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The women of Jazz Fest

Florence and the Machine @ Voodoo Experience 2010 || Photo by Wesley Hodges

The overriding WOW factor that jumped out most strongly when the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival lineup was released was the caliber of both the newer and established female artists in the lineup.

This year Jazz Fest organizers hit the nail on the head with their attention to the amazing array of new female talent, the best to emerge in a big way in recent years.

Seven of the premiere live female artists in the world jumped off the screen as I scrolled through the lineup and saw Janelle Monae, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Esperanza Spalding (who shocked the world last February by winning the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist in 2011), Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Jill Scott, Feist and Florence and the Machine -- a solid representation of the biggest female artists to ascend into the mainstream conversation as household names over the last six or seven years.

Additionally, established veterans of the festival circuit like Irma Thomas, the incomparable Mavis Staples (who will appear alongside Levon Helm Band for a very special set), Yolanda Adams, Bonnie Raitt, Marcia Ball and many more round out Jazz Fest's best overall lineup since at least 2008. Continue on for a video showcase of these ladies' showstopping talents.

Jazz Fest 2012 will take place April 27 - May 6 at the New Orleans Fairgrounds.

MAVIS STAPLES

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE

FEIST

JANELLE MONAE

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS

JILL SCOTT

ESPERANZA SPALDING

GRACE POTTER AND THE NOCTURNALS

YOLANDA ADAMS

MARCIA BALL

BONNIE RAITT

Stay tuned for more thematic video roundups as Jazz Fest 2012 approaches.

Wesley Hodges writes about music for Live Music Blog: NOLA and NolaVie.