Latvian Singer Alise Kante Headlines Jaffa Jazz Festival

Latvia's Kante reimagines jazz classics at Tel Aviv event.

by Nouman Rasool
Latvian Singer Alise Kante Headlines Jaffa Jazz Festival
© Alise Kante/youtube

Ella Fitzgerald's timeless artistry has illuminated the path for countless jazz singers for nearly a century. Many have marveled at her unparalleled vocal grace, captivating expressiveness, and infectious zest for life. Alise Kante, Latvia's celebrated jazz vocalist, is no exception.

Drawing deep inspiration from Fitzgerald, Kante has extended her musical palette into a myriad of directions. As the Jaffa Jazz Festival readies for its 8th installment at Tel Aviv's ZOA House from October 5-7, audiences eagerly anticipate Kante's vibrant performance.

On October 6th, she is set to dazzle attendees alongside esteemed artists like Danish-American bassist Kristin Korb, Romanian pianist Sorin Zlat, Israeli vibraphonist Rami Shuler, and renowned drummer Shai Zelman. Kante's diverse musical offerings at the festival also include a duet with Israeli guitarist Yitzchaki Franko, embracing Latin jazz rhythms.

Jazz, ever-evolving, has seen its artists morph with current artistic and cultural waves. Although the Carpenters - famous from the mid-60s to 1983 - aren’t exactly today’s headliners, their iconic tunes like “Close to You” and “Masquerade” still resonate powerfully across airwaves and digital platforms.

Attendees at the Jaffa Jazz Festival can expect Kante to delve into the Carpenters’ cherished catalog, bringing a fresh interpretation to these beloved classics.

Kante's Deep Roots in Jazz

Alise Kante, known for her versatility, often incorporates pop and rock influences into her sets, from legends like Stevie Wonder.

Reflecting on her childhood, Kante recounts her immersion into music. “Music has always surrounded me. From my conductor father introducing me to orchestra life to my first solo at age 9, music chose me,” she fondly recalls.

Notably, Ella Fitzgerald's rendition of ‘Summertime’ captivated a young Kante, setting her on a course to master jazz intricacies. Despite an early calling, Kante's journey had its twists. Initially pursuing a conventional career for stability, she ultimately heeded her heart's calling, abandoning traditional paths to embrace her true passion: music.

Recounting her earliest professional experiences, she remembers, “My first major performance was on a ship, a blend of various genres, including jazz”. As she prepares for her performance at the Jaffa Jazz Festival, Kante pays homage to the Carpenters, infusing their hits with her unique style.

From “Sing” and “Rainy Days and Mondays” to “Top of the World,” she promises an invigorating setlist. Rather than emulating Karen Carpenter's iconic vocals, Kante intends to inject her soul into the songs, providing audiences with an unforgettable, reimagined experience.

As the Jaffa Jazz Festival draws near, Alise Kante stands as a testament to the transformative power of music and the enduring legacy of icons like Ella Fitzgerald.