Friday, December 30, 2011

Aga Zaryan interview in Turkish magazine...

(Editor) I have recently prepared for interview with Aga and came across her old interview given to Turkish magazine and a video evidencing this gig. Aga is as always stunning...

Polish jazz singer Aga Zaryan will enchant holidaymakers in the southwestern resort town of Bodrum tonight in what will be her first-ever appearance in Turkey. Accompanied by Tony Jones on bass, Monica Bulanda on drums, Şenova Ülker on trumpet and Uraz Kıvaner on piano, Zaryan will be onstage as a guest singer at the Cabo Verde club at the Yalıkavak Marina. Zaryan describes her relation with jazz as "love at first sight" and says even though she worked as an English teacher for many years, she never gave up on her dreams of jazz.

Having graduated with honors from the Frédéric Chopin Secondary School of Music on Bednarska Street in Warsaw, she also did post-graduate work at the Jazz Studies Program there. She has participated in international jazz workshops, and her albums have received platinum and gold status. She has come to be described as the "new hope of the Polish jazz scene."

Apart from giving many concerts in Europe and the United States, she also obtained a licentiate from the musical therapy department of the Lodz Academy of Music in 2004, focusing her thesis on the use of certain elements of jazz music in the process of musical therapy for youth and children. "The results of my thesis were interesting. Kids can also, thank God, enjoy swing. They don't have to be only Britney Spears fans," Zaryan says, laughing, during an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman at İstanbul's Ataürk Airport just before flying from İstanbul to Bodrum.

What inspired you to become a jazz singer?

It happened in 1996. My friend from music school, also a singer, gave me a recording of Ella Fitzgerald. He said this kind of music suits my voice, my taste. When I heard the first standard, "Black Coffee," my world turned upside down. It was love at first sight. The harmonies, melodies, mood, acoustic sound of the trio and the emotions the voice would bring made me feel emotional and hypnotized. A couple of months later I joined international jazz workshops in Warsaw and met American musicians who gave me hints on what to listen to and where to search. A year later I got a scholarship for the Stanford Jazz Workshop. Ray Brown was teaching bass and held master classes with all the students. I was surrounded with a beautiful, new, unknown world of music I wanted to learn more about. It felt like an ocean that never ends. It still feels the same after 12 years. My vocal teachers were encouraging me to go to New York. I visited the Big Apple and had my next great experience of listening to live jazz played by the giants I knew from CDs. I didn't leave Poland, but visited New York every now and then to find new inspiration.

You are considered one of the most talented Polish jazz vocalists of the younger generation. Your first album earned double platinum status and the other two reached gold status. How did you get to where you are today?

It took me many years to get wider recognition. I went to music schools in Warsaw and jazz workshops. I am lucky to sing with great musicians. I have my own lovely trio [Michal Tokaj on piano, Michal Baranski on bass and Lukasz Zyta on drums]. I also cooperate with very experienced musicians, such as Darek Oleszkiewicz, David Doruzka, Larry Koonse and Munyungo Jackson. I always knew that jazz is my passion and even though I was for many years a teacher of English as a second language for children, I would never give up on my dreams of music. I listened to a lot of instrumental jazz, went to good concerts, kept searching for my own voice and style in jazz. It takes a lot of time and patience. I would sing in clubs and at festivals for years, but I spread my wings two years ago with the help of my manager, who does amazing work. I made a breakthrough. Now I play concerts not only in Poland but all around Europe, Russia and the United States.

Your newest album, "Beauty is Dying," is your first album sung in Polish. What are the differences of singing in your mother language and singing in a second language?

"Beauty is Dying" is a very special project recorded last year for the 63rd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. I chose poetry written during World War II by young Polish poets. Michal Tokaj, my pianist, wrote the music and arranged it. It was an enormous challenge to sing in Polish. It's not an easy language to pronounce. We always feel emotional when we play these songs. My grandparents were fighting with Germans in this uprising for the freedom of Poland and its capital, Warsaw. Michal and I were born and raised in Warsaw, so it was a natural thing to record this album.

When will you release your next album?

We are planning on releasing a new album next year with many lyrics in English that I wrote and music composed by Michal Tokaj, David Doruzka, Larry Koonse and Darek Oleszkiewicz. I feel that this album will be a new chapter in my musical life. Before that we will release a live DVD and CD this autumn from a concert we played during a two-week tour I played this spring with Oleszkiewicz, Koonse and Munyungo Jackson. I had a real ball with these amazing musicians. Each concert was an amazing experience. They always helped me spread my wings.

You don't exclusively play with Polish musicians. Does playing with artists from different nations add something to your music?

Each great player adds some delicious ingredients to the music. I sing with musicians I meet on my way and find their playing inspiring. Some of them are my age, some much more experienced. All are unique; all have their own voice and stories to tell through the music. I don't care if they are from the Czech Republic or the US. Music is the main factor.

What is the philosophy behind your music? What emotions do you take as guides?

There is no philosophy behind music. I love being on stage and telling stories through songs and creating music with my band. If that makes other people happy or nostalgic or whatever good feelings the music brings, I feel fulfilled. It's a give-and-take process. We try to do our best and if the audience digs us, they give us great vibes in return. For me it's as simple as that! Music is my therapy.

This will be your first concert in Turkey. Have you ever been here before? What are your impressions of the country?

It will be my first time here. Can't wait to see what this experience will bring. All I know is that it's a beautiful country and has many people with a lot of passion.

Are you familiar with any Turkish music or Turkish jazz singers?

Unfortunately, I am not familiar with Turkish music, but I am looking forward to hearing some during my stay. I know Uraz Kıvaner -- a young, talented Turkish pianist who invited me to play a concert with him in Bodrum -- and also a great jazz vocalist Sibel Köse, who has a great sound and feeling of swing and jazz.

1 comment:

  1. wciąż mam w głowie niezapomniany koncert W Synagodze pod Białym Bocianem we Wrocławiu, doskonała muzyka. Księga olśnień to doskonała płyta. Jestem oczarowana Agą Zaryan.


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