Episode 53: How creating music has helped Ivorian songbird Fely Tchaco deal with trauma

Fely Tchaco and band at the Freight and Salvege in Berkeley California

Fely Tchaco performing at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, California. Photo: Courtesy of Felymusic.com.

Ivorian-American singer, songwriter performer and visual artist, Fely Tchaco, shares a remarkable story of resilience and how making music helped her deal with trauma from a violent childhood, and from the abusive relationships she got into as an adult.

During her career in Cote d’Ivoire, Fely released two albums to critical acclaim in the 1990s, before moving to the United States. She released two more albums and an EP, which received several accolades, including a 2010 Billboard Award nomination for Best Independent Artist, and an Independent Music Award for “Best Song” in the World Beat category. Her highly anticipated new album, YITA (Deep Water), originally scheduled for release last Spring, but postponed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, is now available on music streaming services and through her website, Felymusic.com. Yita is a tribute to migrants and refugees who lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea. She will donate a portion of proceeds from the sale of the album to Open Arms, an organization in Spain that rescues migrants and refugees stranded at sea.