The English jazz-singer and songwriter, Guelma Lea, learnt to play classical piano from an early age. She studied music and theatre in England, moving to Paris to study acting with Ariane Mnouchkine at the ‘Théâtre du Soleil’. Her involvement in numerous music and theatre projects led her more and more in the direction of jazz as she began working with different musicians and performing her own songs.
After settling with her family in Hamburg, Guelma has worked as a jazz-singer in Germany and abroad.
Here are some of the places where she has performed: Birdland, Dennis’s Swing Club, das Feuerschiff, British Day, Das Piccolo Theater-Hamburg, Theaterschiff Batavia- Wedel, Consortium, Big Easy, Elysee Hotel, Steigenburger Hotel, Hafen-Klub, Jazz im Stellwerk, Subotnik, Jazzclub-Segeberg, Jazz Cafe-Lübeck, Jazzcafe–Kiel, Kulturforum-Kiel, Otto Walkes I.S.H. Benefiz Konzert, Hotel Aigues-Marine-Le Treport, Searanch-Marquenterre, Soirees Jazz-Eyguières, Jazztrain Festival-Hamburg, Tron Theatre-Glasgow Jazz Festival, Jazz in Vimeu Festival.
Her first CD, Into Jazz, released in 2000 was a live album of jazz standards. Then, in 2004, Shadows In The Fire – a compilation of 13 songs written by Guelma - was released and many of the songs from this album have been played on the radio (Deutsche Welle, NDR, Jazzhaus Radio- Tide). Her latest CD, Going With The Flow – a compilation of 12 of her songs - was released on the Starfish Label at the end of 2008. Two of the songs from this album are published in The German Book, Nil Edition, Sena Music.
In addition to singing and songwriting, Guelma has worked as both actor and musician in numerous music and theatre productions. She worked as actor in the French theatre group Coll’Image and in the Irish theatre group Púca. She performed in concertante versions of the Irish composer, Frank Corcoran’s opera Gilgamesh (1988) and the mini opera A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man Who Wanted To Sing at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival (1989). She played in the premier of the Irish writer, Philip Casey’s two-man play Cardinal (1990). She worked as a musician in a production of The Pit and the Pendulum with the German actress Elizabeth Pagitz at the Piccolo Theatre in Hamburg (1996).
She has also worked as educator, music director and sound technician in numerous theatre productions for young people, including a tour of schools in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia with Frank Wedekind’s play Spring Awakening (June 2005 ).