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Gwen Sampé

Gwendolyn Jewel Sampé is an American singer now living in Paris. Her first significant musical work was not as a straight- ahead jazz singer but as the composer/director of a poetry-song production titled " Turnings ", based on the poetry of Nigerian author Wole Soyinka. She was also the first woman to play the part of god in Benjamin Britten's " Noah's Flood ". This was followed by her taking the part of " spirit " in the Ariya production of Purcell's “Dido and Aeneas”.

During this time Gwen has also been performing in various jazz venues in Europe - Iceland, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy and England. Her percussive and vocally challenging style has been compared to Bobby McFerrin and Betty Carter.

Her debut album " Water Gazing ", includes her own compositions, songs from the standards repertoire,one of which is an inspired re- working of the Leadbelly song ‘There's A Man Goin' Round Takin' Names’. The musicians on this album are Phil Dawson guitars, Larry Bartley double bass, and the drummers Sebastian Rochford, Andrea Trillo and Kendrick Rowe.

Other than her performance work, Gwen also teaches voice, runs music workshops, and has done much work in England and Ireland with teenagers at risk using Black American folk forms as way a way of expression.


"Gwen Sampé is, without any doubt, a living legend." • Roland Torres, Le Grand BaZART

With the acrobatics that the singer performed on that evening, memories were evoked of jazz greats Bobby McFerrin and Lauren Newton. Sampé played with her voice as if it were an instrument which has a range covering a thousand tones of colour and a sheer boundless register. 'Emotional,' the word has an unpleasant ring to it in this modern day, but it is of course so important because real experiences mirror themselves in it. And in this sense an emotional and even ecstatic effect was created by the singing of this artist from Houston, Texas, a true 'Orpheus', whose appearance must be rated as the high point of the festival. Christopher Schultz, Lüdinghausen Festival

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Water Gazing

Maekon Records



Self Produced


Love Came

From: Conversions
By Gwen Sampé


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