Aspiring phenom Robin-Maria joined guitar virtuoso Wain McFarlane & Jahz to grace the Nov. 19 Insight /KMOJ Public Policy Forum with down-home gospel sounds. Aspiring phenom Robin-Maria joined guitar virtuoso Wain McFarlane & Jahz to grace the Nov. 19 Insight /KMOJ Public Policy Forum with down-home gospel sounds.
Wain and his band of airtight music makers opened with an extended jam on the Bill Withers’ classic, “Ain’t No Sunshine”. The freewheeling arrangement fused rhythm-and-blues to jazz, spicing things up with a little bit of Salsa. The regular rhythm section of Greg McFarlane (drums) and Sirge Akou (bass), along with frequent guest Bruce Jackson (keyboards), were in exceptionally fine form. Frontman par excellence, Wain McFarlane was just be one of the boys on this number. Aside from doing the vocal, he shared the musical chores evenly. The result was choice fare. Wain and Jackson soloed well off each other, airy and upbeat, as Greg and Akou held the pocket down.
Robin Maria delivered the spiritual “Let Your Glory Fill The House” with majestic power reminiscent of Big Mama Thorton singing “Wade On The Water”, but in her own distinct, exciting style. She was an instant hit with the audience. Greg, who invited Robin Maria to sit in with Wain McFarlane & Jahz, is impressed by the fledgling talent. “Robin has a unique ability. She can take one sentence and, the way she expresses and projects it, you can live that feeling.”
Robin Maia was first inspired to sing publicly at a local variety show in her native Cleveland, Ohio. She started at age 10 and by the time she was 12, had performed her first gospel solo. She eventually took private lessons and has been honing her craft ever since. Her primary audience, for the time being, is weddings, funerals and religious events. “Even though I tried to sing non-gospel music, the lyrics never seem to stay with me. To this day, I have the same trouble”, says Robin Maria.
Sitting in at Lucille’s Kitchen was a different experience for Robin Maria, she said usually works alone. However, she enjoyed it immensely. “It was first time being part of a band, really. It was very interesting.” Robin Maria reflects on her career to date, “I have only written four songs. But, each of the four songs reflects a stage in my life and inspired me to compose. Many people have encouraged me to sing. No one motivated me to record until I met my friend, Bill Johnson. Bill has been the motivator that I lacked earlier. Bill believed in my ability and thought that I was wasting God’s gift. After helping me to connect with people in the local music scene, here I am.”