Written by DopeHead on 15. 6. 2020
…is a New York-based jazz, world music, and gospel singer originally from Slovakia, growing up in Mongolian desert. Considered one of the most talented jazz singers of the present times with her vibrant, gospel-filled voice with the vocal power of a Mahalia Jackson, she is the rising star at the NYC jazz scene, fusing Slovak folk music with jazz & gospel and performing with her US Quartet all over the world. Hanka has won numerous jazz awards including “Jazz Man of the Year” 2017 in Slovakia. She was one of only two women to win this award in the last 26 years. Hanka has also been nominated for two Slovakian Grammys and has been acknowledged by her mentor Cassandra Wilson as “The Best of the Next Generation”.
Born in Slovakia but raised in the Gobi Desert, she learned about American music from her father, while soaking in the native music of Mongolia. When Hanka returned to Slovakia, she became immersed in Slovakian folk music. Hanka’s jazz group now tries to direct all these world influences through the lens of modern jazz.
Hanka has recorded three solo CD’s “Reflections Of My Soul“ (2007), “Essence“ (2014) and “Twin Flame“ (2017). She performs all over the world with her signature musical style of jazz, soul, gospel & world- music fusion.
With Cassandra Wilson’s support and representation by Ojah Media Group, Hanka moved to NYC under her sponsorship in August 2016. Currently, Hanka is actively performing in NYC jazz clubs such as Smalls Jazz Club with her own quartet – Anthony Wonsey – piano, Lonnie Plaxico – bass & Taru Alexander – drums. Besides being actively involved & performing at the NY Jazz scene, Hanka is also the guest lead singer for the Memorial Baptist Church in Harlem.
She opened up for Kurt Elling, Cassandra Wilson; performed with Rodney Kendrick’s trio in South Africa and has toured Europe recently with her quartet featuring National Endowments Jazz Master award recipient, bassist Reggie Workman in 2018, known mainly for his cooperation with the John Coltrane Quartet and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers & drummer Taru Alexander, Max Roach award-winning musician who performed & recorded with Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Roy Hargrove. In the fall of 2019, she toured Europe again with the veterans of the New York jazz scene Taru Alexander (drums) and Michael Bowie (bass), Grammy award-winning musician who played and recorded with jazz legends such as Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Abbey Lincoln, Patti LaBelle, Dee Dee Bridgewater, etc…
Throughout her career, Hanka has worked and performed with one of the best jazz musicians in the world:
- Reggie Workman
- Michael Bowie
- Taru Alexander
- Anthony Wonsey
- Lonnie Plaxico
- Marcus McLaurine
- Kris Funn
- John R. Lamkin
- Theo Hill
- Marc Cary
- Essiet Okon Essiet
- Rodney Kendrick
- Kenny Davis
- Mimi Jones
- Benito Gonzales among others.