This women in jazz series has come to an end and for the last post I decided
to do something different, something special. Today I’ll write about a young
Slovenian jazz singer. Most of the musicians I listen to are from abroad and
are unfortunately not alive anymore, so writing about a young Slovenian singer
is something quite different.
I still remember the day I first heard Nina Strnad singing. I was watching television to kill some time and I was rushing through the channels to find something entertaining. All of a sudden I realized I passed something which was completely different than all the soap operas, commercials and low-budget movies on other channels. It felt like a snowball hit me. I stopped browsing, thinking “what was that?!”. I backed up a few channels and started listening to some kind of a concert. I turned on the volume and this beautiful, clear voice started coming out of the speakers. I was mesmerized by this girl’s singing and shocked that we have this voice in Slovenia and that I hadn’t heard about her. Immediately I wanted to find out who she was and I got so excited that I found some new music to listen to (I explained why I get so excited over new music in this post). After that, I started paying attention to her name and whenever I heard she’s playing somewhere, I’d try to go and listen. She was (and still is) just too good to pass on.
After a couple of concerts and jam sessions this year, I really got into her singing and now I always make sure I don’t miss her gigs, and I always recommend her to my friends - if you ever have a chance to hear her sing, take it! You won’t be sorry. At the moment, Nina is studying jazz singing in USA, so any readers from that area, pay attention to her name, and try to catch her gigs if she’ll have any.
This year she started performing some known popular, although older, Slovenian songs, but with a jazzy twist, which is just wonderful. I knew most of these songs before, but I feel like I’m hearing them for the first time when she does them. I really appreciate that she’s doing her own thing with these Slovenian songs instead of doing just jazz standards.
Nina’s gig by Žan Anderle
Last week, she came home because of Thanksgiving in the States and had a
concert at Ljubljana’s castle, which was the inspiration for this post (and it
just so happened that it coincided with my writing about women). Surprisingly,
she sang a lot of songs she had never sung before and it was just spectacular.
Unfortunately, none of these songs are online yet, but I’ll do another post as
soon as they are. The whole concert was amazing but three of my favourite
songs were Four Brothers with its nerve-wrecking tempo (for anyone who knows
the song - she actually sang all the lyrics!), Chaplin’s
Smile with a beautiful Slovene
translation (which she did by
herself) and most of all Thelonious Monk’s In Walked Bud. I love Thelonious
Monk and I love this song and I feel like she sang it exactly the way it was
supposed to be sung. I was trying to find a version which would resemble her
performance, but without any luck. The closest, I would say, is Carmen
McRea’s version, but even that’s
not close enough. She was just that good.
I genuinely appreciate the things she’s doing with the Slovenian songs, but I hope she’ll also continue with the stuff she was doing at this concert, because it was phenomenal.
I apologize I can’t supply more musical material with the post, but I wanted to write about her regardless of that, because I think she’s a Slovenian gem and because she’s actually my favourite female singer, who is still alive.