Maya Rae performs April 9. (photo by Robert Albanese)
Only 13 years old and already a veteran of the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Only 13 and already dedicating her time and talents to helping others.
Maya Rae and her Rhythm Band perform an evening of jazz and soul at Temple Sholom on April 9.
“This show is a benefit concert for the settlement of two Syrian refugee families,” Rae told the Independent. “If my music can make a difference towards helping people and making the world a better place, I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather be doing. Tikkun olam is about the pursuit of social justice and I believe strongly that we need to help refugees of all parts of the world to find a safe place to settle.”
She added, “Right now, the Syrian refugee crisis is one that is very prominent, and of epic proportions. Millions of innocent people have been displaced with nowhere to go. I felt compelled to participate and to do something meaningful at a local level. Our rabbi at Temple Sholom, Dan Moskovitz, has urged the Temple Sholom congregation to take action, and this is my way of doing so.”
Scheduled to join her at Temple Sholom are Luis Giraldo (piano), Eli Bennett (saxophone), Ayla Tesler-Mabe (guitar), Ethan Honeywell (drums), Evan Gratham (double bass) and Benjamin Millman (piano and ukulele).
The Grade 8 student at York House started taking singing lessons when she was in Grade 3. “My first official performance was for the jazz festival in 2012. I remember singing the solo part of ‘Lean On Me’ by Bill Withers, with Cecile Larochelle’s Anysing Goes choir supporting me with the beautiful chorus line. It was an extremely memorable experience for me.”
Earlier this year, she was asked by the organizers of the jazz festival – Vancouver Coastal Jazz and Blues Society – to perform in the Women in Jazz series, which took place in March. “As part of that preparation,” said Rae, “I was introduced to some wonderful young musicians who I asked to support me for those two shows. As we were preparing for those performances, I was inspired to do a benefit concert in my synagogue with the same set and the same musicians…. I’ve since decided to add another set, and a few more musical friends and surprises to expand the show. I’m really happy with the results so far and can’t wait for April 9th.”
Rae said she chooses to cover “songs that deliver meaningful messages through their lyrics. I also like to pick songs that could have impact on the listeners, and also spark awareness about the significant issues we are facing in this generation.”
She has a YouTube channel on which there are a few videos, including for the song “I’m Still Waiting for Christmas,” which was released last year and is on sale on iTunes, as well.
“I have co-written a few songs with various artists/musicians that will be released in the near future,” she said, adding that she is hoping to have more time to write this year.
“My goal is to continue to enjoy playing and making music with others,” she said. “It would certainly be a dream come true to make a living through my music.”
This summer, she’ll be busking on Granville Island, and she invited everyone to “please stop by.”
More information about Rae’s upcoming events and recordings can be found at mayaraemusic.com. For now, though, her focus is on the April 9 concert, which starts at 8 p.m., at Temple Sholom. Tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for children/students, and the proceeds will aid two refugee families. RSVP to Temple Sholom at 604-266-7190 or register at templesholom.ca.