Projects: Christine Tobin Band; A Thousand Kisses Deep; Sailing To Byzantium
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Irish-born vocalist and composer Christine Tobin is based in the UK and spends her time between London and the beautiful Kent coast. Her style, although rooted in jazz, is eclectic and draws on a broad range of influences from Ireland to West Africa to Brazil (Oumou Sangare, Elis Regina etc). Her sound is rich, authentic and deeply expressive and was described by the Guardian as “Tobin’s 24 carat voice” while praising her both for the poetry of her compositions and her golden voice. Much of her repertoire is self-penned and Tobin has received many accolades for her skills as a writer and arranger. In 2012 she won a British Composer Award for ‘Sailing to Byzantium’, her settings of poems by W.B. Yeats and in August 2013 her interpretive powers were brought to the fore when she won a ‘Herald Angel Award’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for her show ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep”, her imaginative versions of Cohen classics. Also in 2013 she was shortlisted for two Parliamentary Jazz Awards, ‘Musician of the Year and ‘Album of the Year’. Romantic and radical, Christine is a musical free spirit who blurs the lines to create her own unique style that is streetwise and eclectic, earthy and ethereal. In 2008 she was named Best Vocalist at the BBC Jazz Awards and she won ‘Jazz Vocalist of the Year’ at the 2014 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
Her versatility and musical integrity has ensured that she is a much in demand guest with other bands. She has performed and recorded with a list of diverse creative artists, including musicians Kenny Wheeler, Mike Gibbs, Julian Joseph, Nigel Kennedy, Django Bates, Mark Turner, Billy Childs, BBC Big Band, Peter Herbert, Carleen Anderson, Tim Garland, Cleveland Watkiss, Gary Husband, Billy Hart, actor Gabriel Byrne, film director Mike Figgis and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon.
She recorded seven albums for Babel, one of the UK ‘s most dynamic and creative indie labels. In a 4 star ****review of her 2008 album “Secret Life Of A Girl” the Guardian wrote “Dublin-born singer Christine Tobin is a jewel of the London jazz scene, streets ahead of the pack… She should be on a global stage, rubbing shoulders with fellow troubadours like Cave, Mitchell and Cohen. [Her] eloquent songs are framed by masterful arrangements…There’s no self-indulgence: it’s all about the songs”. Jazzwise hail her as “probably the most adventurous jazz singer of her generation in this country, with the ideas and willingness to push back the boundaries and explore new territory with each new album.” Since 2010 she has released three highly acclaimed, award winning albums for Trail Belle Records, ‘Tapestry Unravelled’, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’’ and ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’.
Christine works regularly on the UK jazz scene, appearing at Ronnie Scott’s, The Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho, Vortex, The Sage Gateshead and many reputed festivals including the London Jazz Festival, Brecon, Cheltenham and Hull Jazz Festivals. On the international scene she has appeared at some of the most renowned jazz festivals including Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival U.S., Princeton University US, Kongsberg, Shanghai, Varna, Kalisz, Berlin, Rainforest Music Festival Borneo, Sons di Hiver Paris, Molde, Baku, Syria, Haarlem, Frankfurt and Cork International Jazz Festival.
Club appearances on the international scene include A-Trane Berlin, a weeks residency at the Half Note, Athens and residencies at the Jamboree, Barcelona.
Her vivid interpretations of Bessie Smith were featured in film director Mike Figgis’ Red, White and Blues docu/film in the Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues series. These films were commissioned by the PSB channel in the U. S. and screened at cinemas worldwide. Christine has also presented special features for BBC Radio 3’s cutting edge programme Jazz On 3 and appeared regularly on Alyn Shipton’s Jazz Library also for BBC Radio 3. She has contributed to programmes about Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Joni Mitchell and Carmen McRae. In 2012 she presented the award winning documentary ‘Out With Paganism and all that Jazz’ for RTE Lyric FM.
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01 Zoological Positivism Blues
02 Brandy And Scars
03 Secret Life Of A Girl
04 Stone Cold
05 Cuirt Bhaile Nua
06 Intellectual Engineer
07 He’s Not Anyone
08 Gloomy Sunday
A Thousand Kisses Deep
‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ is a programme of new arrangements of eleven Leonard Cohen songs. Christine has been a lifelong fan and her unique interpretations make an inspired celebration of the legendary Canadian singer, songwriter and poet. In her own songwriting, she specializes in idiosyncratic, highly musical poetic vignettes with a strong sense of story, so it’s no surprise she weaves such magic with the profound, sensual and mysterious songs of Cohen. The band is a team of great musicians; Huw Warren accordion & piano (long-time pianist/arranger with June Tabor), award winning guitarist Phil Robson, Dave Whitford double bass, and Brazilian percussionist Adriano Adewale (Antonio Forcione band). There is a rapport between the players that goes beyond everyday musicianship working on subliminal and emotional levels. This concert won a prestigious Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Festival.
“Christine Tobin is inspiring on her own material. But she is in a class of her own singing Leonard Cohen. Her new version of “Everybody Knows” is stunning… Gorgeous, affecting and deeply human.”
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01 Famous Blue Raincoat
02 Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
03 Tower Of Song
04 Take This Waltz
07 You Know Who I Am
08 A Thousand Kisses Deep
09 Everybody Knows
10 Story Of Isaac
11 Dance Me To The End Of Love
Sailing To Byzantium
‘Sailing To Byzantium’ is a collection beautiful settings of 12 poems by W.B Yeats. Christine won a British Composer Award for this work and the album received many 5 star reviews. She works with the poems on a deep intuitive level creating music that draws you into a world of unalloyed soulfulness, conjuring watercolour accompaniments that bring great warmth and luminosity to Yeats’s work. The broad palette of harmony and colour draws on influences from folk, jazz and twentieth century classical, from Miles to Messiaen. The line-up is Phil Robson guitar, Kate Shortt cello, Liam Noble piano and Dave Whitford double bass.
“In this beautiful collection of songs based on the poetry of WB Yeats, vocalist Christine Tobin has created an unqualified masterpiece.”
“She does this so successfully, that it’s possible to forgive anyone who asks how Yeats has managed to write such beautiful lyrics to Tobin’s tunes. There’s a timeless quality to the music and words on Sailing To Byzantium: a record that goes, as “The Lake Isle Of Innisfree” puts it, to “the deep heart’s core.”
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01 When You Are Old
02 The Lake Isle of Innisfree
03 The Song Of Wandering Aengus
04 The Wild Swans At Coole
05 The Fisherman
06 The Pity Of Love
07 The Second Coming
08 In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth & Countess Markiewicz
09 What Then
10 Sailing To Byzantium
12 Long-legged Fly
13 The White Birds