Hollar Down To Your Girl

Raya Yarbrough

Artifacts of Grace gave Yarbrough a long-desired opportunity to step away from her musical roots in pop and jazz, and write for a classical string quintet. Strings appealed to her because of their inherent ability to create harmonically lush, intricate tones, as well as abrasive, percussive colors. Through Yarbrough’s unique musical arranging sensibilities, her ensemble (Paul Cartwright, Sharon Jackson, Zach Dellinger, Adrienne Woods, and Ian Walker) is alternately staccato, swinging, languid and emotional. Far from being a sound bed, Yarbrough’s strings are an essential, narrative voice, interwoven with the emotions she felt in Douglas’ visual work.

Raya Yarbrough may be recognized most notably as the evocative solo vocal in the opening credits of the long-running hit TV series Outlander, but her own original music has a life all its own.Her latest album, Artifacts of Grace (due for release on July 10, 2020) is a bold step in a new direction – musically and collaboratively. This record is based on a similarly named series of paintings and sculptures by artist Pam Douglas.

Focusing on women today, Douglas’ series is designed to explore the way female-bodied experiences intersect with larger issues of justice and equality.Previously, in 2018, Yarbrough released North of Sunset West of Vine, (featuring Tony Austin on drums and the Calder Quartet) an album based on her original musical of the same name. Yarbrough made her international debut on Telarc (Concord) with her 2008 self-titled album, Raya Yarbrough, produced by Oingo Boingo alum, Steve Bartek.

She has recently collaborated with pianist Billy Childs and acclaimed songwriter / producer Van Dyke Parks.Featured in a 1997 documentary about the Los Angeles Music Center’s “Spotlight Awards” program, Raya was profiled alongside Misty Copeland, and other exceptional young artists.

While attending the USC Thornton School of Music, Yarbrough was awarded the Quincy Jones Scholarship, and began her years-long collaboration with composer, Bear McCreary, singing on many of his first independent films and television shows, leading to Battlestar Galactica, among many others.

Over the last decade, Yarbrough has had countless performances, including national tour dates with Portugal. The Man, opening for Terence Blanchard at The Jazz Standard in New York City, at the Playboy Jazz Festival, at the famed REDCAT Theater at the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex, The Auditorio de Tenerife in Spain, and singing at The Hollywood Bowl, under the direction of maestro Gustavo Dudamel.