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Sonia Slany

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Biography of Sonia Slany

Sonia Slany talks about her career

Having trained as a classical violinist and pianist I joined a rock band, The COMMUNARDS straight out of college. This opened my mind to many different options and ways of creating music.This rock work opened up my rhythmic sense, and led to writing and arranging for bands such as The Cranberries, Mark Knopfler, Teenage Fanclub, The SuperFurry Animals, The Stranglers, Freakpower, Boy George and BJORK. All these tracks were recorded by the group I lead, ELECTRA STRINGS, co-founded with Jocelyn Pook after the Communards experience.

With Electra I have toured with Mark Knopfler, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Massive Attack, Meatloaf, Egberto Gismonti, The Cranberries, Beverley Craven and performed live with Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Michael Nyman, P.J.Harvey, SEAL and others.

We have a strong involvement with the WOMAD Recording weeks, recording with Peter Gabriel who wrote in his album: 'I very much enjoyed their warmth, openness and willingness to experiment - one of my favorite tracks'...

Part of my job as an arranger in pop music is to open people up to more of the possibilities of strings and musically, that we play in a string quartet as if we were a rock or jazz band. Three years ago I started another band called FOUNDRY with another composer. This was to play our original compositions in the contemporary mould. We recorded some of our work on the Oxygen Label (release due in November), and a collaboration with singer Paul Lewis on the same label.On the Village Life Label is my current release of original string pieces called 'MEETING ELECTRA' with Paul Clarvis on drums and percussion. The main perspective of these pieces is integration, on all levels.

I am writing a new work for the composing/ improvising collective of musicians who comprise BUBBLING UNDER' which integrates music from around the world. This is based on African xylophone music and repetitive trance rhythms. Having studied sound for healing uses for three years (and REIKI, colour and movement) I wrote a healing album and released it on cassette myself. The current version of that is based on the monochord, an overtone instrument, and trance music and rhythms. This was released on Village Life in Autumn 1998.

Future work planned involves remixes of my string album by Fernando da Ponte, a collaboration with artist Grace Conner, some jungle drum and string tracks, a tour with Egberto Gismonti who is writing new material for Electra Strings and the ECM 30th anniversary concert and a BUBBLING UNDER tour later this year. We also arranged a Village Life Festival at the Royal Academy in October 1998, to feature all bands on the label started by myself and partner Paul Clarvis.

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