Daniela Clynes

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Biography of Daniela Clynes

"Gifted, angelic voiced singer" (Time Out)

British singer / songwriter Daniela Clynes's debut studio album "Gentle Persuasion" was recorded with musicians from both Daniela's native city London, and her current home New York. It is an eclectic mix of jazz, theatre songs and acoustic pop; the diversity of which is unified by the jazz sensitivity of the musicians.

Daniela Clynes has worked extensively as a jazz & cabaret singer; leading various bands since finishing the Guildhall School of Music post graduate jazz course, early 90's. Her first quintet formed with saxophonist, Martin Hathaway led to a songwriting collaboration between them, with Daniela providing lyrics to Martins original compositions. She also formed a ten piece fusion group with trumpeter, Noel Langley and pianist, Peter Churchill called "Calumet" (including Roger Beaujolais-vibes, Ralph Salmins-drums, Pete Eckford-percussion) for a debut at the Barbican Centre.

During these early years in her career, Daniela made appearances as guest soloist with the Michael Garrick Ensemble, Eclectic Voices, and the London Jazz Orchestra (while Norma Winstone was on tour).

A more cabaret based band was formed with Noel Langley for dates at the Pizza on the Park, where Daniela has performed regulary to full houses since 1995. The line up of musicians for these shows has varied over the years; but at the beginning of 1999 with two different shows during January & February Daniela's first 'live' album was recorded. One show being a duo with the unique talents of pianist Liam Noble; while for the second bass player, Geoff Gascoyne and drummer, Clark Tracey joined the stand.

An invitation to take part in a three week workshop with other performers from various stylistic backgrounds; led to Daniela originating the role of the American Wife in the opera, "Hotel" written by award winning playwright, Caryl Churchill and composer, Orlando Gough. This Second Stride production, directed by Ian Spink, toured England and Germany in 1996 and '97.

A year, or so, later Orlando Gough and Richard Chew created an eighteen piece a' capella vocal group called, "The Shout" of which Daniela was an original member. This expanded on the idea of using singers from a great variety of backgrounds including: jazz, classical, gospel, classical Indian,opera, blues and musicals; and featured excellent exponents of every style.

Names such as Ian Shaw, Carol Grimes, Melanie Pappenheim, Wayne Ellington, Manikam Yogeswara ... combined to form an astonishing blend of differences which never fails to wow audiences.

Daniela remained with The Shout through hugely successful seasons at the Drill Hall, BAC, Purcell Room, the National Portrait Gallery & the Roundhouse; and national tours and radio & television broadcasts. Their debut album, "Arrival" was released in 2001.

Daniela created her first one woman show, "Childsplay", which ran at the Canal Cafe Theatre during the summer of '95; and the theatre asked her to return with a Christmas show ("Stockingfillers" performed with Ashley Knight) later that year.

Her most recent one woman show, "Journey", is based on the true story of a woman's life from surviving the Warsaw Ghetto escaping to Israel in 1950, and moving to England to begin a 'third life' in 1960. It features James Pearson (piano) and Sam Burgess (bass); and is a combination of the structural storytelling of theatre with the spontaneous creativity of jazz.

Premiered at the Pizza on the Park at the end of 2000, the show moved to the Kings Head Theatre, Islington in July 2001 where it was filmed.

Her Jazz collaborations include lyric writing for compositions by: Django Bates & Iain Ballamy, Martin Hathaway, Anita Wardell and American guitarist, Ron Affif.

Currently performing as a quartet with Jonathan Gee (piano), Sam Burgess (bass) & Clark Tracey (drums) which was formed for the 2000 London Jazz Festival.

Daniela went into the studio with this band during 2001 to begin work on her debut studio album.

She then flew to New York for recording sessions to add horns and percussion to the original tracks; with some of the finest musicians there playing on those sessions.

The resulting album, "Gentle Persuasion" is out on new, independant label Mistress Music; and was launched at the 606 Club on Dec. 3rd 2003.
Further gigs around London and abroad followed to promote this CD.


"London based singer Daniela Clynes launches her own label with this sometimes soulful, often ecstatic, always highly musical and imaginative collection of songs, recorded in London and New York during 2001. Even a casual glance at Clynes set-list suggested that I was in for something promising – “Kineret”? Not heard of that before. “The Midnight Sun” by Lionel Hampton and Johnny Mercer? Haven’t come across that in years. “In The Wee Small Hours” and “Lover Come Back To Me”? Fair enough because it’s in the context of such interesting and unusual material, and it’s great to see Clynes’s generous nod towards the contemporary British jazz scene with tunes by Iain Ballamy and Django Bates, and by Kenny Wheeler.

Of course none of the above would matter if she couldn’t sing, but Clynes’s ability to fuse a resourceful technique with her own distinctive sense of “this is me” is clear from the opening track. “Kineret” – as it turns out is a Jewish tune that Clynes has decked out with sonorous brass arrangement and a driving rhythmic groove that, because of the tunes modal tendencies, sounds surprisingly Coltrane-like. Jonathan Gee picks up on similar vibes with a solo that evokes McCoy Tyner, and throughout Clynes soars elegantly above the ensemble, intoning the rising contours of the tune with operatic panache. “Gentle Persuasion” is the theme by Bates and Ballamy which Clynes has added her own lyric, and the track shows more playful and wry side to her musical persona than the barnstormer opening. Clynes’s lyric is a charming piece of nonsense verse, reminiscent of Edward Lear, about a bird and a child who fly off into the sky together. She decorates the original line with deftly handled bird-like trills and puckish decorative turns that get underpinned by skittish figurations and spiky Latin percussion lines from the ensemble.

Of the standard material, “Lover Come Back To Me” is especially impressive, with Clynes incorporating adroitly borrowed Mark Muphysisms and a hearty belly-laugh into the flow. “Child Of Man” is intelligent pop, while the moody brass of Clark Clayton’s arrangement for “Midnight Sun” places Clynes in a knowingly cod-1930’s setting. However, Clynes leaves her most powerful statement to last. “Farewell” is a touching ballad to lost love, and mournful yet optimistic lyric is given added piquancy by a strangely contorted chromatic melodic line. I reckon that ballad performances couldn’t come much more honest than this, and this valedictory track ends an extraordinarily assured debut with emotional blast."

[March 2004 Jazz Review Magazine]

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