"Her powerful voice is characterized by superb diction...heartfelt intonation...and often aching beauty."
- All About Jazz
Mesmerizing audiences around the world with her “liquid clear” song “bound to fill your spirit to its rim with musical serenity” and her passion for leading audiences of all backgrounds in harmonious song, Chanda loves to proclaim that music is a healing balm for the human spirit and uses music to honor the “downright sacred wholeness of every being.”
Born in between the off beats, and bump and grind of the Disco-Funk Era in Chicago, Chanda has been weaving stories through song, humming melodies, and bending words since her childhood. After graduating from Howard University, she took a flight to New York with dreams of using her freshly-earned journalism degree on Madison Avenue. Daunted by rush hour and cubicles, she turned to music for solace and soon after began her professional career in musical theater, appearing in a variety of productions, from New Jersey’s Hudson Shakespeare Company and regional tours, to "Hair, The Musical" in Amsterdam and Milan.
She has since shared music around the world, letting her inspirational spirit shine through her music, whether sharing chants with intimate song circles or performing for festival audiences. Her “bewitching voice,”as described by the Baltic Times, has a flexibility and range that has graced a variety of musical projects: from "Feeling Good: The Gospel According to Nina Simone" where she was featured with sax powerhouse Donny McCaslin, gospel fests and workshops with the legendary Golden Gospel Singers, and concerts with the Outreach Orchestra, to appearing as a featured vocalist on Ö1 "Jazznacht," tours with Kirk Lightsey and Zimbabwe’s Nobuntu, performing with Russian classical pianist Denis Matsuev’s Crescendo Festival, and sharing her song and sound with digital performance art projects and folkloric dance companies. She has also performed as an opening act for India.Arie, Amel Larrieux, Angela Bofill, and Regina Belle & The Whispers.
Chanda’s Langston Hughes inspired concert series, “I Too Speak of a River,” was granted the Harlem Stage Fund for New Works, and “Listening to Roots and Voicing Branches,” a multimedia theater piece she penned and performed with Okay Africa recording artist Somi was presented in New York’s Apollo Salon, Featured New Works Series.
Her passion for interfaith dialogue and creating sacred spaces in secular places – both through music and art, led her to One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University where she became ordained as an interfaith minister and received her Masters degree in Theological studies with a focus on Practical Theology and the Arts. With music and interspirituality at the heart of her message, she has shared and led music at the International Buddhist Christian Conference in New York, curated and co-created Blurring the Lines, Faith Dialogue through the Arts, and performed and presented at the University of Leipzig’s Liturgical Institute Conference on Jazz, Improvisation and Liturgy. She was honored with the Hudnut Award for her sermons that combine sacred text with original story, ritual, community song and improvised music, which led to a residency at New York’s Jazz Church, Saint Peter’s. She also shares her joy of song leading and inspirational music through her RiseUp workshops - featured on ORF "Zeit Im Bild" (Austrian national news), women's song circles, and as a presenter and song leader with Music that Makes Community.
Chanda calls music her ministry. Her songs and stories are her sermons and people her lectionary. "The stage is like my pulpit," she says. "And really, there's nothing like singing for and with an audience. Music and singing are human connectors destined to bring us together joyfully no matter what your background is, and that is what I call sacred."
Chanda lives in Vienna with her drummer husband, rock star three year old and his host of imaginary friends. She is currently dreaming of vertical herb gardens, dancing wildly behind closed curtains, and reframing childhood stories. Listen for her voice on this season of "Dancing Stars" on Austria's ORF.
Recordings: Like|Water (2005), I Too Speak of a River (2007), LIVE in Schwaz (2009), Rise Up (2010), Surrender (2010), Feelin' Good(2011), Homebound (2013)