"...one of the local jazz scene’s most promising performers." – The Washington Post
"Lena Seikaly [is] one of the contenders for D.C.'s best singer, with a rich voice and precise articulation that belies her enormous creativity on the vocal." – Washington City Paper
"The lovely young D.C. vocalist Lena Seikaly is gaining a national reputation. Little wonder: her full-bodied voice has power and confidence far beyond [her years], and her litheness and control is incredible. [She is] well on her way to a major singing career…" – Washington City Paper
"Ms. Seikaly sings with a rich mezzo-soprano voice, using intonation, timbre and control that reflect her classical training. Her phrasing, feeling and improvisatory leanings come from an understanding of jazz values." – Doug Ramsey (2008 Lifetime Achievement award-winning jazz journalist)
Named “one of Washington’s preeminent jazz singers" and "brightest voices in jazz" (The Washington Post), as well as a “major league young talent in jazz" (Duke Ellington’s biographer, Dr. John Hasse), jazz vocalist and Washington, DC area-native LENA SEIKALY is already making her mark in national and international jazz circles as a revivalist of traditional jazz vocals, as well as an innovator in contemporary vocal jazz styles. She was one of eleven semi-finalists for the prestigious 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocals Competition in L.A., and is an alum of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in DC, the Jazz Aspen Snowmass program directed by Christian McBride, and the Strathmore Artist-in-Residence program in Maryland. As the leader of her own trio, quartet and quintet, Lena has performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Blues Alley, the Hamilton, Strathmore Music Center and Mansion, Sidney Harman Hall, various Smithsonian venues and DC’s famed Westminster Church, and has headlined the Elkhart Jazz Festival (Elkhart, IN), Mel Bay Jazz Festival (St. Louis, MO), Chestertown Jazz Festival (Chestertown, MD), DC Jazz Festival (Washington, DC), and Center City Jazz Festival (Philadelphia, PA). She has been a featured vocalist with Byron Stripling, Norman Simmons, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, U.S. Army Blues, Capitol Bones Big Band, Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, and at West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage. Lena has released three albums under her name, and a fourth album — a duo project with guitarist Steve Herberman entitled “A Little Closer" — was released at Blues Alley in February of 2018. Her music is played regularly on DC’s jazz station WPFW 89.3, and “A Little Closer" was featured on Washington DC’s NPR station, WAMU 88.5 shortly after its release.
As an avid educator and workshop instructor, she has taught privately and led regular workshops on jazz vocals at the Strathmore Music Center, served as the jazz vocal instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts during 2008-09, and currently teaches privately in Washington, DC. Lena is also a classically-trained operatic mezzo-soprano, having studied at the University of Maryland School of Music under the instruction of François Loup. She was the first-place winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters’ 2008 DC chapter opera competition, and continued to win fifth place at the national competition in Bloomington, IN. She is very active in the DC area as a professional classical mezzo-soprano, and regularly performs as a soloist alongside the city's top orchestras and choirs, having been featured in works by Handel, Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Durufle, Vaughn Williams, Barber and Bernstein, as well as 20th century and early sacred music. As an arranger, Lena had the unique privilege of being commissioned to arrange a suite of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music for a 16-piece version of the New Orchestra of Washington, which premiered in 2012.
A proud Palestinian American, Lena has also been involved in many Arabic fusion projects both in the U.S. and abroad — in summer of 2015, she toured in Palestine (West Bank) and Israel as the featured vocalist with Al-Manara, a European-Palestinian ensemble performing original music based on the life of its Palestinian composer and founder, Ramzi Aburedwan.