Millicent Cummings: a storyteller and a troubadour

Millicent Cummings is a singer-songwriter like no other musician. She cannot be defined by a single genre of music. She is an amazingly gifted artist with influences from the Far East, Hawaiian, rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythm and blues.

Last Saturday night she was backed by Darby Slick on sitar and guitar, as she frequently is. Darby is brother-in-law to Grace Slick and wrote Grace’s famous song, “Don’t You Want Somebody to Love.”

Millicent has been playing guitar and singing since she was 12 years old and began composing at age 15. She has recently written some songs featuring an East Indian flavor with Darby Slick that appear on her latest CD, “Compassionate Heart.” Millicent has been on Kaua‘i for 11 years, and is preparing to go back to O‘ahu in May to perform there before soon (we hope!) returning here.    

She holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Parson’s School of Design in New York and has taught art and music for more than 25 years. She is a storyteller and a troubadour, using every possible media to express her ideas and songs.

The performance on Saturday at Children of the Land in Kapa‘a, which Millicent dubbed from “Raj to Rock,” started with ancient Indian devotional chants accompanied by Darby on sitar. This was the traditional phase. The audience was invited to join the chants, although all refrained as no one wanted to spoil the delight of listening to Millicent’s voice. The artists moved into a non-traditional phase which sounded kind of like Indian music with a Western rock ‘n’ roll twist. Then the performance went right into full-blown rock ‘n’ roll to finish with Millicent scatting out a jazzy little rendition of “This Little Light of Mine.”

 A concept from one of her songs entitled” Peace” is to consider the world at peace — or — being at peace with the world.

If you didn’t get a chance to see and hear this amazing singer-songwriter while she was here, you can capture her essence on her CDs available from her website at www.millicentcummings.com or look for “Island Rose”  or “Compassionate Heart” on CDBaby. She promises to come back.

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