By Christina Gravina
Walking down the bright red staircase towards the lounge at Raval in Downtown Jersey City feels like you are entering a painting as you are surrounded by black and white artwork on the wall. Inside, paintings of burlesque women and various artists such as Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie cover the wooden walls. Red chairs and vases full of red roses fill the room. The artwork doesn’t end there.
What really makes the dimly lit room come to life are the female artists of Jersey City, coloring the room in with emotion, sound, and lyrics.
Carolyn Light, a Celtic/Folk singer songwriter who resides in Jersey City organized the event Ladies of JC: A Night of Female Fronted Local Music on September 24. There were complimentary snacks, affordable drinks, and tarot card readings. There were also featured vendors from Gilding Primal Instinct and Kelly Heaton designs, both who make hand-crafted jewelry.
Other local artists include fellow singer-songwriter Chrissy Roberts, powerful Jazz singer Ariel Guidry, and raspy-voiced Alisha Taiping and her band Forget the Whale. The event was created to both support and celebrate local Jersey City artists.
Light says the performers all met in Jersey City. “We met in a song-writer workshop called The Spaghetti Sessions here in Downtown Jersey City,” she said. “As you can hear, they are amazing performers. It’s a place where people present their work and give critique and then eat together, and that’s how we all became friends. They’re women I really admire.”
As for her own style of music, she said, “Singing I’ve always done, since I was nine. I was very classical and then moved into music-theatre/ Broadway and eventually found my way into Celtic folk.”
She started songwriting because she wanted to tell her own stories.“I started writing them because I had things I wanted to say,” she explained.
She says nature inspires her music. “I feel like it cleanses me.”
She likes to visit Lincoln Park here in Jersey City. Her musical influences include Simon & Garfunkel, Alison Krauss, and Florence and the Machine.
Light currently has an EP in the works geared toward mental health awareness.“I’m hoping to make more of these and keep it going, the hope is to get female artists on the stage doing what they want to do,” she said. She plans to have more of these events at various venues in Jersey City.
For more information on Carolyn Light and her events visit her website. http://carolynlight.com