Ashley Maher
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Ashley Maher

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Band World Singer/Songwriter

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"PRESENTER QUOTES"

"Ashley Maher is one of the most amazing performers in Los Angeles. Her style reminds me of a mix between Joni Mitchell and an African Queen."
--Megan Jacobs, Conga Room

"Your show ... with your entire band and dancers was breathtaking! ... The dancers were so colorful and exciting to watch, the musicianship is first class and your music is so uplifting. Attendance that night was record breaking. The audience here loves to participate, you kept them up and dancing the entire show! Thank you again for your professional and very entertaining performance!"
--Jan Stout, Levitt Pavilion

"I saw Ashley here in NYC, and I have to tell you that I was BLOWN AWAY! If she is not the next Joni Mitchell, then I don't know who is! She has a wonderfully relaxed and personable stage presence that make you feel really at home and invested. Her intro's are funny and warm and quirky - and then she opens her mouth to sing and that VOICE comes out! It's amazing! Her voice is simply beautiful. I walked away from that concert shaking my head wondering, why she isn't HUGE in the States?! This woman should be a STAR!"
--Judith Miller, ZAMO Arts, New York

"Stellar songwriting, her extraordinary voice, and heavenly world grooves put Ashley in a class all her own: sublime world / folk / jazz."
--Ray Slayton, The Vic

"Inspiring performance. Captivating vocals. Enthralling melodies. Ashley Maher encompasses all these and much more when she takes the stage and makes it her own. ... we guarantee a stunning performance by Ashley, her talented dancers, and fabulous musicians."
--Louis Capone, Pershing Square Summer Concert Series

"How fantastic was that?!!! Your group's performance yesterday makes me kick myself that we hadn't had you all back sooner. The dancers ... are so skilled and really add so much to the performance. The way you interact with your group ... makes the whole experience feel so personal ... a hard act to follow."
--Illana Gatti, UCLA Fowler Museum, 2005

"...you had an impressive array of nationalities onstage. The audience particularly enjoyed your fantastic dancers. Their energy and color and intricate choreography rounded out the show wonderfully, giving a whole extra dimension to the music on its own."
--Michael McKinley, Sunset Junction Festival

"Having performed at venues such as Temple Bar, Backstage Coffee Gallery, The Conga Room, and many others local and abroad, Maher offers ... a very special performance. She's recorded four CDs with the best world musicians and her shows guarantee paralleled talent, plus dancing!! (not to be missed) If you've seen her perform around LA, you already know the mastery in her song writing, and the sweetness of her voice, and if you're looking for a moving musical experience, you'll want to discover Ashley Maher!"
--Molly White, Club Tropical

"You make me love my job! - Thanks Ashley. ... you guys are the hardest working, most talented & easiest-to-work-with entertainers I've ever met ... and I thought I'd met the best."
--Tymeri Cuervo, San Gabriel Street Festival

"... dynamic and engaging... We were delighted to present your music to our Culver City audience and were pleased with their enthusiastic response to your winning performance. Your talent and energy were refreshing."
--Elaine Gerety, Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission

"... exciting, uplifting, and beautiful ... an absolutely wonderful show. Ashley is so natural and pleasant on stage that you feel you are in her living room. There is so much kindness and love amongst her group, that it is as if they are family, and we in the audience may only be cousins, but we're every bit as welcome and a part of the show. ... I haven't been so impressed with a performer since I saw Tina Turner ... in a small club on Santa Monica Boulevard many years ago."
--John Polinsky

"The audience thoroughly enjoyed the set you did, and I appreciate how well rounded the event was. Your beautiful vocals, the music from your wonderful musicians and the energy from the West African Dancers all made it a program to behold."
--Illana Gatti, UCLA Fowler Museum
- 14 QUOTES FROM VENUES


"CD REVIEWS"

"... a recording by a remarkable artist. ... a truly original musician and songwriter."
--Jim Lee, FolkWorks

"Today, Ashley's a cult figure for a discerning few. Tomorrow, perhaps, she'll be a heroine for millions."
--Record Mirror, United Kingdom

“As I was listening to this for the first time completely lost in the beauty of the music, the wonderful arrangements, the rhythms, and Ashley's striking voice, 1 was rocked by the spiritual and humanistic insight of the lyrics... 'The Blessed Rain' is an uplifting spiritual good feeling gift...you can listen in a casual way and have the music sweep around and through you, but something inside says, "I need to drink in this splendor slowly and deeply."
--Jack Sutton, Director, Harmony Ridge Music

“Imagine the soaring, angelic melodiousness of Joni Mitchell-esque American folk singing and dancing to the deep, complex rhythms of Africa inside the harmonic house that jazz built - all the while spinning stories portraying the beauty of human life on planet Earth. ... Ashley has a gift for writing songs that move you, that paint pictures and tell stories that get in deep ... a work of musical art ...”
Shawn Madden, Skope Music Magazine

“Hidden treasure...combines West African influences with her complex and jazzy vocals... subtle, interwoven rhythms of drums and percussion...rich, fascinating melodies...Maher proves once again that good music knows no "best before" date.”
--Ruud Heijjer, Heaven Magazine (a Dutch Music magazine)

“...a hugely talented Canadian singer-songwriter who has incorporated Afro-Caribbean influences seamlessly into her own neo-Joni Mitchell style. … marks the arrival of a major talent.”
--Musicweek, U.K.

“An intriguing front-runner in the current crop of heart-and-soul bearers...original and accomplished... Her fluent mixing of West African influences with jazz bass, fuzzy guitar, and introspection on this new collection remains novel …”
--David Troop, Arena Magazine, U.K.

“...delicate, sly ethnic inflections, largely acoustic in instrumentation and obviously thoughtful - the lyrics stay well away from sob stories...even the tribute to her father who died last year is resolutely upbeatl”
--The Independent, U.K.

“From out of nowhere - well, almost - Ashley Maher has emerged with one of those audacious, fully formed first albums whose very self- confidence and completeness is kind of hard not to admire. ...her songs are densely worded affairs that invariably rely on the rhythmic tug of The Dark Continent in a way that Joni Mitchell hinted at all those years ago around the time of 'The Hissing of Summer Lawns. ...rich, deeply textured...lush, ethnically induced...this is just the kind of gently persuasive noise that can get under the skin and stay there.”
--Peter Kane, Sounds Magazine, U.K.

“Her two albums on Virgin UK ... are amazing. All my worldly musician friends have been flipping over them. The songs and arrangements are extremely cool, with the top African musicians in London including Hilaire Penda/bass and Paco Sery/drums. Andre Manga (monster Cameroonian bass player ...) is producing her new album and Youssou N'Dour's guitar player was just in town and played on a few tracks. Andre plays live with her mostly, too ... Regardless, she has an excellent band and dancers. She's like a world music Joni Mitchell. Nice person too.”
--Gary Johnson, Conjunto Jardin

“Ashley has released the type of album that will prompt many to proclaim her as this year's winner in the annual singer-songwriter stakes. These bewitching tunes make for an exuberant, effortless debut...bound to cause a ripple like Chapman and Vega before her. One of the year's more pleasing discoveries.” *** 1/2
Nick Duerden, Record Mirror, U.K.

“...she exudes a real energy, a lust for taking a song as far as it can go...”
--NME (New Musical Express), U.K.

“... Maher treads strikingly new musical ground. Combining pop and jazz schemes with ... percussion, she weaves the layered rhythms into a rich unity. The African and South American musicians, often virtuosos, lift Maher's compositions to a high level. ... a jewel to her crown.”
--Ruud Heijjer, Heaven Magazine

“Quite simply, if you love music and life, you will love Ashley Maher! Just as rain nourishes the earth, Ashley nourishes the soul. With a thoughtful tapestry of vocals and world rhythms, the Blessed Rain is an afternoon shower that cleanses, uplifts and renews the spirit. I am new to this gem of an artist after the fortunate opportunity of a recent live performance. Immersed in Ashley's CDs for a couple of weeks now, I continue to feel very lucky on my discovery. I think you will find that she assimilates her life into art in a very personal, unique and endearing way.

On the Blessed Rain, Ashley celebrates melody and rhythm with her well layered vocals, reflective words and an implicit thankfulness that resounds. Ashley brings together some very inspirational players and - 25 QUOTES!


"Los Angeles Times"

"Imagine the soaring melodies of Joni Mitchell and the darkly lyrical twists and turns of Paul Simon, sung over a steaming cauldron of African rhythms. But, as intriguing as that may sound, it still doesn't quite do justice to the music of Ashley Maher, who manages to use those fertile sources as the stimulation for songs and performances that are uniquely her own."
- Don Heckman


"Online Folk Festival"

“Every once in awhile, I get a disk in the mail from someone that I've never heard of that reminds me why I do this. I received two disks in the mail from Los Angeles-based world/folk/pop singer/songwriter Ashley Maher.

Ashley Maher's most recent CD, Flying Over Bridges, combines singer/songwriter folk, African folk and pop, western pop, and jazz influences into an eclectic melange greater than the sum of its parts. The groove is insistent, whether it comes from a lone set of sabar drums, as on "Seven", or from a tight Afropop-influenced rhythm section featuring swirling guitar and walking bass on most of the other pieces. All of it is held together by Maher's smooth Joni-Mitchell-like voice and remarkable ability to craft and control complicated syncopated melodies. If you like astists that step out on the edge to fuse a variety of styles, such as Baka Beyond or Afro Celt Sound System, then I recommend checking out Ashley Maher.” - Greg Grant


"Folkscene Syndicated Radio"

"Ashley Maher should be a HUGE star!" - Roz Larman


"Global Rhythms Magazine"

“Maher ... has a small cult following, and "Flying Over Bridges" ... should help expand her fan base. Maher might be considered just another singer/songwriter, albeit a good one, if the arrangements weren't so sophisticated. ... Even the few songs that are lightweight are anchored by tasteful and sparse instrumentation that's always very rhythmic.” - Paul-Emile Comeau


"Palo Alto Daily News"

"Ashley Maher deserves widespread recognition for her remarkable new album. It will send your spirits soaring. Her voice not only works wonders with melodies, but also creates infectious percussive energies. Maher's beautiful blend of folk, jazz and world elements brings Joni Mitchell to mind. There is an involving, driving African sensibility to some of Maher's songs."
--Paul Freeman, Palo Alto Daily News - Paul Freeman


"Vogue Magazine - U.K."

“... a vibrant alternative to Peter Gabriel on the whole earth stereo ...The sound of her debut LP...isn't quite like anything else in this year's releases: it's all voices and drums; world music scaled down into simple melodies and undeniable hooks. Since Maher has done her homework, researching rhythms at the National Sound Archive and immersing herself in the fabric of African drum techniques, there's an authenticity about it which elevates the project above the usual colonial appropriation." - Richard Cook


"Time Out - U.K."

“Her tunes are almost indecently luxurious, the playing exquisite and the arrangements as full of subtlety as you could wish...hers is a golden world, in which words are garlands, voices are a glow and drums...well, you know what they say about the drums.” - Nick Coleman


"Q Magazine"

“Unusual and intricately wrought fusion of shimmering African and Caribbean rhythms...recalls Sade at her languourous smokey best... full of strange open plains echoes and twilight campfire charm.” - 4 stars - United Kingdom


"Vogue Magazine - U.K."

“... a vibrant alternative to Peter Gabriel on the whole earth stereo ...The sound of her debut LP...isn't quite like anything else in this year's releases: it's all voices and drums; world music scaled down into simple melodies and undeniable hooks. Since Maher has done her homework, researching rhythms at the National Sound Archive and immersing herself in the fabric of African drum techniques, there's an authenticity about it which elevates the project above the usual colonial appropriation." - Richard Cook


Discography

Amina - Spin Wild Records
Flying Over Bridges - Spin Wild Records
The Blessed Rain - Spin Wild Records
Pomegranate - Virgin UK
Hi - Virgin UK

On Dit Merci - (single) Spin Wild Records
Soon - (single) Spin Wild Records
Stumbling Block - (single) Virgin UK
Laughter in the Rain - (single) Virgin UK
So Many Times - (single) Virgin UK
Step by Step - (single) Virgin UK
Dreaming Re-Dreaming - (single) Virgin UK

--PRESENTER QUOTES:

"Imagine the soaring melodies of Joni Mitchell and the darkly lyrical twists and turns of Paul Simon, sung over a steaming cauldron of African rhythms. But, as intriguing as that may sound, it still doesn't quite do justice to the music of Ashley Maher, who manages to use those fertile sources as the stimulation for songs and performances that are uniquely her own."
--Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times

"Ashley Maher is one of the most amazing performers in Los Angeles. Her style reminds me of a mix between Joni Mitchell and an African Queen."
--Megan Jacobs, Conga Room

"Ashley Maher should be a HUGE star!"
--Roz Larman, Folkscene syndicated radio

"Your show ... with your entire band and dancers was breathtaking! ... The dancers were so colorful and exciting to watch, the musicianship is first class and your music is so uplifting. Attendance that night was record breaking. The audience here loves to participate, you kept them up and dancing the entire show! Thank you again for your professional and very entertaining performance!"
--Jan Stout, Levitt Pavilion

"I saw Ashley here in NYC, and I have to tell you that I was BLOWN AWAY! If she is not the next Joni Mitchell, then I don't know who is! She has a wonderfully relaxed and personable stage presence that make you feel really at home and invested. Her intro's are funny and warm and quirky - and then she opens her mouth to sing and that VOICE comes out! It's amazing! Her voice is simply beautiful. I walked away from that concert shaking my head wondering, why she isn't HUGE in the States?! This woman should be a STAR!"
--Judith Miller, ZAMO Arts, New York

"Inspiring performance. Captivating vocals. Enthralling melodies. Ashley Maher encompasses all these and much more when she takes the stage and makes it her own. ... we guarantee a stunning performance by Ashley, her talented dancers, and fabulous musicians."
--Louis Capone, Pershing Square Summer Concert Series

"How fantastic was that?!!! Your group's performance yesterday makes me kick myself that we hadn't had you all back sooner. The dancers ... are so skilled and really add so much to the performance. The way you interact with your group ... makes the whole experience feel so personal ... a hard act to follow."
--Illana Gatti, UCLA Fowler Museum

"...you had an impressive array of nationalities onstage. The audience particularly enjoyed your fantastic dancers. Their energy and color and intricate choreography rounded out the show wonderfully, giving a whole extra dimension to the music on its own."
--Michael McKinley, Sunset Junction Festival

"Having performed at venues such as Temple Bar, Backstage Coffee Gallery, The Conga Room, and many others local and abroad, Maher offers ... a very special performance. She's recorded four CDs with the best world musicians and her shows guarantee paralleled talent, plus dancing!! (not to be missed) If you've seen her perform around LA, you already know the mastery in her song writing, and the sweetness of her voice, and if you're looking for a moving musical experience, you'll want to discover Ashley Maher!"
--Molly White, Club Tropical

Photos

Bio

ASHLEY MAHER** is an original — a singer-composer-bandleader who lives in the industrial West yet is truly at home with African and other world music traditions. Her highly individual and infectious brand of world/mbalax/folk/jazz has gained her an international following, five acclaimed albums, and performances with many major African icons. She has performed internationally for over two decades.
(**"Maher" rhymes with "star.")

Since 2008, when Youssou N’Dour flew Ashley to Senegal to rehearse and perform as a sabar dancer for his shows in Dakar and Paris, Ashley has single-mindedly focused on building a musical bridge with Senegalese mbalax. Her fifth 2010 release, AMINA, produced by Cameroon’s Andre Manga, features five key members of N’Dour’s “Les Super Etoiles,” alongside LA’s finest world musicians. Since 2008, Ashley has traveled to Senegal over ten times, developing a world-class live show with Dakar’s top mbalax musicians and dancers, releasing two singles from AMINA, recording two new singles, filming four videos, and cementing her standing as a unique “Ambassadrice” for Senegalese mbalax in the global marketplace.

BIOGRAPHY: Born to British parents in Canada and raised in California, Ashley grew up singing and even studied opera in Italy, before falling in love with West African music at UC Berkeley. After studying with Ghanaian master drummer C.K. Ladzekpo for two years, Ashley graduated and moved to London. Ashley performed with an Afro-jazz band for two years before recording demos weaving her intricate vocals with traditional Ghanaian drumming. The demos led to a recording contract and Virgin UK’s first two Ashley Maher releases, Hi and Pomegranate, established Ashley in the music press as “One to Watch.”

Since then, Ashley has recorded CD 3 (The Blessed Rain) in London / Paris, CD 4 (Flying Over Bridges) in L.A., CD 5 in Dakar / Los Angeles, performed internationally, opened for world music artists BAABA MAAL, SALIF KEITA, ORCHESTRA BAOBAB, ZAP MAMA, VUSI MAHLASELA, DOBET GNAHORE, CARLOU D, and YORO NDIAYE, and sang as a backing vocalist on records by YOUSSOU N'DOUR, THE AFRO-CELT SOUNDSYSTEM, YORO NDIAYE, CHEIKH NDOYE, ANDRE MANGA, and ZALE SECK.

--For full BIOGRAPHY, see Ashley's website (link below).
--For VIDEOS, search "Ashley Maher" at www.YouTube.com
--Ashley's FACEBOOK page: http://www.facebook.com/AshleyMaherFanPage?ref=ts
--Ashley's MYSPACE page: www.myspace.com/ashleymaher