HANKA G is a New York-based jazz, soul, R&B, world music, and gospel singer & lyricist originally from Slovakia, growing up in the Mongolian desert. Considered one of the most talented jazz singers of the present times with her powerfully sensitive, gospel-filled voice, she is the rising star in the US and world jazz scene, fusing Slovak folk music with jazz, R&B, soul & gospel, and performing with her band all over the world. HANKA is a soulful singer who stretches the boundaries of jazz with her multi-cultural sensibilities masterfully fusing Slovak folk music with jazz, soul, and gospel music. She transcends any sort of limitations that the designation "jazz sings" might put on her. HANKA has been acknowledged by her mentor Cassandra Wilson as "The Best of the Next Generation".
Born in Slovakia, HANKA spent her childhood years in the Mongolian desert with her parents, who were professors of geology. Some of the first melodies she learned were Mongolian, and the experience left a profound mark on her life. Besides being a professor, her father sang and played guitar and loved American rock ‘n roll. After the 1989 revolution that finally rid the country of communism, Slovakia opened to the rest of the world, and HANKA became especially fond of Motown music. During her university studies and after a short stay in the United States, she won a grant from a Slovak music organization to record her debut album and had the opportunity to work with the best musicians in Slovakia.
Her new album UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY is the first album recorded and released in the United States. HANKA has released three albums in Europe, which include Reflections of My Soul (2007), Essence (2014), and Twin Flame (2017). Essence and Twin Flame were both nominated for “Best Jazz Album of the Year” in Slovakia. HANKA produced the UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY album together with three stellar jazz musicians – JAMES HURT, SHEDRICK MITCHELL, and RODNEY KENDRICK. HANKA says, “My latest project was framed through the lens of an immigrant in the USA trying to unite people with different musical heritages. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all dream about love, happiness, and freedom.” HANKA’s love of jazz grew out of her exposure to the great black American jazz masters, and on UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY, she pays particular tribute to the African American women singers that have influenced her. Joined by a truly stellar group of New York-based musicians, UNIVERSAL ANCESTRY is an opportunity for jazz lovers across the country and the world to appreciate HANKA’s unique blend of musical styles that have captivated New York audiences.
When Cassandra Wilson was touring Europe, HANKA’S album Essence caught Wilson’s attention, and she hired HANKA as an opening act for her concert in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. The two became friends, and Wilson became HANKA’s mentor. Wilson invited HANKA to come to the U.S., and in 2016 HANKA moved to New York City where she quickly established her singing career. Currently, HANKA is actively performing at all NYC jazz hot spots and tours the world. Besides being actively involved & performing in the US jazz scene, HANKA was also the guest lead singer for the Memorial Baptist Church in Harlem for almost two years.
Prior to moving to the US, HANKA opened for Kurt Elling in Slovakia and toured with Rodney Kendrick’s trio in South Africa. During her most recent European tours in 2018 and 2019, she performed with jazz legends bassist Reggie Workman, drummer Taru Alexander and Grammy award-winning bassist Michael Bowie. She has performed and recorded with Anthony Wonsey, Marvin Sewell, Sherrod Barnes, Ron Jackson, Marcus McLaurine, Lonnie Plaxico, Rashaan Carter, Essiet Okon Essiet, and David Ginyard, Antoine Roney, and Nathaniel Townsley, among others. HANKA has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Slovak lifetime achievement award in the jazz category and the “Martoník’s Award” in 2017, being the second female jazz artist ever to receive this honor in the 31 years of the award’s existence.