Yawa, aka Amenta Abioto, is a singer, songwriter, producer and performance artist from Memphis, Tennessee. Her songs are spiritual love letters that begin with rich vocal loops that are layered over atmospheric sounds from synth, drum machine, kalimba and guitar. She now lives in Portland with her mother and four sisters, a family that is a creative and cultural force for the Arts and Black communities in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2020, Yawa was a featured artist in the Oregon Symphony’s virtual series, “Essential Sound.” For this performance, Gabriel Kahane, Oregon Symphony’s creative chair, composed the music for the symphony to accompany Yawa’s song, “Revolution.”
In that same year she performed at a TEDx Talk in Portland.
KMHD met with Abioto at Portland record store Future Shock, where she selected a couple of her favorites records and talked about why they were important to her journey. In the conversation, she also spoke on what she learned as an artist during the pandemic, her early music influences and the flow of creativity in a household of artistic women.