Kelly Strayhorn’s Sunstar Festival Features Several Top Local Female Performers

On Saturday there will be a showcase of some of Pittsburgh’s top musical talent at Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Sunstar Festival: Womxn & Music. The main event for Sunstar ‘21 is the Unplugged Sessions highlighting independent women musicians who offer inspiration and encouragement. Hosting the event  are the positive and talented podcasters Girls Running Sh**, with performances by R&B, soul, rap, and hip hop musicians INEZ, Clara Kent, Brittney Chantele, and Chandra Rhyme.  The long awaited Mic Check concert, originally scheduled for March 2020, is now part of Sunstar 21.

INEZ is a singer-songwriter/musician/producer/audio engineer, from Homewood who possesses a smooth and melodic pop soul voice. Her latest release was 2019’s Voicemails and Conversations. Clara Kent, like INEZ is a multi-talented musician who calls herself  a “Multidimensional Artistic Individual.” Her debut project Aura dropped in 2018. She also hails from Homewood. Kent and INEZ are friends and collaborators who have worked together on the song and video for “Clouds” and BLKNVMBR, an online music event highlighting Black recording artists from Pittsburgh that ran in November 2020.

Brittney Chantele is a pop/hip hop artist/visual artist/speaker/activist who has had two album releases in recent years, 2019’s A Fire on Venus, with the hot track “Fade and Balance.” And last year’s Golden Opportunity, on which Chantele chronicled the negative experiences she encountered while serving in the military. Infusing pop and R&B with hip hop, Chandra Rhyme creates a unique sound. 2019 saw her debut EP, Goin Up released, new music should be out this year. Girls Running Sh** consists of Markeea “Keea” Hart, Janita Kilgore, and Mia Marshall.

According to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater website, “Sunstar is KST’s annual festival that celebrates the power and diversity of womxn in art and creativity. This year, SUNSTAR highlights independent Black womxn musicians in Pittsburgh. Past programs have featured Grammy Award-winning group the Carolina Chocolate Drops, author Rebecca Walker, New York composer Samita Sinha, and Pittsburgh-based artists and leaders, Tania Grubbs, Staycee Pearl, and Anqwenique Wingfield, among many others.” “Mic Check” highlights the positivity of Black women and femmes. For more information on Sunstar 2021: Unplugged Sessions events check out the Kelly Strayhorn event page. Crowdcast starts at 7 p.m. Pay what you wish.

Fast-rising music artist INEZ styles her name in all caps. She's one of a multitude of creators bringing live performance back to Pittsburgh at the Drive-In Arts Fest. (photo: Nicolette Kalafatis)

INEZ. (photo: Nicolette Kalafatis)

Rick Handler is the executive producer of Entertainment Central.