and creative cultural producer, Shekhinah B., a former New Yorker and now living and working in Philadelphia, is the producer and organizer of the upcoming event. She is the executive director and founder of The Women’s Coalition for Empowerment, Inc. and the current creative cultural producer for Sistahs Attune. PJP spoke with Shekeniah B about her work, Sistahs Attune, and the upcoming, Ella Fitztival.

PJP: Before we get into the music, can you tell us a little about The Women's Coalition For Empowerment, Inc? While you are at it, share some info about Sistahs Attune and how are these two organizations related?


Shekhinah B: The Women's Coalition for Empowerment, Inc. is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, uniting, and empowering women through initiatives that promote self-sufficiency, multiculturalism, self-esteem, as well as individual and collective growth. Established in 2011, the organization has serviced the Greater Philadelphia community through empowerment workshops, resource information sessions and donations. Since it's beginnings, the organization has gievn over $100,000.00 in goods to the Philadelphia community.


Sistahs Attune is a sisterhood of gifted vocalists connected to jazz striving towards growth, musical excellence, and success as individual performers and as a collective. The mission is to increase performance opportunities and outlets for female vocalists of color. By executing high-quality cultural programming and engagement activities, Sistahs Attune aims to educate the public of the importance of supporting the arts and performing diverse Afro-centric music to share the legacy of soul music to increase women’s economic development in the arts.

Sistahs Attune is a program of  The Women's Coalition for Empowerment, Inc. launched in 2017 and is in part supported by the Pennsylvania Council of the ArtsSistahs Attune is in its introductory pilot year and with continued effort, hopes to become a pillar in the creative cultural community. The group also seeks to become a safe-haven for female artists of color, providing mentorship, artist development and sisterhood engagement. 


PJP: Can you tell us about the upcoming Ella Fitzival? Briefly describe your direction, your goals, as the creator/producer of the upcoming event?

Shekhinah B:The Women's Coalition for Empowerment, Inc. presents the Ella Fitztival featuring Sistahs Attune. The upcoming Ella Fitztival concert is an honorary initiative to celebrate the centennial birthday of the late great Ella Fitzgerald. Her artistic and philanthropic initiatives to the Jazz world have allowed artists to follow a rubric for musical excellence.  April is Jazz Appreciation Month and we intend to JAM.

In honor of her legacy, Sistahs Attune will headline a concert, performing songs by Ella Fitzgerald, invoking both her style and her spirit. Two-hours of continuous music, featuring four vocalists: Ella Gahnt, Jakeya Sanders, Bethlehem “The Vocussionist” Roberson, and Alexis Simmons. This event to be hosted by pianist/vocalist, V. Shayne Frederick, accompanied by a jazz trio featuring Stan Davis on bass, Adam Faulk on keyboards, Khary Abdul-Shaheed on drums, and Tyrone Williams on Sax.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go our charity, The Women's Coalition for Empowerment, Inc.   The concert will take place at Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center, 7 Lock Street, [in Manayunk] Philadelphia, PA 19127.  Doors open at 7:30pm.  The concert is from 8:00pm – 10:00pm. Sponsors for this event include Whole Foods Market, Citizens for the Arts of Pennsylvania and Wawa.

PJP: Why is this event important?


Shekhinah B: The Ella Fitztival represents the preservation of Afro-Centric, the legacy, history and performance dynamic to share with the community.  We believe we can create opportunities for an underserved population. Female vocalists of color want the opportunity to have a fair share at expressing themselves and the music they feel best represents their image unapologetically. Free artistic expression for female vocalists of color without feeling exploited, objectified or ignored.  This event, among others we intend to execute in the future, will be a statement of taking back our freedom, disspelling artistic oppression and seeking support of those who believe in our mission and objectives.  Most important, for all of our artists, is the goal of merging the gap between art and commerce to increase financial sustainability for women in the arts.  



PJP: Tell us about the people working with you.

Shekhinah B:   Sistahs Attune currently consists of seven female vocalists, all residing in the greater Philadelphia region. Ella Gahnt, Jakeya Sanders, Batiyah Barnes, Bethlehem Roberson, Saudah Al-Akbar, Alexis Simmons and Shekhinah B.

PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?

Shekhinah B: Our answer is, why not Jazz?  Jazz is the quintessential prototype of indigenous Afro-American music.  Jazz birthed many musical genres and has provided opportunities for creative expression for everyone, from legends to up and coming artists. Many assume the genre of Jazz is exclusive. In fact, it is the most inclusive form of musical expression.  It allows you to feel. Jazz just is. 


The Ella Fitztival

Friday, April 28th, 2017 at 8pm

Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center

7 Lock Street, [Manayunk]

Phila., PA 19127

Get Tickets Here



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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.



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Tags : EllaFitzgerald TheEllaFitztival VeniceIslandPerformingArts&RecreationCenter SistahsAttune ShekhinahB EllaGahnt JakeyaSanders BethlehemRoberson AlexisSimmons V.ShayneFrederick empoweringwomen sisterhood JazzAppreciationMonth Women'sCoalitionforEmpowerment empoweringwomen sisterhood JazzAppreciationMonth




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Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.