By David R. Cohen | firstname.lastname@example.org
New York-based, Israeli-born jazz guitarist Dida Pelled has performed everywhere from Italy to Slovakia to San Francisco, but she has never played south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
That will change May 23 on the International Stage at the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The guitar virtuoso will perform her blend of jazz, blues and country from her latest album, “Modern Love Songs,” due out May 19.
The singer-songwriter, who performs under her first name, talked with the Atlanta Jewish Times about her music, influences and upcoming trip to the South.
AJT: Are you excited about your first Atlanta visit?
Dida: Very much. I just came back from Israel to New York … and I’m very excited to come. I’m going to have to study a little bit before I leave here.
AJT: You have a unique style. Who are some of your musical influences?
Dida: I like Blossom Dearie, if you know her. She was a singer and great piano player. Also classic artists like Billie Holliday, Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra. A few more contemporary singers that I really like are Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, people that sing and tell stories.
AJT: How did you come up with your unique take on the storytelling songwriting style?
Dida: I like great storytellers, so when I sing, I like to tell the story as if I’m telling it to someone right now. That’s how I can sing the song many times and it always feels like the first time.
AJT: What do the next five years hold for you and your music?
Dida: I’m releasing an album a few days before the festival on May 19, and I’d like to do a lot more albums and more shows. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing because that’s the way you discover more about yourself and get better.
AJT: Tell me more about your new album, “Modern Love Songs.”
Dida: This album is songs that I’ve gathered in the few years I’ve been in New York since I was a student at the New School. During the last few years I played a lot of shows in New York with my bass player, Tal Ronen. We wrote some songs together, and there’s also a few standards on the album. I just chose the songs that I like the most. I also already have three music videos up on YouTube with songs from the album (youtube.com/didapelledmusic).
AJT: Anything to say to people in Atlanta who are thinking about going to see you play?
Dida: I would love to see them at the show and to give them CDs and make them happy.
What: Atlanta Jazz Festival
Where: International Stage, Piedmont Park
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23