Sonja Kristina

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Sonja Kristina
Birth name Sonja Kristina Shaw
Born (1949-04-14) 14 April 1949 (age 65)
Brentwood, Essex, England
Genres Progressive rock, Folk, Acid folk
Occupations Singer-songwriter, Actor
Years active 1960s–present
Labels Cherry Red Records
Associated acts Hair (musical), Curved Air, Mask

Sonja Kristina (born 14 April 1949,[citation needed] Brentwood, Essex, England) is an British songwriter, musician and actor, best known for starring in the seminal 1960s musical Hair, and being the vocalist of Curved Air.


Kristina was born in Brentwood[not in citation given] as Sonja Kristina Shaw,[not in citation given] daughter of a criminologist and granddaughter of Swedish actress Gerda Lundequist.[1]


Kristina first appeared on stage at the Swan Folk Club in Romford at the age of thirteen. Her first professional gig was at a Folk Festival in Southgate, London a year or so later. By 1968, while studying at the New College of Speech and Drama, Kristina was helping to run, and performing at, the Wednesday evening sessions at London's Troubadour Folk Club. She was generally known on the folk scene as "Sonja" having previously appeared several times on the British children's TV show "Song and Story" under that name.[2] Her first manager was Roy Guest of Folk Directions.[3]

In 1968, Kristina auditioned for and won the part of "Crissy" in the London stage production of the stage musical Hair.[4] She features on the original cast album singing the song "Frank Mills", also released as a single.[2] She also briefly sang with The Strawbs, following the departure of Sandy Denny.[4][5] Dave Cousins remembered:

"Or Am I Dreaming" (on Strawbs LP) was very much inspired by the sessions I used to do at the Troubadour with Sonja Kristina .... When Sandy left the band Sonja was going to be her replacement, but she did one show with us at a folk club in Chelmsford, and that was it. The reprise was about the magic mountain music man, which was me... that was in the poem I wrote about her which was going to be in the book of my poems that was never released.

Cousins eventually published the book, called The Bruising of Hearts, The Losing Of Races, in 1993. It included a poem "Silver Smile", written for Kristina in the late 1960s.[6]

Curved Air[edit]

According to AllMusic, it was Galt McDermott, producer of Hair and another musical Who the Murderer Was, who employed the four members of Curved Air as a house band, who suggested when the stage show closed that they add Kristina to the line-up.[7] Another version has it that manager Mark Hanau had the idea Kristina's vocals could become a vital ingredient in a new band.[2][8] On 1 January 1970 the singer received an official invitation to become a member of Curved Air. She remembered while sitting backstage on the theatre stairs listening to a cassette of the band's music Hanau had given her, and being much impressed.[9]

Curved Air had a changing line-up over their nine albums (1970–1976 and 1990), with Kristina being the only constant element. Since 2008, she has taken part in a series of Curved Air reunion concerts.[4]

After Curved Air, she returned to Hair. She has also performed solo, including as part of the acid folk movement in London in the early 1990s, culminating in her critically acclaimed Songs from the Acid Folk in 1991,[4] and in a multi-media duo MASK, with Marvin Ayres.[10]

In 2008, Curved Air was reformed with other original members including Daryl Way, Florian Pilkington-Miksa, and was later joined by Kirby Gregory. The band continues to record and perform internationally.[11]

Albums with Curved Air[edit]

Albums as Sonja Kristina[edit]

Sonja Kristina (1980)
  1. "Street Run" (Sonja Kristina, Alfie Agius)
  2. "Man He Colour" (Kristina, Agius)
  3. "Colder Than A Rose In Snow" (Paul Travis, Norma Tager)
  4. "Breaking Out In Smiles" (Kristina, Tager)
  5. "Mr Skin" (J.Ferguson)
  6. "Roller Coaster" (Kristina)
  7. "Full Time Woman" (Travis, Tager)
  8. "The Comforter" (Kristina)
  9. "St. Tropez" (Kristina, Paul Rudolf, Tager)
  10. "Fade Away" (Roy Hill)
Songs From The Acid Folk (1991) (with TY-LOR and friends)
All songs by Sonja Kristina except as shown
  1. "Anna"
  2. "Devil may care"
  3. "Melinda more or less"
  4. "Man he Colour"
  5. "This is not a Sanctuary"
  6. "Colder than a Rose" (Norma Tager and Paul Travers)
  7. "If this was Love"
  8. "Rollercoaster"
  9. "One to One"
  10. "Buccaneer"
  11. "Who was Hunter"
  12. "Citadel"
Harmonics Of Love (1995) (with Cloud 10)
  1. "Tropical Birth" (Cloud 10) 1.57
  2. "Angel" (Sonja Kristina, Cloud 10) 5.41
  3. "Sounds of Sea" 0.57
  4. "Heart of Glass" (Kristina) 4.26
  5. "Marimbas/Lullaby" 1.51
  6. "Baby Song" (Kristina) 4.23
  7. "Woman's Heart" (E.McEvoy) 4.17
  8. "Divine Cloud Space" (Robert Norton) 1.56
  9. "Birdsong" 1.03
  10. "Elfin Boy" (Kristina) 5.10
  11. "Glastonbury Dawn" 1.35
  12. "Blindman"(Kristina) 3.02
  13. "Dreamers" (lyric A. O'Shaughnessy, music Kristina) 5.19
  14. "Chant/Voices" 1.12
  15. "Remember Yourself" (Norton) 2.20
Cri De Coeur (2003)
  1. "Don't Explain" (Billie Holiday, Arthur Herzog Jnr) 5.50
  2. "Lullaby" (Gian-Carlo Menotti) 2.51
  3. "Round Midnight" (Thelonious Monk, Cootie Williams) 5.49
  4. "Solitude" (Duke Ellington, Eddie de Lange) 5.15
  5. "Love for Sale" (Cole Porter) 4.53
  6. "Patterns" (Hard Maltby Jnr, David Shire) 3.52
  7. "Every Time We Say Goodbye" (Cole Porter) 2.50
  8. "Unworthy Of Your Love" (Stephen Sondheim) 5.18
  9. "Skylark" (Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer) 4.15
  10. "I Have Nothing" (Linda Thompson, David Foster) 4.24
  11. "I'd Give My Life For You" (Claude-Michel Schonberg, Maltby Jr, Boublil) 4.03
  12. "Cry Me A River" (Arthur Hamilton) 5.23
  13. "Petit Cri" (Marvin Ayres) 1.04
  14. "Reprise - Every Time We Say Goodbye" 1.07
Heavy Petal CD + DVD by MASK featuring Sonja Kristina (2005)
All Songs by Marvin Ayres and Sonja Kristina except as shown
Side One (CD)
  1. "Dark Murmur" (Ayres) 2.15
  2. "Global Incantation" 4.22
  3. "Paean" 2.51
  4. "Fall So Hard" (Ayres) 5.10
  5. "Healing Senses" 4.18
  6. "Blue Words" 5.04
  7. "Shelter Skelter" 3.28
  8. "Free" 5.44
  9. "Sliding Universe" (Ayres) 1.52
  10. "Lambent Spire" 6.42
  11. "Beloved" 4.06
  12. "Living Inside My Head" (Ayres) 3.25
  13. "Waking the Dream" 4.56
  14. "Sound Of Tears Forming" (Ayres) 1.56
  15. "Those Ghosts" (Kristina) 3.29
Side Two (DVD)
  1. "Free" 5.47
  2. "Lambent Spire" 6.42
  3. "Healing Senses" 10.36

Other recordings[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Kristina married Malcolm Ross in 1971 and Stewart Copeland in 1982. She became acquainted with Copeland while he was first road manager and then drummer for Curved Air (1974–1976); they divorced in 1991.[4]


  1. ^ "SONJA KRISTINA – 'Sonja Kristina' (Market Square MSMCD140)". Market Square Records. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Sonja Kristina". Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Pollack, Kevin (16 November 2012). "Interview with Curved Air Lead Singer Sonja Kristina Linwood". Rock Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Kristina rocks". The Malaysia Star. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  5. ^ The Strawbs website
  6. ^ "Sonja Kristina / Curved Air / MASK". Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Dave Thompson. "Curved Air". Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Mojo, May 2014
  9. ^ "Cherry Red TV interview". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  10. ^ "Marvin Ayres profile". NME. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  11. ^ Prog, April 2014, p. 58 Over and Above by Sid Smith
  12. ^ a b Sonja Kristina > Credits at AllMusic
  13. ^ "Alan Burridge". Retrieved 2 January 2012. 

External links[edit]