Her name is Jamila Falak and in Jamaica that name is just as uncommon as the upright bass, which she plays. Being both a singer and an instrumentalist are a stark juxtaposition in the portrait of the Jamaican music landscape. But Falak is and carries with it diverse meanings ranging from heaven, to outer space, limitless and orbit but the one that may be most befitting to Jamila Falak is “beautiful star”.
Born Jamila Falak James on November 27, 1993 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, music was always an integral part of her formative years. Jamila attended the Herbert Morrison Technical High School in Montego Bay, which has a tradition steeped in musical excellence. During this period she further embraced her love for singing and instruments playing the flute, steel pan, violin to name a few. This became the true starting point of her musical journey.
Upon leaving high school, she furthered her musical education at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz and Popular Music Studies majoring in voice. During her studies she was introduced to Esperanza Spalding, a singer and upright bass player, who had such a profound impact on her that she immediately opted for upright bass lessons. She joined the college’s classical string orchestra as a second violinist and later became its principal upright bassist. The rest is history. From this experience, Jamila has benefitted from the mentorship of world-class composer and musician, Peter Ashbourne.