A tribute to Billie Holiday

A hundred years after Billie Holiday was born, we are celebrating her musical 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.

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.

More than trying to resemble the musical expression of Billie Holiday, this project honors the vocal possibilities that are possible today thanks to the tradition she moulded and what later emerged from that. Like any genuine jazz project this breaks barriers and challenge the previous form by bringing a new vocal blend to it.

Sonia is half Norwegian and half Trinidadian; with roots in the afro-caribbean tradition. She has lived and studied music in Georgia, USA.

Piano: Oscar Jansen
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.



Easter this year started with a Tribute to Billie Holiday – a concert at CAFÉTEATERET,
Nordic Black Theater in Oslo with musician and singer Sonia Loinsworth.

The first number is God Bless the Child with text and melody by Billie Holiday herself. I am excited! And Sonia delivers. She is a restrainedly exuberant, fully charged and precise energy bomb surprising, seducing, and impressing her audience with a range out of the ordinary. Overtones, emotional charges, bold Indian ornaments combined with a delicate performance of classic songs like All of Me, Summertime and I've Got You Under My Skin are enough to make you swoon. Sonia is simply a full package! With full impact. Now and then like a digital audio machine at the outer reaches of the human register – accompanied on piano by Oscar Jansen; a wonder!

-Rita Westvik

"Sonia Loinsworths voice and the way she performed the concert in Stavanger yesterday was fantastic. Her meditative touch moved me to new heights, and she gave me a different and, in fact, rare concert experience."
— Reidun

"It was a very special experience. Such a magnificent voice is very unusual. It went straight to the soul. Thank you for a wonderful concert with a special emotional expression."

"Thank you, Sonia, for a magical concert. You offer your expression generously, and I am greatly impressed by the unique, enchanting and playful way that you use your voice. A whole new musical experience. The pianist was fantastic too!"
— Renate

"A remarkable universe of musical play and barrier-breaking vocal acrobatics. The magical atmosphere is irresistible, and no one is left unaffected by this experience. The air is filled with passionate and love-saturated sound that leaves you enchanted and changed. Thanks."

— Kim Birger

"Thank you so much for the magical concert yesterday. Your voice and performance moved both body and soul. It was beautiful to experience the fantastic interaction between you and the pianist. When I came home, I thought of the singer Yma Sumac." — Cathrine

"Sublime! Many thanks for a fantastic concert. Your being and your voice are unique!"
— Henning