Music artist talent can be found in every city across every continent around the world, but this review targets a producer close to home. Originally from Detroit, but currently residing in the windy currents of Chicago, meet JoVia.
JoVia is a talented soul, possessing a humble character and true finesse. The name “JoVia” could very well be a derivative of the word “Jovial”, which means cheerful and friendly. Call it a coincidence if you desire, but cheerful and friendly are great starter points when describing the elegance of JoVia production.
JoVia shines in multiple roles including performance, songwriting, production, a multi-percussionist and an instructor. Now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s talk about a few tracks produced by JoVia.
Undiscovered D’s is a track that was written for JoVia’s world/Jazz group known as “Musique Noire.” This track is considered to be jazz, but a better genre, may be “World Jazz Soul.” Undiscovered D’s is a very soulful track using awesome combination of instruments: Violin, Viola, Bass, Guitar, Percussion, and Cajon.
Upon first listen, the track took me through a swell of emotions and from then on, it was powerful. The production is flawless. Considering there are 6 musicians and 6 instruments playing what I would call a complex structure, it’s amazing. Although I don’t know the exact meaning behind this song, I will share my visual interpretation with you… imagine a man waking up in a country where the lands basic natural resources have been depleted and in order for him to provide for himself and his community, he must travel to another land. Along the journey, he starts off strong, but begins to weary and lose confidence that he can make it. He meets a man and a woman on his journey and although they are traveling for other reasons, he finds value in his mission. Once again he understands that what he must “discover” is far above the natural resources he must return to this village. He discovers that through faith, endurance and confidence in the drive that God has given him, he can make it.
The melody of this track can mean many things, but one things is certain, it was beautifully written and definitely one of my favorites. Written by JoVia. Violin- Michelle May, Viola- Leslie DeShazor, Bass- Pathe Jassi, Guitar- Rydell Smith, Percussion- JoVia Armstrong, Cajon- Mark Sawasky.
Bizarre featuring Allegra Delores is definitely not bizarre. In a minimalistic approach it’s a warm, melodic track with smooth vocals and fresh instrumentation. The song talks about being different and I’m sure we can all relate. As with other tracks by Jovia, This song kept my attention for quite awhile, I must have played it at least 20 times. JoVia’s production on this track has raised the bar and it seems to keep going up. It only proves that Jovia has a keen ear for sound and she is working her gift.
This track shines in a very bright light and I truly believe this is the type of song and production that will cross all racial and nationality boundaries. Many of us are taught to be who we are and not to try and be someone else. Bizarre captures the essence of “individuality within creation”.
This track was recorded in protools and amongst the drums, guitar, Fender Rhodes and beautiful voices; I find lyrics that are well written possessing substance. Read a few excerpts that caught my attention:
…If I had too, I could be you, but I want to… just be me
…give a blessing, keep a blessing, lose a blessing, use a blessing, keep stress levels on the low, cash flow rules everything and every anybody, when you got the money, money dollar bill yawl
…let’s not complex or perplex the simple pettiness, what you see is what you get
…this is beauty, don’t forget the real me with all the flaws and finesse, I know I ain’t perfect, but tell me who is.
This track is another one of my favorites and can also be found as track 8, on the “Fuzzy Blue Robe Chronicles”
Produced by JoVia
Mixed by JoVia
Lead Vocals- Allegra (Kimeco Roberson)
Back Ground Vocals- Dolores (Asia Roberson)
I could say much more, but I will let you take a moment to read a little more about JoVia here:
From Detroit, MI hails percussionist, songwriter, and 2011 3Arts Teaching Artist Awardee JoVia Ljiljana Armstrong. JoVia began studying percussion as a high school freshman. She enrolled at Michigan State University as a percussion performance major where she continued to perform and study orchestral percussion (including 4- mallet marimba/vibraphone). As a sophomore she began to study African Cuban percussion and drum set with performer and educator Francisco Mora-Catlett. She also studied and performed with various on-campus ensembles such as African drumming & dance, Latin Jazz, and also Korean drumming. After 3 years she transferred to Columbia College in Chicago where she soon met flautist Nicole Mitchell and became a member of Mithcell’s Black Earth Ensemble.
After earning a B.A. in Music Business at Columbia College Chicago, she quickly relocated back to Motown in 2002. Since her move back to Motown, she has performed with various artists such as El DeBarge, Martha Reeves, Omar, Joe VasConcellos, RES, Alison Crockett, Angela Johnson, Maysa, Rahsaan Patterson, Eric Robeson, Gordon Chambers, Conya Doss, Althea Rene, Nadir, Wendell Harrison, and BSTC. She played Cajon (box drum) for the “Tour of the Americas 2004”. The group performed original and traditional songs of Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Argentina. She has also performed with various artists opening shows for such acts as Warren Hill, Kindred the Family Soul, Thomas Mapfumo, Gerald Albright and The Bad Plus. She has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Amp Fiddler, Trey Anastacio and Michael Franti & Spearhead.
Currently, JoVia lives in Chicago and is composing songs for her World Jazz group, Musique Noire. The group was nominated for two Detroit Music Awards in 2009, 2010, and 2011 for Outstanding Jazz Recording (“Good Hair”) & Outstanding World/ Reggae Group. JoVia received an individual nomination for Outstanding World/ Reggae Instrumentalist. She is a regular lesson contributor for TomTom Magazine and has released several lesson videos on YouTube. Her debut album consisting of jazzy electronic grooves, “Fuzzy Blue Robe Chronicles,” was released in 2009.
Management & Booking Inquiries: Ira Watson, email@example.com
JoVia is available for music production, composing, performance, and teaching residencies.