In crafting her winning brand of modern soul, Washington's own Wayna has drawn from underground hip-hop rhythms as well as melodies of her native Ethiopia. Her crystalline soprano voice has been likened to those of Syreeta Wright and Minnie Riperton, whom she covered for a Grammy nomination last year. To restock her well of inspiration, Wayna recently immersed herself in the catalogue of Billie Holiday, another classic voice who comes up in descriptions of her sound. That exploration led to the tribute performance that Wayna will debut in two shows at Blues Alley this week.-- Rhome Anderson
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