Women Of The Calabash is Madeleine Yayodele Nelson – founder and artistic director, composer, arranger, vocalist, percussionist, teacher, and instrument maker; Marsha Perry Starkes — vocalist, percussionist, and teacher; and Mayra Casales — vocalist and percussionist Together, this trio gives birth to new music idioms, resulting from the assimilation of their cultural heritage and contemporary life as African-American women in the United States. Over the years, Women Of The Calabash have shared the stage with many great performers, including Phillip Glass, Ashford & Simpson, The Temptations, and Max Roach. Cited as “Musicians Extraordinaire” by the National Council for Culture and Art, Women Of The Calabash received the Council’s prestigious Monarch Merit Award in 1987. HBO featured Women Of The Calabash in a Black History Month profile in 1997. And their 16-minute video, Women Of The Calabash, was awarded a blue ribbon for Best Music Video of 1988 by the American Film Festival. In addition, they’ve won a CINE 1994 Golden Eagle Award for composer and performer in the film, The Visit. Ms. Yayodele was also a featured percussionist on Paul Simon’s multi-platinum Rhythm of the Saints album.
Madeline Yayodele Nelson—Women Of The Calabash