From Ivory Coast to West Coast, Fely Tchaco’s Musical Vision Defies Borders

By Andrew Gilbert, Mar 8 

Source KQED

In the spring of 2016, Fely Tchaco joined guitarist Freddy Clarke’s Wobbly World band on a relief mission to Greece bringing medical aid to Syrian refugees. Born and raised in Ivory Coast, Tchaco had seen her fair share of hard times and poverty, but the trip changed her perspective on the way that tribulations are distributed around the world. 

In the United States, she’s always aware of “coming from a continent where everyone thinks there are the poorest countries,” she said in a recent conversation via Zoom. “But you see this can happen anywhere. These refugees had experienced terrible trauma, and some were so resilient. I was astonished by this little girl who was so talented playing my djembe.” 

She left her drum with the child, and took from Greece the conceptual seeds for her next album. The San Francisco vocalist, songwriter, fashion designer and visual artist releases her gorgeous new project Yita on March 8. Exploring themes of migration and human trafficking, she alternates between luscious ballads and propulsive anthems calling for social justice and the end of police brutality....

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