Out in the backyard behind Raw Remedies, singer-songwriter Kaylie Foster finishes up a soulful set to an enchanted and growing crowd. Despite Sunday night’s howling winds and frigid temperatures, the sounds beckon listeners into a bohemian paradise.
Raw Remedies, situated on the same Downtown street where the Gypsy Den once stood, is the Arts District’s first black-owned therapeutic beauty salon, specializing in natural hair care. Once a month, it’s also home to Soul Sessions Las Vegas, a community-oriented open-mic and live music event founded and run by local women of color.
“We built this place from the ground up,” Soul Sessions co-founder Tree Hill says during a pause in the event’s fourth-anniversary celebration. The earliest versions didn’t feature a stage to speak of, and indoor house lamps illuminated the backyard. Today, it’s lit by the quaint glow of string lights overhead, which point to tapestry-filled tents, booths and the swirling scent of Palo Santo.
“We wanted something for the community that wasn’t here,” Hill says. “Something new, something in the Arts District that would bring more diversity and new energy. We always want to keep it interesting.”
This time, the rotating cast of performers includes the powerful Lisa Mac, Jamaican-born Roy G, CoCo Jenkins on cello with experimental MC Nat the Lioness, fiery hip-hop head Artson, indie-folksters The Slept-Ins and headliner Aceyalone, an LA rapper who dates back to the early 1990s and Freestyle Fellowship.
Soul Sessions takes place the Sunday after First Friday and focuses artists who do more than play music, Hill says; they create art that speaks to a person’s mind, body and spirit. “The community really makes it what it is,” she adds. “We want this to be a place where the community always feels safe and open and respected. We really want to continue progressing.”