Northern exposure

kadrivoorand

Young Estonian jazz vocalist and composer Kadri Voorand will make her Israeli debut on February 20 in the framework of the Tallinn-Tel Aviv Festival at Hatahana complex in Tel Aviv. Voorand, who has performed her original music with her trio at many festivals and clubs worldwide, will participate in the Two Voices concert, sharing the stage with Israeli vocalist Miriam Meghnagi.

The award-winning vocalist, a graduate of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, is regraded as a great hope of Estonian jazz. She has been performing on stage from the age of five with her mother’s folk group.

“Growing up in an artistic family was great,” Voorand recalls. “A lot of different people came to our apartment to rehearse or just to visit my mother or father. I was often taken to the concerts. So I started to perform with the folk group when I was five or even younger. There was no regular system or order, but everything got done quite well or better.”

Although in high school she considered becoming a mathematician or designer, as she regarded music as an unwise choice, she finally realized that “Music was the most natural for my heart, since most of the time when I was not in school I was preoccupied with music: I wrote music, I listened to all kinds of it, such as folk, classical and weird combinations of 1980s pop and what not. I listened to whatever records and later CDs that we had.”

Voorand stresses that “Improvisation has always been a natural part of playing an instrument or singing. I started taking piano lessons when I was five and wrote my little childish compositions. I sang, danced and played different folk instruments in my mother’s folk group since I can remember. At eight, I had to start playing the violin in the ensemble because the violinist left the group. My task was to improvise something around the melody. I took a few violin lessons, but that was the instrument I played by ear and innate feeling. I loved it. I still studied classical piano at music school for 11 years, but the violin was the fun instrument for improvisations. I think it helped me a lot to train my ear,” she says.

She adds, “I also started to take an interest in a cappella music. After singing in many of the girl groups that my mother led, I put together one of my own, composed the arrangements myself, and soon we won first prize at the biggest a cappella school-level competition in Estonia. And my arrangements won awards as well. I guess this recognition was an important step in the jazz musician direction. For me, jazz meant the modern harmony of jazz and improvisation,” she says.

“I grew up in a small town and didn’t have anyone to tell me that jazz should sound like ‘this.’ I think it has only done me good. I still don’t think that I should follow any style. I just keep doing the music that I like, whatever it is. One day it’s minimalist classical, and another it may develop into punk rock. I guess what connects it is my sound. My voice tells stories of my own life; probably no one else could have the same sound. My trio is a combination of world music, simple melodic ideas, which leaves a lot of room for improvisation to produce beautiful sounds but to have fun as well,” she says.

 

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