Lisette about Siawaloma:
“Of all music genres, I believe that jazz has the greatest immediacy. Most jazz music is a product of the present, is born of the moment”, declares artist Lisette Spinnler, one of the most remarkable female vocalists to come out of Switzerland. Together with her band “Siawaloma”, she has recorded an album of the same name on
Wolfgang Muthspiel’s material records label, which hooks the listener with the virtuosity, expressivity and versatility of her silky, erotic vocals and the interplay between the quartet as a whole.
“Siawaloma” is a Burkina Faso word meaning community. “I spent a few weeks there with a music group: people spent the entire day playing music, dancing and eating together – they have neither jobs nor anything else to keep them busy. Everyone relies on one another, which is why the community feeling is so pronounced there.” It is exactly “Siawaloma” that Lisette has with the exceptional musicians that make up the quartet – Colin Vallon (piano), Alex Hendriksen (saxophone), Patrice Moret (bass) and Michi Stulz (drums). “Each one of us has high regard for music that is created by a collective”. Lisette is especially renowned for her scat and singing in languages that she herself has invented. Yet, something else sets her apart, namely her ability to ensure that her voice is on a par with the other four instruments. Siawaloma is not a simple case of a singer and her backing band, but rather a group of five improvisers who let the music take shape and develop organically.
“We try to produce music without relying on set arrangements. The goal is to plumb
the depths, to stir emotions. We often start with a basic song structure, which we play around with and provoke different reactions… spin a thread, wind it, unwind it and let it guide us. This always leads to the creation of music that is new to us and that
quickly reaches and strikes a chord with the audience. Anyone who comes to our
concerts embarks almost automatically on a journey with us, which in turn makes our
music a shared adventure”. For Lisette Spinnler and her quartet, it is not about
chasing a foreseeable goal and definitely not about a specific style. What counts is
ensuring the quality of the entire musical process. This results in the unmistakable
Siawaloma sound. “During this process my voice offers so many opportunities to
transform myself into an instrument, but virtuosity per se is not the actual goal.
Instead, it acts as an aid for me to express myself, my emotions, and is ultimately the
product of my experiences.”
Inspired by the Italian mezzo soprano Cecilia Bartoli, Lisette Spinnler spent four years
studying to be classical singer, before being bitten by the jazz and improvisation bug
which suited her temperament and abilities perfectly. “Improvisation is a creative
process which, when it emerges completely spontaneously, preferably honestly and without premeditation, gives rise to totally surprising and absolutely uplifting
moments.” Her lecturers at the University of Music in Basle included Sandy Patton and
Susanne Abbuehl. Now a lecturer herself at her alma mater since 2006, Lisette
Spinnler declares that “I too learn so much by teaching and I love working with the students. Passing singing on to others is a delicate and emotional undertaking. Like creating music, it requires a strong presence and a knowing engagement with the voice, sound and body”. She cites Bobby McFerrin, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Miles Davis and Ella Fitzgerald among her musical heroes.
Born 1976, grew up in Wittinsburg, lives in Basle. Ten years of piano lessons. At 17, began singing lessons. University of Music, Basle (Sandy Patton and Susanne Abbühl). In 1999 awarded a scholarship from the Friedl Wald Stiftung (jury member: George Gruntz) and forms her first band. In 2001 named best solo artist at the Montreux OFF Festival (jury member: Thierry Lang). Lecturer in the Jazz Department of the
University of Music, Basle since 2006. Has toured extensively in Switzerland and overseas with, among others, the European Jazz Youth Orchestra, Cojazz (Andy Scherrer, Stephan Kurmann, and Peter Schmidlin), BraffOesterRohrer, Theodosii Spassov, Christoph Stiefel, Adrian Mears (Requiem Op. 48, Der Berner Totentanz), Jean-Paul Brodbeck, Fabian Gisler, Domenic Landolf, Thomas Moeckel, Franz
Hellmüller, Rafi Woll.