Judette Elliston (they/she) is a Haitian-Canadian vocalist, composer and improviser based in Brooklyn, New York. Their work focuses on amplifying our inner worlds; exploring the emotional and ancestral histories that reverberate within. Through song, they hold space for listeners to engage in collective remembering, and self-exploration, ultimately moving toward healing. Their music draws from the improvisational spirit of jazz, the sincere storytelling of folk music and the rich rhythmic and harmonic traditions of Haitian folkloric music.
As a composer-performer, Elliston shares their compositions in a variety of musical settings. Recently, they recorded Tiny, a chamber jazz EP written for a quartet of voice, harp, guitar and cello. Tiny utilizes the duality of lyricism & improvisation, past & present and folk & jazz to paint a musical portrait of Elliston’s early childhood.
Outside of their work as a composer, Elliston has a deep love for interpreting Haitian folkloric music in their solo and small ensemble projects. They use unconventional instrumentation and jazz influences to translate their experience as a Haitian in the diaspora into music. Other artistic endeavors include their experimental songwriting duo Hush Tones with pianist PJ Fossum, scoring the theater performance project Reminiscence (dir. Federica Borlenghi) and performing loop-based solo sets with their Casio Xw-p1 synthesizer.
Elliston holds a BFA with Honors in Jazz and Contemporary Music from The New School and has studied with renowned artists such as Anaïs Maviel, Ingrid Jensen, Reggie Workman and Jane Ira Bloom. Institutions that have recognized and shaped Elliston’s artistic trajectory include The Shoshana Foundation, FABnyc, Downtown Art, Looking Glass Arts, The Makers’ Ensemble, MAI/SON and The Victoria Jazz Festival.