Radka Toneff

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Radka Toneff
Birth name Ellen Radka Toneff
Born (1952-06-25)25 June 1952
Furnes, Norway
Origin Norway
Died 21 October 1982(1982-10-21) (aged 30)
Oslo
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Vocals

Ellen Radka Toneff (25 June 1952 – 21 October 1982) was a Norwegian jazz singer, daughter of the Bulgarian folk singer, pilot and radio technician Toni Toneff,[1] she was born in Oslo and grew up in Lambertseter and Kolbotn.[2] She is still considered one of Norway's most outstanding jazz singers.[3]

Career[edit]

Toneff holds a very special position in the Norwegian jazz history. With her moderate, but intense expression and her discerning musicianship, she made a deep impression on many people. Her highly personal and original qualities, where she combined influences from her father's musical heritage in Bulgaria, with a range of influences from, among other jazz and rock, led her to become a beacon for singers both in Norway and internationally.[2]

She studied music at Oslo Musikkonservatorium (1971–75), combined with playing in the jazz rock band «Unis». She also had her own Radka Toneff Quintet (1975–80), with changing lineup.[1] including musicians like Arild Andersen, Jon Balke, Jon Eberson and Jon Christensen, among others.[4] From 1979 she cooperated with Steve Dobrogosz.[1] In 1980 she participated in the Norwegian national final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Parken by Ole Paus.[2]

Toneff was awarded the Spellemannsprisen 1977 in the category best vocal for the album Winter Poem, and she posthumously received the Norwegian Jazz Association's Buddypris in 1982.[4] The Radka Toneff Memorial Award is based on a fund created with royalties from the albums Fairytales and Live in Hamburg.[4]

She lived with bassist Arild Andersen for some years, though she was involved with jazz drummer Audun Kleive at the time of her death.[5] She committed suicide.[6] A biography of Toneff was published in 2008.[5]

Toneff had roots in Bulgaria, she grew up on Lambertseter and Kolbotn in Oslo, and left deep traces in Norwegian jazz. In a poll of Norwegian musicians conducted by the newspaper Morgenbladet in November 2011, her 1982 album Fairytales was voted the best Norwegian album.[7] Her life flame burned short and intense, she left the world by her own hand at a young age, and was found dead in the woods of Bygdøy, with an overdose of sleeping pills in her blood, the autumn of 1982.[8]

Honors[edit]

Discography[edit]

Solo Albums[edit]

  • 1977: Winter Poem – with the Radka Toneff Quintet
  • 1979: It Don't Come Easy – with the Radka Toneff Quintet
  • 1982: Fairytales – with Steve Dobrogosz
  • 1992: Live in Hamburg – with Steve Dobrogosz, Arild Andersen, and Alex Riel (recorded in 1981)
  • 2008: Butterfly

Collaborative works[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Johansen, Per Kristian (30 July 2003). "Radka Toneff 1952-1982". Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  2. ^ a b c Halvorsen, Tore. "Radka Toneff". Norsk Biografisk Leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  3. ^ Johansen, Carl Kristian (1 September 2008). "Ny biografi om Radka Toneff i butikkene i dag". Ballade (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  4. ^ a b c "Radka Toneff Biography" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2008-09-08 Norwegian Jazz Archives (1994).  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ a b Breen, Marta (2008). Radka Toneff. Hennes korte liv og store stemme. Oslo: Kagge Forlag. ISBN 978-82-489-0755-8. 
  6. ^ "Radka Toneff" at the Wayback Machine (archived January 24, 2008) at MusicWeb Encyclopaedia of Popular Music
  7. ^ Breen, Marta (2008-08-27). "Norsk jazz’ store ikon" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 
  8. ^ Breen, Marta (2008-08-31). "Distansert blikk: Nyansert portrett, mangler en klo" (in Norwegian). Dagbladet. Retrieved 2013-10-14. 

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Knut Riisnæs
Recipient of the Buddyprisen
1982
Succeeded by
Terje Bjørklund, Knut Kristiansen & Espen Rud
Preceded by
Knut Riisnæs & Jon Christensen
Recipient of the Jazz Spellemannprisen
1993
Succeeded by
Egil Kapstad Trio