Carmen Lundy is a successful and respected composer and vocalist who is riding high with her 16th album, “Fade to Black,” recently nominated for a Grammy award. She will perform songs from that album, plus many more, during two New Year’s Eve concerts called “Carmen Lundy and Friends,” at the Kennedy Center.
Lundy’s “Friends” include: Warren Wolf (vibraphone), Brandee Younger (harp), Andrew Renfroe (guitar), Kenny Davis (bass), Terreon Gully (drums), and Matthew Whitaker (piano, organ, keyboards). Whitaker is a VSA International Young Soloist and Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead alumnus, both Kennedy Center programs.
Talented across several creative genres, Lundy, 68, is an actress, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and a celebrated mixed media artist and painter. Her art is on the cover of “Fade to Black.”
Recently, Lundy spoke about her career on WIN-TV, the Washington Informer’s digital platform program. She shared what went into creating her latest album during the shutdown period of COVID. “Say Her Name,” one of the songs on the album, questions why any woman or man must be a victim of police brutality at this time in our nation’s history.
“The way we have come to know the Black experience in the modern world, I find it doesn’t make sense. I went to my computer to understand what happened on that awful day in Minnesota. I remember being so emotionally broken down,” Lundy said. “I also remembered Attorney Crump insisting that we say the names of individuals who suffered needlessly. When you say it out loud, you claim the life, spirit, and soul of that person.”
A tribute to love is one of many feelings when listening to “Spell of Romance.” I told Lundy the song is reminiscent of missing someone due to the shutdown conditions in the early period of the pandemic.
“ It’s just that,” Lundy said while laughing. “When I talk about music, I find that if you give everything up, then that changes the listener’s perspective.”
“Reverence” is a cut Lundy considers her song of speaking out.
“I’ve done more protesting in my 60s than ever,” Lundy said. “The song is a simple way of breaking down ‘Black Lives Matter.’ Your life matters; mine does too.”
“Fade to Black” walks through this current era of reckoning and adds to Lundy’s catalog of over 150 published songs. Her compositions have been recorded by such artists as Kenny Barron, Ernie Watts, Terri Lyne Carrington and Regina Carter, all National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters. She is not done yet.
Check out the interview with Lundy on the Washington Informer’s WIN-TV on YouTube. Visit Lundy’s website to learn about “Fade to Black” and her other works at carmenlundy.com. For information about “A Jazz New Year’s Eve: Carmen Lundy and Friends,” visit the Kennedy Center at www.kennedy-center.org.