Amongst this year’s stars at the Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival - a jazz musician with Lithuanian roots N. Zuraitis

Nicole Zuraitis

During June 6th-8th at the Cruise ship terminal the Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival returns and will treat it’s festival lovers with a cozy and mesmerizing as well as a incomparable singing voice having performance by Brooklyn based singer and pianist Nicole Zuraitis.

 “All the wonderful people I meet unexpectedly. Christmas I spent in New York city and investigated how many Lithuanian jazz musicians do we have in the Big Apple. That is how I met Nicole Zuraitis. I wrote her a letter and she then invited me to the legendary New York jazz club “Birdland”. As soon as we met we hugged like we were sisters. It almost brought me to tears how she introduced to the audience her Lithuanian roots and was ecstatic that Lithuania was celebrating its centennial. While everybody was clapping at that moment I realized that jazz is the best ambassador. When I invited her to the festival Nicole was very excited and told me that her grandpa is happily smiling from Heaven” – said the organizer of the Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival Inga Grubliauskienė.

US born but Lithuanian roots having Nicole is not only a talented pianist, a composer that has released three solo albums but also the vocalist for the world famous “Birdland Big Band” as well as a faculty member of the “Litchfield Jazz Camp, teaching song composition and jazz vocal seminars all over the world. Additionally she is the laureate of many jazz competitions having during her career collaborated with many musicians such as Cyrille Aimee, Thana Alexa, Dave Stryker, Tom Chapin, Omar Hakim, Melanie Safka, Helen Sung and many others.

The last year was especially successful in her musical career: her latest 2018 released modern jazz album “Hive Mind” won the international award for best jazz and from that album her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” created together with her musician husband Dan Pugach was nominated at the prestigious Grammy awards for the category for best instrumental arrangement accompanied by vocalists or vocalist.

For her charizma, her strong vocal abilities as well as her emotionally resonant performances that has enchanted the USA Nicole Zuraitis can today be proud of her Lithuanian heritage due to her grandfather Danielius Zuraitis who together with his parents Juozapas ir Ona emigrated to the USA in 1909. As the artist grew up the real reason for her great grandparents migration became clear - Danielius' mother was Lithuanian of Jewish descent and to escape Jewish persecution migrated to the USA. Nicole never gave up her Lithuanian roots, she continues to keep in touch with the Lithuanian consulate in New York city, and participates in the many events hosted by the consulate and the society of Lithuanians living in America.

At the Klaipeda Castle Jazz Festival Nicole Zuraitis will perform with the professional and prolific Lithuanian Navy Orchestra led by conductor Egidijus Miknius.