Musique Noire

From MusicWiki Detroit
Jump to: navigation, search
Musique Noire
Musique Noire Logo.jpg
Background Information





Years Active

2005 - Present





Michelle May - Violin
Leslie DeShazor Adams
Leah Lucas Celebi
Viola, Violin
JoVia Armstrong - Percussion


Musique Noire is a Woman-led percussion and strings ensemble performing dynamic jazz and world fusion music. Members are veteran musicians from Detroit and Chicago, USA.

Band leader/violinist/flutist Michelle May found herself playing in a variety of ensembles (classical, jazz, r&b, gospel and even a house music band), but not feeling totally fulfilled in any of them but after 30+ years as a musician, she felt it was time to take her musical life in another direction. Enter, Musique Noire ("Black Music").

Michelle found a few like-minded, seasoned musicians from the Detroit area, who felt like she did--tired of always making some *else's* vision a reality and ready to let the world hear what *they* had to offer. Putting together a band wasn't easy, especially with the instrumentation assembled: violin, viola, percussion, guitar and bass. After going through a couple of personnel changes, Michelle was finally able to put together a group that works well together musically and personally.


Michelle May

Michelle May.jpg

Michelle was born into a family of musicians and artists. She began piano studies with her mother, Mary Walton, at age five. At age seven she began violin studies and added flute studies at age 9. Michelle has performed live and in studio behind such nationally renowned performers as drummer/percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett, Aretha Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond, Richard Smallwood, Marcus Belgrave, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, and the late greats Donald Walden, Barry White, Dr. Teddy Harris, Joe Williams and Dizzy Gillespie, to name a few. She is a sought-after teacher on both flute and violin. Michelle holds a B.A. in Education, an M.A. in Counseling (her "other" profession!) and a Certificate in Recording Technology.


Jovia Armstrong

Jovia Armstrong.jpg

Award-winning educator and songwriter, Jovia is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after performers in the Midwest. She began studying drumset in elementary school and added percussion study in high school. Jovia studied percussion at Michigan State University before relocating to Chicago where she earned a B.A. in Music Business from Columbia College. In addition to her work with Musique Noire, Jovia has performed with such national and international artists as Amp Fiddler, Nicole Mitchell, British artist Omar, Alison Crockett, Level Rison, The Strange, Trey Anastacio, Brian O'Neal (keyboardist for Kem) as well as numerous Jazz and Latin festivals. She is known for her creative technique, stage presence and melodic approach and is versed in the styles of jazz, Latin jazz, Afro-Cuban, African, gospel and R&B. In 2011, the 3Arts Organization of Chicago, IL bestowed a $15.000 award to JoVia for her work as a teaching artist.


Leslie DeShazor Adams

Leslie DeShazor Adams.jpg

Leslie is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Music where she received a B.M. in viola performance. She began playing the viola at the age of ten and has been playing for almost 20 years. While her training is primarily in classical music she can be heard or seen in an array of venues. Jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, traditional West African music, classical and rock are some of the many influences you will hear in her playing. She has worked with such artists as: Aretha Franklin, Smokey Robinson, Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, Three Mo’ Tenors, and many more. She is married to the internationally renowned trumpeter Dwight Adams--currently touring with Stevie Wonder.


Leah Lucas Celebi

Leah Lucas Celebi.jpg

Leah has been described by critics as a player that “possesses a major talent as well as a sunny, room-filling personality” (The Santa Barbara Independent). Leah performs as a soloist, an orchestral musician and a performer of contemporary music in a variety of genres, including premiering a work written for her by composer Timothy Beutler entitled Pursuit of Truth: For Solo Viola and Tape. She also served as violinist and vocalist in Danssair, a popular Irish band local to Santa Barbara, which was featured with the Santa Barbara Symphony for their St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Originally from Illinois, Ms. Lucas graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts Music Conservatory and continued her graduate studies at the University of California Santa Barbara.



CD's/Digital downloads:


External Links

YouTube Channel