AYANNA WOODS is a Grammy-nominated performer, composer and bandleader from Chicago. Her music explores the spaces between acoustic and electronic, traditional and esoteric, wildly improvisational and mathematically rigorous. A collaborator across genres and forms, her work spans new music, theater, film scoring, arranging, songwriting, and improvisation. She earned her B.A. in music from Yale University.
Woods has been commissioned by Third Coast Percussion, Chanticleer, The Crossing, the Percussive Arts Society, Manual Cinema, Lorelei ensemble, the Chicago Children’s Choir, Boston Children’s Choir, and Chicago Chamber Choir.
In 2018, she originated her role as a vocalist in Place,a new oratorio about gentrification and displacement co-conceived by Pulitzer finalist Ted Hearne, director Patricia McGregor and poet/librettist Saul Williams.
Her music appears in a range of film and theater projects. Two of her songs are featured in the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls. In 2017, she and her sister Jamila Woods co-composed the score for No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks, a live film created by writers Eve Ewing, Nate Marshall, and Emmy-winning performance collective Manual Cinema. She continues to tour the U.S. and Canada with Manual Cinema as a bassist and music director.
As a gigging musician, she is a sought-after bassist and improvisor. She toured the west coast and performed at Pitchfork Music Festival in 2019 as bassist for TASHA. She’s currently recording a debut album with her own band, Yadda Yadda.
Woods is a recipient of Third Coast Percussion's 2017 Emerging Composers Partnership, a 2017 3Arts Make A Wave grant, and a 2020 DCASE Individual Artist Program grant.