When you first see her with her sleek bob and glossy fingernails, it’s kind of surprising to learn that Gabriela Martina was raised on a farm. But it’s memories of her rural upbringing that power some of her music.
Over a decade ago, she left her home in the Lucerne countryside to study jazz in the United States. Today, the vocalist and composer lives in Boston and teaches at her alma mater, the Berklee College of Music.
Martina tries to mix her Swiss yodelling roots with jazz, soul, RnB, gospel and blues. Her latest album, Homage to Grämlis, tells stories about the farm where she grew up with her parents, grandmother, two sisters and a brother. Many of the songs are about how they tended animals and the land. It’s bittersweet as the family recently had to give up the farm.
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