Welcome to Philadelphia Jazz Project

First Friday Rent Party -Lili Añel
July 2, 2016

First Friday Rent Party Series
August 5th, 2016 - 7:30PM | Lili Añel | Celebrating Florida
Arch Street Meeting House

320 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great Migration: The historic period when millions of Black Americans left the South and moved to the Northeast, Midwest and West. This activity changed the country culturally, politically and socially.

PJP is partnering with the Arch Street Meetinghouse, celebrating this milestone with our First Friday Rent Party Series. The Rent Party was an invention of Great Migrationeers who sometimes faced low wages and high rents. Many found themselves having to pull together a plan to pay the rent. The plan was a house party with liquor, food, music and dancing, all with an admission price. The events happened weekly all over America, whereever these transplanted Southerners traveled. Our rent parties will showcase great music by artists like Sam Reed, Tony Jones, V. Shayne Frederick, Lili Añel and Chris Stevens, as well as feature a buffet of foods related to the state celebrated curated by Chef Valerie Erwin of Geechee Girl Restaurant.

Lili Añel (pronounced Ahn-Yell) considers music a calling. This six-foot tall, Cuban-American singer-songwriter grew up in New York City, where she discovered her passion for music. Defying categorization she calls her music a hybrid of "jazz/folk/soul/pop" combined with a powerfully unique vocal style bringing her to the forefront. Lili many influences include, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Janis Ian and Joan Armatrading.

Lili relocated to Philadelphia in 2004 and has performed at regional venues such as World Cafe Live, Tin Angel and The Point, The Grand Opera House, as well as Perkins Center for the Arts. Her six CDs have received airplay at some of the nation's top Triple A radio stations, including WFUV (New York), WXPN (Phila), WUMB (Boston), WXRT (Chicago) and WRTI (Phila). JazzTimes recently praised Añel's songs for being “consistently excellent." The New York Daily News, after witnessing a performance, proclaimed "a star is born." The New York Post called her, "outstanding" for singing "earthy and sweet." The Philadelphia Inquirer dubbed her a "vocal power house, whose earthy, jazz-laced tuned stretch the boundaries of traditional singer-songwriter turf." Lili Añel continues to appear as a headliner, and also opens for national acts such as Alejandro Escovedo, Boz Scaggs, John Hammond, Jr., Richie Havens, Vance Gilbert, Robert Cray and B.B. King. Lili Añel is also part of Cassandra Wilson's Ojah Media Group, an independent, privately owned music and concert production company.

Vocalist/Guitarist Lili Añel, will be our featured artist celebrating Florida, for the First Friday Rent Party Series at the Arch Street Meeting House.

First Friday Rent Party Series
August 5th, 2016 - 7:30PM | Lili Añel | Celebrating Florida
Arch Street Meeting House

320 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Tickets for these special events are only $25 per party.
Free parking available - first come, first served.

PJP spoke with Lili Añel about her music and her approach.

PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction

Lili Añel: I'm a songwriter so much of my music's "direction" comes from the song. Sometimes the lyric dictates whether it will be a ballad or uptempo song. In terms of style I would describe my music to be a hybrid of styles with strong Jazz inclinations. Much like myself, my music is a combination of many musical styles that have influenced me. I would say Jazz is dominant.

PJP: What and whom are pivotal musical influences on your creative approach?

Lili Añel: Again, I'm a songwriter. Good songs, songs that are well structured and well written are paramount and they have the most influence on me. Growing up I listened to The Beatles a great deal. Songwriting in its finest form. I guarantee you, after we are all gone, their music will still be playing. Their songs have been covered by all different styles of music from Jazz to Classical and have been interpreted in many different ways. For me, that's the a good song.

In addition to "songs" there are certain musicians who inspire me greatly and I listen to them all the time. I am a singer and I have always listened to Tenor Saxophone players. My favorite player is the late Michael Brecker. He was very lyrical in his playing. He had what I call "song sensibilities". His playing inspires me a great deal. I wish my voice could do what he did with the tenor, and I don't mean just "scatting". If you listen to him you will immediately know what I mean. I listen to him every day just about. Another influence I listen to just about every day is Jef Lee Johnson. In addition to being the inimitable guitarist that he was, he was an unbelievably incredible songwriter (and singer). His discography is incredible. He wrote wonderful songs. His use of harmony and melody while sounding complicated in the immediate, are simple. All part of his genius. Its always a good day when I can transcribe the chords to one of his songs. I plan on recording an album of his material in the hopeful not too distant future.

PJP: What's so important about this project?

Lili Añel: I think its important to belong in "community" when it comes to music. Philadelphia Jazz Project is essential in Philadelphia in bringing Jazz, music, art to Philadelphia and including not only the famous well-known artists, but the local artists who work hard to be heard. The Great Migration is a very important part of history, not only to Black America, but to America as a whole. I would like to think music helped to bridge the gap somewhat in the years after slavery ended and as African-Americans moved across the U.S. and began to acclimate.

JP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forwarding moving musical ideas, while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?

Lili Añel: That's a tough question. In many ways I would say the "past is the present". We can only do what we know and have learned and incorporate it to something "new". Music is interesting in that it is repeated in many ways. As musicians I would say it's important to stay innovative while being true to who you are. I think that’s where the “new” comes in. I have to stand in my truth when it comes to music, and I'm my only "me". A piece of "me" that continues to evolve, continues in my music as I continue to write, perform, moving it forward.

PJP: When listening to your music, what advice would you give to audiences to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?

Lili Añel: I would just say "listen".

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

Lili Añel: Why not? I think Jazz is in just about all forms of music on some level.

First Friday Rent Party Series produced by Philadelphia Jazz Project in collaboration with Arch Street Meeting House.