After a series of outstanding concerts in 2014 and 2015, the Songbirds Collective returns to Europe with the new CD Four Voices / Four Worlds in 2016. The three North American songbirds; Canadian Kyrie Kristmanson, Portland native Ashia Bison Rouge, and New Yorker Rachelle Garniez will be joined this time by Daisy Chapman from England, each presenting their original songs and compositions.
This is music which moves souls! A garland of four truly great voices, with all their beauty, imagination, and emotional power.
“In their new program, the four women demonstrate the fine art of penetrating the listeners’ souls with just the right song. Through their individual performances, they project enormous intensity and effortless conviction. . . a damn good idea to send all four on tour through Europe together, as it makes for an incredibly varied evening.” Salzburger Nachrichten 17.3.2014
Until now they’ve performed under the rubric “American Songbirds Festival“, but henceforth will be known as the “SONGBIRDS COLLECTIVE“.
Ashia Bison Rouge – Cello, Vocals
With Cello, Loopstations, effects, and her “powerfully expressive voice” (Berliner Morgenpost), Ashia Bison Rouge creates a whole world made of sounds, rhythms, moods and moving melodies. Dreamy, dynamic pop songs and rhythmic, electronic style pieces are connected by layers of ambient sounds to create what she calls a ‘Song Archipelego’ in her live shows. All the songs and compositions are performed live in the moment and only with her instruments and effects: no electronics, and no synthesizers. Think of it as an Organic-Cello Orchestra Concert! Her style at times comparable to the Portland Cello Project, Zoe Keating, as well as other cello based performers including 2 Cellos.
Ashia Bison Rouge is inspired by nature, ancestry, movement, and dance. Next to her solo-project she has performed with Cirque du Soleil, created pieces for Base Berlin Artistik, Chameleon Theater, and performs a key cello-playing-acting-singing role in the ‘acrobatical’ “Der Helle Wahnsinn”. She was born in Wrocław. Poland, then grew up near Seattle/Portland, USA, and currently lives in Berlin. In Spring of 2015 Ashia Bison Rouge had the honor to perform her solo songs with the Salem Chamber Orchestra in Salem, Oregon. She has also performed with the Songbird Collective, Portland Cello Project, Arstidir, Vagabond Opera and Jherek Bischoff.
Rachelle Garniez – Akkordeon, Piano, Vocals, Guitar
Rachelle Garniez is a native New Yorker who has earned the titles “Diva with a Difference” (Billboard Magazine) and “Master of Surprise” (Entertainment Weekly) by writing and performing darkly optimistic story-songs and by playing a variety of instruments including accordion, piano, claviola, guitar and plastic bells, “…leaving nothing behind but sweet wreckage.” (The New Yorker). In addition to 5 self-produced CDs, Rachelle recorded a single “My House of Peace“, which was produced by Jack White and released on vinyl by Third Man Records, June ’09. Rachelle also composed the music for Taylor Mac’s epic 5-hour long theater piece “The Lily’s Revenge” which premiered at Here Arts Center. She started to perform with bass player Tim Lüntzel in Europe in 2014 and has released her new album „Who´s Counting“ with JARO Medien, Germany
Kyrie Kristmanson – Guitar, Vocals; Trumpet
Her tender age of 22 belie the maturity of Kyrie Kristmanson‘s accomplishments. She writes and sings original songs; songs described by a Canadian music expert as “uniquely strange, refreshing and intriguing”. Her songs, though influenced by contemporary folk, medieval music, pop and jazz, still defy categorization. The Canadian music magazine “Exclaim!” puts it like this; “. . . how Bjørk would sound, if she were a swamp-boogie queen brought up on jazz. . .“. Among others, Kyrie has enchanted audiences at the London Jazz Festival, as well as opening for Emily Loizeau and Sophie Hunger. On her CD recordings, one can hear sparse guitar parts, chirping crickets, elements of percussive filigree, while a breezy jazz trumpet delivers an insouciant accompaniment to a shrill “chansonette”, in which the beauty of Nature, mysticism and spirits are celebrated. Kyrie Kristmanson will perform solo with the Songbirds Collective.
Kyrie became fascinated by the female troubadours or the trobaïritz, a little known group of singer-songwriters who lived in the South of France during the 12th and 13th centuries. She went on a pilgrimage during which she visited the ruins of their castles. Soon after, she began courses in medieval music at la Sorbonne, which culminated in a master’s thesis focused on the forgotten melodies of the trobaïritz. The research became the inspiration for her new album, “Modern Ruin“. Recorded at the 12th century Noirlac abbey, “Modern Ruin” is a dreamy and kaleidoscopic album for voice and string quartet. It is exemplifies the liberty of a few women in the medieval age combined with the audacity of contemporary musicians.
Daisy Chapman – Piano, Vocals
Daisy Chapman ranks at the top of the league among singer-songwriters. With the vehemence of her voice, the chamber-music-like arrangements, and the genius of her song texts, she unravels her personal tales. Her album “Shameless Winter” was highly praised by BBC moderator Johnny Coppin, featuring piano, loop station and of course the most powerful of instruments – her VOICE. On the EP “Hymns of Blame” (2006), she shines with her uniquely haunting version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, which a man dying of cancer had requested her to sing at his funeral. “I didn’t really know him, but his family was very nice. It was a very emotional day.” In 2008 Chapman made her solo debut in Great Britain with “And There Shall Be None“. She had already caused a furor though, with her melancholy Youtube rendition of Rihanna’s pop-hit “Umbrella”.
Besides other studio albums, “The Green-Eyed” (2009), “Shameless Winter” (2012), she also tours with Crippled Black Phoenix, and has worked with the likes of PJ Harvey, Spezi John Parish, and Howie Gelb.