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FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

ZINNIAS

FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE 

WOW! What a journey.  I'm in the last week of a magical production at The Public Theater called The Fortress of Solitude.  I am so in love with my cast mates, the creative team, our producers and everyone that had anything to do with this piece.  Experiences like this are once in a lifetime and I am so grateful.  I've taken a break from completing my album in order to be a part of such amazing projects such as this one and it all fuels my passion for creating music.  As this experience draws to a close it is bittersweet. I am reluctant to let it go and yet inspired more than ever. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the idea of all I want to create, but as I learned from this experience and in the beautiful words of our composer, Michael Friedman, "the song makes a space"... and so the journey continues.

ZINNIAS 

This January I have the distinct honor of working with legends ROBERT WILSON, BERNICE JOHNSON REAGON and TOSHI REAGON on ZINNIAS: THE LIFE OF CLEMENTINE HUNTER in which I play the title role.  I am honored to portray this self taught African-American folk artist from Louisiana whose vibrant depictions of her life on Melrose Plantation were selling for thousands of dollars before she left this world after living for 100 years.  I am amazed and inspired every day by the brilliance of the cast and creative team I've been blessed to work with! one of my finest moments was while singing one of TOSHI's brilliant country inspired compositions she said "You sound like Dolly Parton circa 1968...and I love me some Dolly Parton circa 1968." So that inspired me to release my country inspired song "WAITING"...take a listen on the "4 ROCKSTARS" page. 

GONE ELVIS 

 My latest project GONE ELVIS was inspired by a segment on OPRAH (my personal guru) about homeless female veterans.(click on Oprah to read about her segment)  I am excited and terrified to begin work on it.  For more info check out the director's site DavidNewhoff.com and our page on Kickstarter.com if you'd like to donate to this indie short.

RUINED  

For those of you who've asked when's the next show and what I've been up to.  Here's a little update.  I've spent the last few months on the road with an amazing cast doing a tour of Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize winning play "Ruined", under the direction of the brilliantly talented Liesl Tommy. 

Here are a couple press clippings:
 Carla Duren: Broadway’s BlackFolkRockStar turns serious about the Congo in Ruined. -Lisa Lipsey, Rage Monthly

...what lends this production its convincing note of hope is Duren’s incandescent Sophie. As she sings, her plaintive but joy-tinged voice joins with the ebullient soukous music to suggest a people of resilience. -Susan Saccoccia, Bay State Banner

All in all it was an amazing, rewarding, challenging, life-changing and a completely transformative experience. I am so grateful I had the opportunity to play such a complex character that is based in reality.  Ruined is actually about the war currently raging in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where women are recklessly used as weapons of war. Boys are torn from their homes and are forced to be soldiers.  These boys are initiated into their new existence by being forced to kill and rape, sometimes even members of their own families. it's unconscionable and it's happening NOW! There are many charities and organizations dedicated to the cause if you feel a call to action.  One is called WOMEN FOR WOMEN INTERNATIONAL.  It is my favorite charity and I have attached the link if you feel moved to make a difference and change lives: https://give.womenforwomen.org/sponsorship/index.htm



LILITH FAIR VOTING INSTRUCTIONS 

Q: what takes all month is incredibly confusing and seems like an endless task?
A: no...not cleaning up the oil spill...that's much harder people!!!
it's voting Carla into Lilith Fair!! i know, i know ...it's a close second!

1. go to
ourstage.com/go/lilithnewyork
2. click the "judge as a fan" button
  (if you don't have facebook you must select the option to sign up for a FREE account and follow the judging directions)
3. select the New York contest
4. click the artist's tab and make carla duren your favorite band :)
5. then click on the judge tab and start judging (it takes a little time but i should come up within the first 20 bands if you've made me a favorite)

L.E.S. HAITI BENEFIT 

My girl Annekei has put together a group of really inspiring musicians to do a benefit for Haiti February 24th.  I met Annekei while performing with a group of local singer-songwriters representing all genres of music, so we called ourselves the Soulfolk Experience.  Other Soul Folks such as Maritri Garrett, Vernon Jeffrey Smith will also be on the bill.  It promises to be a soulful night dedicated to spreading love.  You will be inspired! See you there!

m'braze accessories 

i have been blessed with many amazing and talented friends.  one of which is my girl yxia.  creator of M'Braze Accessories.  you must check out her custom made accessories!!  you can even have her design a one of a kind piece for you.  i've rocked many of her leather pieces including the belt on the back cover of my album.  i have so much love for her and now you will too! :D
check her out at  http://mbraze.etsy.com !!

lilyfest video 

 just posted the video of hendrik helmer & i performing "blackfolkrockstar" at LILYFEST 2008 on the "photos & video" page.

LILY FEST 

 hey guys.  just wanted to let you know about a very special event i'm performing at this weekend. it's a benefit for a young girl named Lily who's battling a brain tumor.  please visit the "shows" page for more details.  hope to see you at St. Mark's Church in the East Village this Saturday to benefit Lily. Lots of great bands!! Music and food all day long!  hope to see you there!
carla