Speakers and Worship Leaders Announced for the Annual Women of Achievement Breakfast in Pasadena, CA

Jewel Diamond Taylor
Jewel Diamond Taylor

CANDACE LACY started making music at the Baptist Church her father pastored in Houston, Texas. By the time she was 14, she was Minister of Music at the church. Years later, she’s still making music, as Minister of Music at her beloved, Refuge Christian Center in Pasadena. It’s a position she has held since 1990. The accomplished pianist and singer attended Texas Southern University, in Houston, in 1984, studying music. She had already began to play by ear, and when the family saw that it was her God given gift, they started her with lessons in junior high school.

Over the years Lacy has developed and perfected her talent. Her resume includes working with the likes of the Kirk Carr Singers, Shirley Caesar, Mary Mary, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green. She’s also appeared in international venues including Switzerland and England.

When she is not playing and singing at church, she serves as an elementary school teacher (music) at Pasadena Unified School District. She takes great pride in watching her students go from ‘can’t read or sing’ to singing a three and four-part harmony. She says it is great watching the manifestation of her work as a teacher.

BROTHER YUSEF has been described as a master solo guitarist, as well as a uniquely passionate vocalist. He remembers first hearing the call of the Blues as young child attending church with his grandparents in Bakersfield, CA. The raw and intense emotions in church left a lasting impression which he carried with him into other music genres. At age 19, Brother Yusef picked up a guitar and began experimenting with reggae, rhythm and blues, and jazz. He found himself at a musical crossroads in 1989 when he went to the Bakersfield church of his childhood, to pay his last respects at his grandfather’s funeral. A soloist there began picking out a soothing church hymn on guitar, connecting Yusef to his grandfather, elders and ancestors in the rich tradition of the blues.

Brother Yusef has gained recognition from audiences and musicians throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County area for his range of sounds and emotions – sadness, joy, anger and laughter. He keeps “one foot in the past and one in the present”, by combining “traditional” finger picking and slide guitar playing with the contemporary feel of urban blues. Audiences love the full sound of his solo performances (he uses his right hand thumb to beat out a percussive bass-line and shuffle, while the index finger plays rhythm and lead lines); and musicians nicknamed him “Fatback” or “Fatt-Back Bluesman”, for his intense playing and vocal style.

Since 2001, Brother Yusef began performing regularly at Downtown Disney located at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. In addition, he also performs throughout North America and Europe at various festivals and special events.

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Source: Pasadena Journal

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