A tribute to Billie Holiday

A hundred years after Billie Holiday was born, this project celebrates the spirit of her artistic life.

She paved the path for female singers within the genres of blues and jazz, and portrayed through a long career the hard life available for women of color at the time. Billie Holiday recorded a wide range of classics and her music is still played widely throughout the world. The songs she sang and wrote have been reproduced in hundreds of new recordings by other artists over the past century.

More than trying to resemble the voice of Billie Holiday, this projects acknowledges the history and background from where she arose, and in that spirit applies a bold and experimental approach to these songs. From contemplative chant-like renditions to vocal experimentation at the edges of the human vocal register, the spirit of authenticity, depth and improvisation is being held in a contemporary soundscape.

Sonia Loinsworth began her music career as a singer within the styles of jazz, soul and funk on Oslo's music scene in the 80s. At one point she went over to modal music, singing Norwegian folk songs interpreted with harmonic chant and multilayered vocal tracks. Her vocal work has been influenced by classical Indian vocal ornamentation and various vocal styles from the Himalayas. Sonia proceeded into 15 years of composing, recording and giving concerts/recitals with Buddhist mantras. When she returns to the classical jazz repertoire, Sonia draws on these traditions, while maintaining the contemplative aspect. She interprets the classical jazz repertoire within a large vocal span from the lyrical and intimate to the metallic and experimental. Sonia is half Norwegian and half Trinidadian; with roots in the afro-caribbean tradition. She has lived and studied music in Georgia, USA.

Oscar Jansen has been an active gospel and jazz pianist for more than 25 years. The combination of jazz, gospel and church organ styles adds an exciting element to his playing, making it tailor-made for this project. Oscar has recorded and toured in Norway and internationally with a long series of musicians in band and duo projects. Oscar teaches piano at the University of Agder, Norway.