Marva Wright, the Blues Queen of New Orleans, passed away March 23 at 6 a.m. after suffering the last in a series of strokes.
With a powerful voice and a generous helping of personality, Marva sang bluesy Louisiana music with deep roots in gospel. From her early church singing and the beginning of her professional music career in 1987 to performances at clubs and festivals all over the world - and even a 1994 show at the White House - Marva's music-filled soul shone through with every note she sang.
Influenced by her mother (a gospel pianist/singer) and Mahalia Jackson (a family friend), Marva made her first recording, "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" in 1989. She debuted on national television in 1991 for a Super Bowl special, and made her first album, Heartbreakin' Woman, later that year. She went on to sing backup for artists including Allen Toussaint, Glen Campbell, and Joe Cocker, and performed with Harry Connick Jr., Bobby McFerrin, Aaron Neville, Fats Domino, Lou Rawls, and Marcia Ball, to name a few.
Marva has garnered numerous honors, including Big Easy and Offbeat awards, but perhaps the most important one is the special place she has earned in the hearts of blues fans here in New Orleans and around the world.
The wake for Marva Wright will be at Gallier Hall (545 St. Charles Ave, New Orleans) from noon-6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30.
A musical tribute to Marva will be at Gallier Hall immediately afterwards. Performers will include The BMW's (Marva's band: Benny Turner, Keiko Komaki, Jeffrey Alexander and June Yamagishi), Charmaine Neville, Davell Crawford, Rockin' Dopsie, Jr., The Wild Magnolias, and many more.
A church service will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesay, March 31st, at New Hope Baptist Church (1807 LaSalle, New Orleans).
Special thanks to Quint Davis, Festival Productions, and the Jazz and Heritage Foundation.