Musique Noire

2018 Detroit Music Awards Nominees for "Outstanding World Artist/Group" and "Outstanding World Recording"



"Musique Noire is a classy group that can move in any musical direction with ease and grace."  Peter Karoly of

"The instrumentation may seem a bit unusual, but the clever arrangements bring it all together in an exciting and tuneful fashion. Some of the string quartet/crossover albums have not quite gotten it in the groove, but Musique Noir (sic) i...s swinging."  John Henry, Audiophile Audition

"A very cool little project -- an instrumental set that's heavy on string-based instruments -- kind of an electrified string quartet, and one with a pretty funky feel at times too!"  Dusty Groove Records

 "The cultural melting pot of Detroit has produced remarkable jazz artists who incorporate diverse ethnic sounds into their music. Led by violinist and flutist Michelle May, Motor City quartet Musique Noire weave elements of Spain, Africa, India and the Middle East into their sonic tapestry. But jazz and blues provide the bedrock on which they build, as they and their guests draw connections between America's grand music and its antecedents and analogs on 'Reflections: We Breathe' (Ann Vincent Productions), their latest recording. That the group comprises all women lends a powerful point of view, particularly on a potent interpretation of Nina Simone's 'Four Women' , the vocal parts shared among the group. Written by JoVia Armstrong, the instrumental "Reflections", included here, begins with the gentle strum of the acoustic guitar and the plaintive sound of the viola before the tune takes a turn for the celebratory. Marion Haden's (sic) liquid bass lines and Armstrong's lively percussion add danceable rhythms, and soon, violist Leslie Deshazor and guitarist Elden Kelly are lifting their feet and dancing along on their respective instruments." Jazziz Magazine



Musique Noire was formed in 2005.  The group's members, who reside in Michigan and California are veteran players nationally and internationally, having performed with such high-profile artists as Stevie Wonder, KEM, Aretha Franklin, El Debarge, and Frank McComb among many others.  Led by violinist Michelle May, a 2018 Detroit Kresge Artist Fellow (, the group produces a sophisticated sound showcasing unique arrangements of world fusion music.   Current instrumentation:  Michelle on violin and flute, Leslie Deshazor Adams on viola, Leah Lucas Celebi on viola and violin, and JoVia Armstrong, a 2011 3Arts Siragusa Foundation (Chicago) Artist Awardee,( on percussion.  Their debut CD, "Good Hair", features original songs (and three cover tunes) that reflect their musical influences in funk, Latin, world music and jazz.  2011 saw the release of their second CD, "Holiday Dreams:  A Celebration of Christmas", with their unique arrangements of traditional Christmas tunes and the jazz classic, "A Child Is Born".  Their latest release, "Reflections:  We Breathe" celebrates women warriors of the arts, with original tunes and covers of Nina Simone and Eileen Ivers.  Musique Noire were 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2018 Detroit Music Awards nominees for Outstanding Jazz Recording (2009, 2018) and Outstanding World/Reggae Group (2009, 2010, 2011, 2018) and 2015 winners of the Best Black Female Jazz Group through Black Women in Jazz Awards out of Atlanta, GA.  The ensemble were 2018 TEDx Detroit performer/presenters.