Toronto’s Kalya Ramu and Ewen Farncombe release new duo recording

Toronto-based vocalist Kalya Ramu and pianist Ewen Farncombe have just released a five-song EP called Duo, featuring all original songs by the rising jazz talents.

Influenced by the golden-age musical styles of the 1930s through the 1950s, the new recording “explores love in its many forms, whether it be towards a partner, a musical genre, a fleeting feeling, or one’s life choices.”

Duo is an intimate showcase of Ramu’s warm, dynamic voice and Farncombe’s emotive playing. The songs tend toward slow-paced, leisurely comforts, with highlights including “Laugh It Off” and “Comfort,” though the pair also throws some upbeat fun into the mix with “That Swingin’ Rhythm.” Ramu’s lyrics, meanwhile, are partly sweet and partly cynical, always seeking to avoid being overly serious.

The pair met in 2011 at Humber College, while they were both studying in the school’s contemporary music program. Brought together by a shared love of swing, they’ve been performing together for the last 10 years. Prior to this release, Ramu released her debut album Living in a Dream in 2019, featuring Farncombe in the backing band; Farncombe has also recorded as a sideman on a number of other releases by Toronto jazz artists.

Recorded separately at their homes in late 2020, Duo was self-produced by Ramu and mixed and mastered by Nick Bonin.

Ramu and Farncombe are celebrating the album’s release with a Facebook Live performance via JazzInToronto, which has been tentatively rescheduled to May 7 after being initially planned for April 2.