Narissa Bond - Singer-songwriter-guitarist
“She is an artist who paints stories with the brush of inspiration and love.”
– Cynthia Bond, New York Times bestselling author
Her mother urged her to tell family stories. Narissa took that to heart -- “When I write, those voices come to me.” And it’s a clear voice, like the one in “Road to Berea,” about her great-grandfather James, born into slavery, who walked 75 miles to Berea, Kentucky, where he attended college as a free man. His mother gave him a cow to pay for the tuition. Other stories flow through her songs, some that are personal, and others with lyrics so deep, they feel like family tales. Blessed with a warm soprano, this award-winning musician has released several albums including one, "Rhythm of Love" which was released in April of this year. You can hear her idols in her music, from Joni Mitchell’s finely crafted songs, and from Tracy Chapman, a sharp rhythmic and melodic sense. But Narissa is her own woman. She studied classical music, and jazz guitar, and there are elements of that in her work, as well as a nod to the blues and a strong connection to contemporary folk.
She had a passionate fan base early on. Her first album was recorded in the nineties, partly with studio time won in a song contest, and then finished with studio hours donated by fans and friends. She’s released four albums, each filled to the brim with her poignant songs, from “Celia,” the true story of a slave who was executed after killing her master, to “Wishbone,” an uplifting song about the power of dreams told through the story of her mother’s father -- a beekeeper, carpenter, and farmer:
You can put your dreams upon the shelf
Hold them close to your heart and tell nobody else
Or break the wishbones you’ve been saving
And let your dreams fly free
There’s a delicately fingerpicked ukulele in “Beyond the End of Time,” a touching song written for her niece, and a bluesy guitar in the life-affirming “The River.” “With These Two Hands” features her rich voice against a cascade of guitar arpeggios, gentle yet strong, she tells us “With these two hands we can save the world.”
Currently she performs 60 to 100 shows a year in the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, from coffeehouses to festivals. She had the pleasure of playing a song at the start of the play, “Liberty for Lydia,” featuring BET actress Erica Hubbard, at the prestigious Kimball Theater in Colonial Williamsburg. Also in Williamsburg, she worked as a balladeer – dressed in Colonial costume, she sang in the taverns. She’s shared the stage with many, including Grammy-nominated blues artist Ruthie Foster. In Fulton, Missouri, she did a special show where she sang “Celia”, important because this town annually honors Celia. Narissa is featured in a documentary about her.
Her "Three Words" CD was honored by Hampton Roads for Best Song and CD. She is featured in the book I’ve Got Thunder, a collection of stories about Black female recording artists, including Abbey Lincoln, Chaka Kahn, and Joan Armatrading.
There’s a good reason radio DJ Barry Graham says, “Narissa has set a new standard for the art of singing and songwriting … she is the real thing.” Get the real thing. Listen to Narissa Bond.