While the Rolling Stones made history by playing Cuba, Lisa Fischer and her band Grand Baton announced new dates added to their current tour. Lisa Fischer is the renowned, Grammy award-winning backup singer who was featured in the film Twenty Feet From Stardom. Stones’ fans know her as the powerhouse vocalist who lit up the stage by singing backing vocals to classics like “Gimme Shelter” and “Miss You,” while touring with the Stones since ’89. Now, Lisa Fischer has branched off on her own with her band Grand Baton and is taking the world by storm, as she brings her own, unique sound to many of the classic Stones’ hits fans only heard her singing backing vocals to.
Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton Perform Gimme Shelter
While many backup singers never step into the spotlight, it was hard for Lisa to avoid it. Her on-stage presence was so dynamic that Stones’ fans considered her as part of the band. Her absence from the Rolling Stones tour hasn’t been without notice either.
Some fans have even questioned whether Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton will one day draw larger crowds in Cuba than the Rolling Stones themselves!
— Steve Burton (@steveburtoncpa) March 26, 2016
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Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton have wrapped up their Asian tour and are headed for New England, Washington, D.C., Texas, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Washington, and more. You may find a full lineup of shows scheduled for Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton at her official website. If you’re planning on seeing them in person, you might want to purchase your tickets well in advance as she’s been quickly selling out her shows.
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— Naomi Kinoshita (@kinoyan) March 13, 2015
One thing you’ll quickly notice about Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton is how they interact with their fans. Their shows are interactive and they usually spend time afterwards meeting and greeting the people who have come to see them. Their interactions with their fans aren’t reserved solely for the music halls, clubs, and theaters. Lisa Fischer is on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter and has recently joined Periscope, where she answers questions, shares her views on music, and simply takes time to interact with the fans who love her. While some might argue that Lisa Fischer has the best voice they have ever heard, they are quick to notice her humility, compassion, and sincere care for her fans. It might be that this humility that kept her from the front stage after her Grammy win for “How Can I Ease The Pain” may be what finally propels her to the front ranks where many feel she rightfully belongs.
And while Lisa Fischer is the main attraction, there is no overlooking the phenomenal talents of her band Grand Baton. Led by Jean-Cristophe Maillard, aka Grand Baton, the band features Maillard on guitar, the SazBass (an instrument he had custom-made) and keyboards, and Thierry Arpino on drums with Aidan Carroll on bass. Grand Baton is an eclectic mix of rock, electronica, and Caribbean beats and rhythms due to Maillard’s growing up in Guadeloupe. Grand Baton’s music features the gwo-ka drum, which is the traditional drum of Guadeloupe. The blending of Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton has resulted in jazz-infused pieces that many fans say border more on spiritual experiences rather than just listening to a phenomenal artist sing a song. It is common to find many Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton fans state after a show that they were spiritually touched by the performance.
Maillard spoke to Marinij about working with Lisa Fischer as her musical director and how they came to some of the renditions of the classic songs that they have become known for.
“I worked out rearrangements of some of the Stones songs, like ‘Gimme Shelter,’ using the SazBass. It was great. We really took these songs to completely different worlds, and Lisa felt really free and safe to let her voice completely wander on top of these exotic rhythms. She’s an amazing musician. Even where some of these rhythms were really new to her, she could quickly find herself in the music.”
Lisa Fischer also shared some insight on why she shied away from the spotlight for so long. In the same interview, she explained how she likes to sing with others, developing her musical skills with ensembles. The article states the following.
“As she tells it, Fischer’s general lack of interest in chasing stardom for herself flows from her formative musical experiences singing in an ensemble. She found the most inspiration when she joined forces with other voices, immersing herself in a choir.”
“Though I loved singing along with the records and singing each part that I heard, it was different feeling the vibration of voices around me and the voice inside myself all at the same time,” Fischer writes.”
That may be what fans notice most when leaving a Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton concert. Lisa Fischer never steps out front and center, as someone who loves the spotlight and wants all the attention on herself. She interacts with the members of Grand Baton in a harmonious fashion and often includes members of the audience. She isn’t an artist who wants to get on stage and perform for the sake of performing.
Lisa Fischer has a gift that she freely shares with others and as she states repeatedly, she just wants to sing.
And we want her to.
[Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images]