Yasmin Williams

 An inviting and inventive guitarist and composer.

A native of northern Virginia, Williams, now 24, began playing electric guitar in 8th grade. Initially inspired by Jimi Hendrix and other shredders she was familiar with, she quickly moved on to acoustic guitar. By 10th grade, she had released an EP of songs of her own composition. Williams’ influences include the smooth jazz and R&B she listened to growing up, Hendrix, Nirvana, go-go and hip-hop. Her love for the band Earth, Wind and Fire prompted her to incorporate the kalimba into her songwriting, and more recently, she’s drawn inspiration from other Black women guitarists such as Elizabeth Cotten, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Algia Mae Hinton. On her album, Urban Driftwood, Williams references the music of West African griots through the inclusion of kora (which she recently learned) and by featuring the hand drumming of 150th generation djeli of the Kouyate family, Amadou Kouyate, on the title track.

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