Gwendolyn Jewel Sampé is an American singer now living in Paris. Her first significant musical work was not as a straight- ahead jazz singer but as the composer/director of a poetry-song production titled Turnings , based on the poetry of Nigerian author Wole Soyinka. She was also the first woman to play the part of god in Benjamin Britten's Noah's Flood . This was followed by her taking the part of spirit in the Ariya production of Purcell's “Dido and Aeneas”.
During this time Gwen has also been performing in various jazz venues in Europe - Iceland, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and England. Her percussive and vocally challenging style has been compared to Bobby McFerrin and Betty Carter.
Her debut album Water Gazing , includes her own compositions, songs from the standards repertoire,one of which is an inspired re- working of the Leadbelly song ‘There's A Man Goin' Round Takin' Names’. The musicians on this album are Phil Dawson guitars, Larry Bartley double bass, and the drummers Sebastian Rochford, Andrea Trillo and Kendrick Rowe.
Other than her performance work, Gwen also teaches voice, runs music workshops, and has done much work in England and Ireland with teenagers at risk using Black American folk forms as way a way of expression.
Gwen Sampé is, without any doubt, a living legend. •
Roland Torres, Le Grand BaZART
With the acrobatics that the singer performed on that
evening, memories were evoked of jazz greats Bobby
McFerrin and Lauren Newton. Sampé played with her
voice as if it were an instrument which has a range
covering a thousand tones of colour and a sheer
boundless register. 'Emotional,' the word has an
unpleasant ring to it in this modern day, but it is of
course so important because real experiences mirror
themselves in it. And in this sense an emotional and
even ecstatic effect was created by the singing of this
artist from Houston, Texas, a true 'Orpheus', whose
appearance must be rated as the high point of the
Christopher Schultz, Lüdinghausen Festival
Unlike many others Gwen is a singer who is not afraid to
take chances with her voice.
�� Helen Mayhew, Jazz FM, London
La voix de Gwen Sampé, feulement de chat, puissance
du swing, rocaille du rhythm 'n' blues
Voice / vocals
Willing to teach
Beginner to advanced