Musical traditions from North and West African, Arab, American, Southeast Asian and Cuban cultures have informed Colette Michaan’s music throughout her life. Born and raised in New York City, a first generation American of Egyptian/Syrian heritage, Colette plays music that expresses a journey, an integration and universal expression of feeling. Her intention is to create beauty, to move people to feel, to enjoy, to reflect, to come together and celebrate life.
In 2004, Colette released her debut album, FIRST CAUSE. Appreciated for it’s eclecticism, this recording includes original compositions, Cuban Son, Cha cha cha, Yoruban folklore, Latin Jazz and World Music. The musicians on the recording include: Colette Michaan, Oriente Lopez, Pedro Martinez, Richard Bona, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez Nomi Bloch,and Chacho Schartz, among others.
Her second album, QUERENCIA, a recording of world music with a Cuban core, was released in 2010. The recording features Colette Michaan, Jorge Bringas, Hassan Hakmoun, Pedro Martinez, Aaron Halva, Edgar Pantoja Aleman, Yunior Terry and Jainardo Batista.
In 2012, Colette toured Morocco with her band Querencia, performing at the Lotus Club in Marrakech, and culminating at the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival, where her band received great acclaim.
In September 2014, Colette released her third CD: INCARNATE. This music is her response to the passions and pains of life, The language is Latin Jazz. The rhythms are Afro-Cuban. The soul is universal.
In June 2017, Colette returned to the studio to record her latest album. HEAVEN AND EARTH ~ CIELO Y TIERRO was released in November. The personnel includes: Colette, Melvis Santa, Reut Regev, Rey David Alejandre, Cesar Orozco, Jorge Bringas, Roman Diaz, Luisito Quintero, and Yusnier Sanchez Bustamante.
Over the years, Michaan has performed with Youssou N’Dour in Senegal, Fathy Salama in Egypt, Toi Pinto in Cape Verde, Julio Cambara Palacio and the Cuban Express in Curacao, as well as Harry Whitaker, John Stubblefield, and Hubert Laws, in NY.
Colette has recorded on albums by Harry Whitaker, Richard Bona, and Kaissa. She has also performed with Kenny Barron at the Jazz Yatra Festival in India (1986), Richard Bona at the St. Louis Festival in Senegal (1995), and Gnaoua Maâlem Abdelkebir Merchant at the Essaouira Gnaoua Festival in Morocco (2012).
From 1999 to 2002, Michaan was an adjunct faculty member in the Jazz and Contemporary Music Dept. at the New School in New York City.
From 2005 to 2007, Colette played flute in NYC’s “Charanga Soleil”. From 2007 to 2015, she performed weekly with “Nu’ Guajiro/Nu’ Delux”, co-led by Aaron Halva and Jainardo Batista, at NYC’s clubs Oliva, Boca Chica and Cienfuegos.
In 2008, Colette toured Cape Verde with Cape Verdean singer Toi Pinto and his band.
In 2012, with “Flor de Toloache”, co-led by Mireya Ramos and Shae Fiol, Colette performed at various venues, including El Museo del Barrio, Rockwood, Barbes, and appearances on NBC and Telemundo.
In recent years, Colette continues to perform weekly in NYC venues such as SOB’s, Havana Central, Son Cubano, BAM Cafe, NJPAC, Shapeshifter Lab, Drom, Barbes, 33 Lafayette, and more.
Onstage, Michaan communicates her love of music. “Playing music is vital to me” she affirms, “I am grateful for the desire to play, the ability to play, and for each opportunity to play.”