Farrah Boulé
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Farrah Boulé

New York, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

New York, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band World Experimental

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
29
Farrah Boulé @ Farafina Café & Lounge Harlem

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Sep
22
Farrah Boulé @ Farafina Café & Lounge Harlem

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Sep
15
Farrah Boulé @ Farafina Café & Lounge Harlem

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Music

Press


Photographed by Daniela Federici, this cover of Passion Issue of Spirit And Flesh magazine features irresistible and captivating actress, philanthropist and designer ELIZABETH HURLEY. The issue also features profiles and interviews with Iman, Renée Fleming, Zac Posen, Donna Karan, Amy Fine Collins, Linda Fargo, Farrah Boulé, Norisol Ferrari, Marcus Samuelsson and Cara Seymour to name a few, as well as fashion and beauty editorials by Ruven Afanador, Daniela Federici, Torkil Gudnason‬, and others. Edited by Freddie Leiba and Andrew Basile, Passion issue explores the drive behind creativity and success. - Daniela Federici


Eline magazine is proud to present to you an exceptional woman who was willing to open her heart and share her story with Eline magazine. She believed in what she was going to be in life, now she's living her dream and she's not leaving her roots behind.


Farrah tell us about your root, where are you from and your childhood?

I was born and raised in little Haiti Miami, Florida and am of both Cuban and Haitian descent. I was raised by my mom who was a huge music lover and listened mostly to Latin and Haitian Bands. When I was five years old she took me to see Julio Iglesia at the Orange Bowl. It was love at first sight I knew from that moment I wanted to be a performer. Growing up as the only child I had a pretty vivid imagination and still do to this day. I would gather all my dolls, skates, pots, pans and prop them up on the front steps of my house and pretend it was a stadium filled with adoring fans. I would use a palm tree branch as a mic and perform for hours. I just knew I was going to make it one day.

Why hip hop and not jazz or other style?

Jazz is definitely incorporated in my sound I call it bossa noir. It's a combination of bossa nova & hip hop that produces a dark tropic sound with clave's, percussion, acoustic guitar and bass. When I moved to New York in the 90's and heard the rap group Digable Planets that's when everything started to take shape for me, it was the combination of jazz & the boom bap that lured me in and ultimately falling in love with hip hop.

What makes you different from other hip hop female artists?
I'm different overall in a sense that I'm not the same person I was yesterday. I love to learn and implement what I learn right away. what ever you learn either changes your perception enhances it or will replace it with a new one, therefore it's impossible to be the same person when your are constantly growing and evolving. I respect all Artists male or female. We all serve a purpose and our differences are what makes us unique.

How do you combine your song ( hip hop) with your Afro-Cuban and Haitian heritage?

As much as I love Hip Hop I never quite fit in, it didn't allow room for growth the box was small and at times suffocating. I had so much more to offer but it intersected with other genres, so at the round table meetings at record labels there was always one question left unanswered how do we market this? I refuse to settle and dumb down my music it would defeat the purpose of my journey. I had to go back to the drawing board several times and in 2013 I decided to release a tribute to Hip Hop called "New York State of Mind" over Nas classic track. It was a homage to Hip Hop where I'm portraying seven different characters all representing the different dimensions of Hip Hop. After the release I bid farewell and off I wen't to discover my true sound. I landed a two month residency at Farafina and launched a weekly series called Experimental Box alongside my trio The Three Kings featuring Andre Cleghorn (Bass), James Preston & Kwami Coleman (keys) and Eric Brown (Drums). We played vintage films on a projection screen during the set curated by my partner actor/film buff Nasser Metcalfe. It was there were I found my sound and on March 11, 2016 I coined my new genre called Tribal Hop. It's a World Avant- Garde approach to Hip Hop that's abstract, organic, spiritually rich that honors my Afro-Cuban & Haitian roots. It's a home where other tribes can co-exist and people from all walks of life can create and celebrate their diversity.


What's spirituality means to you?
Spirituality to me means being present. The universe sends us miracles everyday but you have to be present to truly receive them or you will miss it completely. By being present the universe will reveal what to do and what not to do. Long story short everything is in the present because that's the only thing that exists. The present is the present.

Where your inspirations come from?
My inspirations come from all over I am a sponge I can be inspired by a Tibetan poet typing out free poetry on subway platform (true story) a walk through a gallery or museum. A cool fun filled night in the city listening to dj's spin. An incredible dinner or a midnight stroll down convent smoking a cigar. My inspiration comes when life is happening all I have to do is look up it's everywhere.


Are you married? do you have any kids?
I'm not married yet and I have kids all over the world that I have yet to meet. They need my help and my love. Hold tight I'm coming.

How is life for a singer in the heart of Harlem?
There is absolutely no place like Harlem it is indeed the birthplace of my Artistry. It was Harlem that opened up my ears musically, it was Harlem that loved me back and believed in me. When I was awarded the Maya Angelou Harlem Renaissance award (Founded by Alain Enoch and owner of Chéri) it meant so much and resonated deeply to be chosen by group of your peers who genuinely want to see you win is truly something special. I've collaborated and worked alongside some of Harlem's most influential people such as Marcus Samuelsson, Musa Jackson, Freddie Lieba, Epperson, Marsha Bonner the list goes on and on.


Who is your role model?
My role models would include Sade for her grace and simplicity, you can feel the love and strength in her music. She is my breath of fresh air. Phylicia Rashad the mother of all mothers who perfected the art of being a women balancing the yin and yang effortlessly. Who is by far one of the most talented actress of our time. Last but not least my mother for showing me how to be a "G" smoke my cigars, speak my mind and fear no one.


Tell us about your up coming projects?
My upcoming projects include growing and nurturing Tribal Hop, releasing a new LP, collaborating with global artists, touring all over the world and staying present for it all. - Eline Fleury


Farrah Burns the Harlem Chanteuse is giving a true meaning to the New Harlem Renaissance. She resurrects the art of storytelling, with an organic backdrop infused with Bossa Nova, Jazz and Hip-Hop. Her 1st Album Oval Metal (Available on iTunes) landed her the Underground Music Awards for Best Female Artist. Ebony Magazine writes “Farrah Burns has the best lips in hip hop. Her sexy pout merits it’s own paragraph, but what spills from those lips is even more deserving”.

She was the voice of Courvosier liquor and The Mistress of Ceremony hosting live performances all throughout the city introducing Grammy Award winning musicians from all over the world such as Lenny Kravitz, Jeff Tain Watts, Vernon Reid, Kristian Scott, Simphiwe Dana and countless more. Headlining with her full band Lava Bamboo and sharing stages with her musical counterparts such as Robert Glasper, Mos Def, Black Thought, Amel Larrieux, Bilal, Talib Kweli, etc. She is a Artist, Confessor, Visionary and Director who’s carving her place in musical history. -


“I speak fluent hip-hop” says Farrah Burns. And she does, with confidence, style and passion. Born and raised in Miami, her roots in Haiti and Cuba, Farrah started rapping and writing when she was a teenager. She always knew that she wanted to live in NYC. “I would look at the map, point at New York City’, – she reminiscent during her show, – and tell myself that that’s where I want to live. Right in the Big Apple”. Currently based in Harlem, Farrah Burns is an up-and-coming artist on the scene, making a name for herself. She had already opened for Talib Kweli, Lenny Kravitz, Jeff Tain Watts and ”ATribe Called Quest“ as well as performed in some of the top venues in the NYC.

April 1st. Farrah Burns plays a small unplugged show at Park 112 in Harlem with her band featuring Jonathan Gill on drums, Courtnee Roze on percussions, Kenji Tokunaga on bass, James Spears on keys as well as back up singers Ki Ki Hawkins and Darius Booker. She has a mesmerizing presence, regardless of whether you keep your eyes wide open or shut during her performance. She sure is stunningly beautiful and charming, but her voice and what she does with it is what really gets you.

Farah’s music weaves elements of jazz, funk, and rock with hip-hop, blending the genres to create the sound that’s unique and captivating. The place was packed and by the end of the night a horn section joined the band for the last few tunes, bringing the level of energy to a totally different level. - Anna Yatskevich


I want to share a video with you, but I want to explain some things first.

I am not a fan of rap, hip hop, or whatever it is called. The truth is that I make Weird Al Yankovic's "White & Nerdy" look like a serious gangsta thug. I mean, my gang bangin' takes place in boardrooms, and my 'hood comes with lake memberships ... not gang initiations. However, I liked this video!

So how can I explain the video I am going to show you, and why I cared to share it? It is because I am a daddy. My family is the most important thing in my life. Being a good father to my three amazing children gives me more joy than anything I've ever done (and I've done a lot). - Murnahan's Blog of Miscellany


Want to know who’s the next leading lady in hip-hop? Look no further, her name is Farrah Burns. This Haitian beauty moved to Brooklyn, New York at the age of twelve when the hip-hop industry was flooded with diversity. She began her performance career headlining in New York City hot spots like Joe’s Pub, SOB’s, Knitting Factory, APOLLO, South Paw, Galapagos, Canal Room, Webster Hall, Lyricist Lounge and Philadelphia’s own Mecca for soul performances Black Lily. Farrah’s indeed blessed with one of greatest hip-hop voices around. Resonant and confidant, her smooth and sexy flow embraces you. While her live performance sleeves you with one question, where can I get her CD? - POSTED BY PEET CALIBER


On June 27th Farrah Boulé Burns kicked off Harlem Arts Festival, a two day long celebration full of music and art in Marcus Garvey Park, featuring Harlem based artists. Despite the rainy weather, the band took the stage to cheers and proceeded with authority and contagious endless energy. Farrah is masterful and captivating storyteller and her charisma spilled all over the stage and kept the audience captivated.

Farrah Boulé Burns brought together a twelve-piece band to showcase her newest project, Boulé music. The band was a mix of musicians with whom Farrah plays regularly as well as some that are completely new to what she does: Kwami Coleman – keys, Henoc – bass, Courtnee Roze – percussions, Marcus Machado – lead guitar, JS Williams – trumpet, Satish Robertson- trumpet and two background vocalists Darius Booker and Augi. The cast also included two members from the legendary group Tabou Combo, Jonas (Jpeg) on drums and Ron Felix on bass. The set was primarily composed of original tunes and they also did an amazing cover of “NY State of Mind”, which set the audience on fire. The turnout for the show was great despite the escalating rain.

After the show we chatted with Farrah about music, inspiration, art and fashion among other things.

Flowers In A Gun: When did you realize that music is what you want to do with your life?

Farrah Boulé Burns: When I was a little girl I would stand on top of pots and pans, anything that I could get propped up on the steps of the front porch of my house, and sing. I would snap a palm tree and I would go into town, singing out there. The neighbors used to lean over the fence and tell my mom when she came home that I was singing for six hours down here … But to be honest the first thing I wanted to be was figure skater, I had a fascination with New York and ice even though I have never seen ice before, or touched it. My mom laid out concrete in the backyard so I could skate.

FIG: Was your family musical?

FBB: No, my family was very political. I did grow up listening to Big Bands. Like Tabou Combo, the two members of which played with me today. This is so huge! It is the biggest band to ever come out from Haiti. And I had two of the members of the band play bass and drums with me. But yeah, I grew up on big sound. And Sade, Anita Baker, Bobby McFerrin.

FIG: Who was the biggest influence?

FBB: Sade.

FIG: What is it about her?

FBB: I read her interviews and learnt a lot from her. But I have been captivated by her ever since I was a little girl. She was a role model for me on how to conduct myself as a woman. Sometimes when you walk into the room people don’t have to hear you. You can just be you and exude this power and strength.

FIG: What’s the most exciting and the most challenging thing about being a musician in NYC?

FBB: The most exciting thing is being able to touch so many different people that are from different cultures and them being able to zone right back to you and know exactly what you are talking about. The other thing is that when you are an artist, you are very sensitive, that’s what makes you an artist, and its great. But the other side of it is that you keep think “I hope it’s good, … I hope it sounds ok” … And I am working on getting past it, and just doing my thing.

FIG: How do you choose the musicians you play with? What qualities are important to you?

FB: I think that for me it’s the spirit, their energy. I go to open mikes, to jam sessions, I go to shows and I watch. I see how engaging they are and where they are going with their music – mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And it doesn’t have to be a big name. Sometimes you are walking down the street and hear a percussionist, or you are on the subway waiting for your train to come and you hear this phenomenal pianist. Or perhaps you hear the saxophone coming out from alley. I stop. And I get numbers.

FIG: What about the band you played with today. Is it new or its an old configuration?

FBB: It’s half new, half not. Anu Sun was my music director for this event. I’ve known him since 2002 playing with Robert Glasper, Bilal, etc. So he brought that soul element, that vibe. All the other musicians I have either played with before, or some of them I just met. So for Ronald and Jonas, the two members from Tabou Combo, it was my first time and it was amazing

FIG: You say that you “speak fluent hio-hop,” what do you mean by that?

FBB: So I created this company called “I speak fluent hip-hop” because I was laying in bed one day and was think about how many languages I speak and it just came to me that one that I definitely speak is fluent hip-hop. So I tweeted it and it went viral. So I thought that I got something in there (I did delete the tweet). I went and took money out of my savings and trade marked it, put some T-Shirts together. I majored in Anthropology, I always had a fascination with trying to understand what we are doing here, where did we come from. And I incorporated what I’ve learnt into my music – without language, culture dies. So, if we continue to speak fluent hip-hop, then the culture will live on. But once we stop, it dies.

FIG: And what do you want to say? What message would like to get across through your music.

FBB: I want to say that it is OK. So many people are going through things. We do the things we love because of our background, it sustains us. And my message to the world is that no matter what you going through, no matter why it is that you do what you do, it’s OK. Just come out and do it. Don’t be afraid.

FIG: What inspires you?

FBB: Love. I just want to love. To be loved and give love. That’s why a lot of people do what they do. They say fame, but fame is admiration and love. They say money, that money can be used to get the attention and be flashy but that all goes back down to love and the desire to be loved. At the end of the day it all boils down to love..

FIG: You always look stunning when you perform, your sense of of fashion is admirable. Do you style everything yourself or do you work with someone?

FB: Thank you. I have two stylists that I used to work with, but both got disappointed with me because I would never stick to one style. I just can’t do it. So, I style myself now. And I like being creative with it and trust my instincts. If I feel like wearing a metal bra with beads underneath it, then that’s what I’ll do. You want to own it, to make it your own. And that’s how I feel about my music.

FIG: What is Boule music? What is the new project?

FBB: Boule music is a fusion of Afro-Caribbean folk music, creole style of hip-hop, which is narrative story telling. Today is the first time I am introducing the music and it’s just going to grow. It’s just a small piece compared to what I am hearing in my head, I mean it’s a 12 piece band but I envision something bigger. So we’ll see.

FIG: What advice would you give to a young musician?

FBB: Follow your heart. Not your mind. Your heart gets the message first, it starts beating faster, you get that feeling. Then your heart sends the message to your brain, which goes through the Rolodex, your past history. And sometimes it will tell you to no do it, because you had a bad experience in the past. But don’t be afraid, follow your heart. - Anna Yatskevich



Frequent listeners of THEZROHOUR podcast and readers of the blog know that I always feature the best female emcees on the scene. Haitian born Farrah Burns got next. She began her performance career headlining in New York City hot spots like Joes Pub, SOB's, Knitting Factory, APOLLO, South Paw, Galapagos, Canal Room, Webster Hall, Lyricist Lounge and Philadelphia's own Mecca for soul performances Black Lily. - THEZROHOUR


Comment by D-Genius on June 16, 2011 at 6:00pm
Yes indeed Queen i'm with you !00. I use to use the term "Fair Skin" til my man broke down the definition of fair to me in the dictionary Fair: pleasing to the eye; handsome; beautiful, beautiful or lovely to look at. 5. moderately or quite good: a fair piece of work ... When I read that I stopped using fair because i'm as dark as the midnight sky and have always considered my self good looking. I love all sistas equally on that I'm Color blind. I'm with you on all that surgery and ish I like my women the way the creator mad them real LMAO. Hey luv no matter what your complexion you Fly to DGenius.... - www.thisis50.com


Name: Farrah Burns
Age: My goal is to break the gender code & age requirement. So if viewers really want to know they can dig it up. I find that people want your age to gain your level experience or genius. If I'm younger that means I'm super talented if I'm older that means I'm experienced. It's just another way people use to box you in.
Where you're from: I was originally born in (little Haiti) Miami but my parents are Haitian.
One word that describes you: "Light" Because I'm always learning implementing and sharing. I'm easy going, light hearted and try to reflect what's good.
BTF: Tell us a little bit about yourself
FB: I'm actually very shy off stage and it takes me a minute to warm up but once I get familiar, forget it we won't stop laughing! I'm always learning something new. Right now I'm heavy into Metaphysics. I've always been curious about how the world works and its pretty intriguing stuff. What else, I'm a girly girl to the 5th power. People meet me and always think I'm a singer, never a rapper so when I step on stage and say 1-2 1-2 they’re done. I do everything the average girl does from having brunch with friends hitting the boutiques or chilling at a lounge. That's not to say I don't know how to cook you know us Haitian girls can throw down in the kitchen!
BTF: Did you always know that you wanted to be in the music industry?
FB: I always knew I had a gift and that my voice would be used as an instrument one way or another. I have a very vivid imagination, I create characters, I play and build things I never lost that from childhood. I knew I would some how change the world but I just wasn't sure how. I remember in grammar school I recited a speech that I wrote personally for our community group leaders and they were blown away. They asked to meet my parents and invited me to sit on a panel representing the schools in my district. That stage felt good and I haven’t been able to part with it since.
BTF: Is it difficult being a woman in the predominantly male Hip-Hop scene?
FB: Being a woman in this period & time has it's disadvantages. You have media portraying us one way while our mind, body & soul are operating differently. That's why I don't watch tv; it leaves you feeling fat, undesirable, broke and a total loser; it's design that way (only to turn around and sell you pills for depression. It's a cause and affect). It transcends over to your career where you physically have to be appealing before they can even listen to your message. I just stay true to what I know and represent it well
BTF: How have your family members reacted to this unconventional career path?
FB: My family? That would be you guys the listeners the supporters. I go hard because of my natural love for humanity, and so far the response has been wonderful. I have this song called "Patience" where I'm talking about not needing Fans but needing Fam. The word fan in of itself is offensive. It's short for fanatic. I don't think the people who are supporting me, spending their hard earn money on tickets & albums should be labeled fans, they are my family.
BTF: How do you think that music and the arts can help young people in Haiti?
FB: We naturally come from a culturally rich country. Music, art & food runs in our blood. I want to one day open a performing arts center where our kids can learn about Theatre, Music and Art. Once these programs are in place, I’d sit back and watch a generation blossom.
BTF: Last but not least, what makes you a BelTiFi?
FB: I'm a BelTiFi because I love being a woman. We posses a power like no other. We also have the ability to change what's going on in our community. I'm a BelTiFi simply because I'm rising to the occasion.
- BelTiFi


I have a confession: I’m late to the Farrah Burns party. And I’m kicking myself about it. Over the past few days, I’ve been doing my best to find out as much as possible about the award-winning female MC repping Harlem and Haiti by way of Miami who’s been rocking stages all over New York City for more than four years.

It was last night when the video for Farrah’s latest single, “Shot Gun Wedding,” hit my inbox, and I was hooked from the downbeat. What followed was four minutes of raw, unencumbered truth about her struggles with her father growing up. No flossing. No blinging. No multiple personalities. No taunting of others.

Just honesty. From a rapper. Go figure.

And that’s what I’m trying to do now: figure out where I’ve been all of her career. Burns is a throwback of sorts, someone in the Hip Hop game for all the right reasons–for the love of the genre. Her rhymes take you back to a time when it was all about the content. About when rhyming about life experiences, what you’d been through instead of what you want to go through.

I especially love how she embraces older music, including samples from artists like Nina Simone, channeling their energy into her songs. - Dawson's Ink


On Tuesday, September 20th, The Breeding Ground officially launched their site where these performances will live.

To celebrate the occasion, they gave us the green light to premiere one of their performances. This performance stars the stunning Farrah Boulé, a vicious MC and the Founder of Tribal Hop Musical Ecosystem of Healing Arts, a global initiative aimed to inspire balance between Mother Nature and Humanity.

In the video she performs a riveting redemption of her song “Bonzai.”

Check out the performance below. And check out The Breeding Ground’s site. They are definitely doing some cool things. - DIMAS SANFIORENZO


Discography

LP - Oval Metal (2008) Available on iTunes, CD Baby, & Amazon

Single - Shoot Gun Wedding (2011) Available on iTunes, CD Baby, & Amazon

Photos

Bio

Farrah Boulé is a multiple award winning artist, Conversationalist and Environmentalist. Who is creatively introducing transformative music to the 21st century using ancient oral traditions, live instrumentation and new age narration to unearth the truth behind nature’s frequencies. When performing Farrah Boulé conjures up new worlds by engaging in her own artful explosion, creative fantasy and spirited musical revolution, mesmerizing those fortunate enough to see her fill the stage with a flawless expression of the human condition. Often compared to Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone and Sade for her elegant, exotic look, distinctive voice and spellbinding performance. Her passion enchants her audience one provocative riff after the other with a sophisticated blend of world music, abstract jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms to create a global musical masterpiece.

 

She is the Founder of Tribal Hop Musical Ecosystem of Healing Arts, a global initiative aimed to inspire balance between Mother Nature and Humanity. Her creative work takes a wide variety of forms from composing, directing and producing. She is a recipient of the Maya Angelou Harlem Renaissance Academy Award for her creative musical contributions. Her first album "Oval Metal" garnered her the Underground Music Award for Best Female Artist. Her uniqueness spreads across all realms, including academia, having been personally invited to perform at prestigious institutions such as New York University. Farrah Boulé had the great pleasure of headlining at the legendary Apollo Music Cafe for the launching of their "Breaking Convention" 2017- 2018 season.


Her musical influences would include Sade, Anita Baker, Bob Marley, Bobby Mc Ferrin, Luciano Pavarotti, Fela Kuti, Grace Jones and many more iconic world music legends. Farrah Boulé has shared the stage with notable international Artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Robert Glasper, Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, Bilal, Amel Larrieux, Jeff Tain Watts and Mos Def, just to name a few. Headlining with her band at renown venues, jazz shrines, festivals, corporate and private events nationally and abroad. Farrah Boulé is difficult to categorize and impossible to forget. Her purpose is to create an expression which incites the human spirit toward greater wholeness and transformation.


Band Members