Larnell Lewis is a Grammy Award-winning musician, composer, producer and educator (Professor of Music at Toronto’s Humber College) who has established himself among the most diverse and in-demand drummers in the world. Since 2012, has been playing with the ultra cool Brooklyn-based band Snarky Puppy. Larnell also leads successful ensembles of his own, and has toured the globe with revered colleagues like Laila Biali, Quincy Jones, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Gregory Porter, Jacob Collier and Kurt Elling. Larnell’s latest release, Relive the Moment (2020), is a reimagining, with new drum performances, of compositions from his 2018 debut album, In the Moment.
Larnell’s talents can be seen worldwide via his various social media platforms, which have a combined total of over 175,000 followers. His outreach to fans and musicians of all generations is proof that he not only possesses undeniable talent, but also a spirit unlike any other: it excites, inspires and encourages music fans of all ages to further explore their tastes as they follow him on the road he has paved for himself.
Joy Lapps-Lewis is a highly respected musician, composer, arts educator and creative womanist of Antiguan and Barbudan descent – and she’s married to Larnell! Joy earned a Master of Music Composition from York University, and has received international acclaim for her proficiency with the tenor steelpan, which Joy uses as a tool for engagement, anchoring her artistry in a profound community-centered and participatory music tradition. She is best known for leading the Joy Lapps Project, an ensemble whose repertoire abounds with Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Brazilian-inspired rhythmic and harmonic patterns, garlands of melody, and plenty of space for spontaneity. A fondness for hit song forms and reimagined choirs emerges frequently in her compositions.
To date, Joy has issued five independent recordings: How Great Thou Art (2004), Make a Joyful Noise (2006), It’s Christmas Time (2007), Morning Sunrise (2014), and her first full-length album of exclusively original music, Girl In The Yard (2022). The pannist’s latest release, featuring core band members Elmer Ferrer (guitar), Jeremy Ledbetter (piano), Larnell Lewis (drums) and Andrew Stewart (electric bass and co-production) as well as a dozen stellar guests, pays tribute to the women in Joy’s life — known and unknown — who have helped her master the steelpan and supported her success in the steelpan movement. Blending elements from West African music, Afro-Caribbean music, samba and vintage radio hits, Girl In The Yard spotlights lyrical improvising, rhythmic discourse and cinematic songwriting. Joy plans to continue her tribute to empowering women with a multi-disciplinary performance she is currently developing to celebrate female artists in the steelpan community.
Larnell and Joy are both outstanding improvisers, known for their creative use of space, colour, texture and grooves, and a keen ability to reimagine their compositions. Together, the couple and their ensembles will offer TD Sunfesters a not-to-be-missed performance exploring Afro and Latin-Caribbean jazz, with a hint of R&B and soul.
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