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
Website http://www.sonjakristina.com/

Sonja Kristina (born 14 April 1949,[1] Brentwood, Essex, England) is an British songwriter, musician and actor, best known for starring in the seminal 1960s musical Hair, and for being a rare female lead vocalist[2] of a 1970s Progressive Rock band called Curved Air.[3]

Biography[edit]

Kristina was born in Brentwood as Sonja Christina Shaw, [4] daughter of a criminologist and granddaughter of Swedish actress Gerda Lundequist.[5]

Career[edit]

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.[6] Her first manager was Roy Guest of Folk Directions.[7]

Hair the Musical

In 1968, Kristina auditioned for and won the part of "Crissy" in the London stage production of the stage musical Hair.[8] She features on the original cast album singing the song "Frank Mills", also released as a single.[6] She also briefly sang with The Strawbs, following the departure of Sandy Denny.[8][9] 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.[10]

Curved Air[edit]

According to AllMusic, it was Galt McDermott, who wrote the music for 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.[11] Another version has it that manager Mark Hanau had the idea Kristina's alto [12] vocals could become a vital ingredient in a new band.[6][13] On 1 January 1970 the singer received an official invitation to become a member of Curved Air. She remembered sitting backstage on the theatre stairs listening to a cassette of the band's music Hanau had given her, and being much impressed.[14] Described by Sting as a "real beauty, otherworldly and unattainable", [15] at a time when the progressive rock industry was known to be particularly misogynistic, Kristina played a full creative role bringing with it a powerful female sexuality. [16] Her experiences working in the London Playboy Club during the early 1970s, reflected itself in the stage persona she later developed.

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.[8]

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,[8] and in a multi-media duo MASK, with Marvin Ayres.[17]

In 2008, Curved Air was reformed with other original members including Darryl Way and Florian Pilkington-Miksa, and was later Kirby Gregory. The band continues to record and perform internationally.[18]

Sonja Kristina has arrived on stage. Suddenly there is no band, no stage, no college kids. Just Sonja glinting in the green light. She moves like smoke across the stage, hardly seeming to move at all, but underdulating in slow motion. Who cares what the band is doing? As a muso I've never bothered with singers, considering them to be musical passengers/ How wrong I've been! She's not even singing yet, and she owns everything. - Stewart Copeland[19]

Theatre productions[edit]

The French Have Song for It Poster.jpg

Including the London version of the musical Hair (1968),[20] Kristina has performed in numerous theatre and musical theatre productions from the early 1960s onwards, [21] including 'East Lynne' (1966), [22] a lead role in 'Romeo and Juliet',[23] 'Curriculee Curricular' (1978) with Dave Greenslade,[24] 'The French Have a Song For It' (1979) with Helen Shapiro, [25] 'Man to Woman' with Marsha Hunt (1982),[26] and 'Shona' [27]

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

Singles[edit]

  1. "It Happened Today" (1971)
  2. "Back Street Luv" (1971)
  3. "Walk on By/O Fortuna" (1985)
  4. "Waking with Dream" (1985)

Other recordings[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Kristina married Malcolm Ross in 1971 and Stewart Copeland in 1982 with whom she had three sons; Sven, Jordan (of Hot Head Show) and Scott.[31] She became acquainted with Copeland while he was first road manager and then drummer for Curved Air (1974–1976). They divorced in 1991.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Colin Larkin. Omnibus Press, 27 May 2011
  2. ^ Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock, Stephen Lambe Amberley Publishing Limited, 30 Jan 2012
  3. ^ Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture. Edward Macan Oxford University Press, 1997
  4. ^ Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar magazine, October 1968
  5. ^ "SONJA KRISTINA – 'Sonja Kristina' (Market Square MSMCD140)". Market Square Records. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Sonja Kristina". www.curvedair.com. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Pollack, Kevin (16 November 2012). "Interview with Curved Air Lead Singer Sonja Kristina Linwood". Rock Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Kristina rocks". The Malaysia Star. 12 October 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  9. ^ The Strawbs website
  10. ^ "Sonja Kristina / Curved Air / MASK". www.strawbsweb.co.uk. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  11. ^ Dave Thompson. "Curved Air". Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  12. ^ </Rocking the Classics: English Progressive Rock and the Counterculture by Edward Macan
  13. ^ a b Mojo, May 2014
  14. ^ "Cherry Red TV interview". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved 30 September 2009. 
  15. ^ Broken Music: A Memoir By Sting
  16. ^ Citizens of Hope and Glory: The Story of Progressive Rock, Stephen Lambe, Amberley Publishing Limited, 30 Jan 2012
  17. ^ "Marvin Ayres profile". NME. 23 January 2010. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  18. ^ Prog, April 2014, p. 58 Over and Above by Sid Smith
  19. ^ Strange Things Happen: A Life with the Police, Polo and Pygmies. Stewart Copeland, HarperCollins UK, 8 Jul 2010
  20. ^ The Stage Year Book, Issue 38, Carson & Comerford Ltd., 1969
  21. ^ The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Volume 5, Colin Larkin, Oxford University Press, USA, 20 Nov 2006
  22. ^ Thurrock Gazette, Dec 1966 [1]
  23. ^ The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Volume 5, Colin Larkin, Oxford University Press, USA, 20 Nov 2006
  24. ^ BFI [2]
  25. ^ [3]
  26. ^ Sing Song PR [4]
  27. ^ The International Who's Who in Popular Music, Psychology Press, 2002
  28. ^ Sonja Kristina > Credits at AllMusic
  29. ^ The Virgin Encyclopedia of 70s Music. Colin Larkin, Virgin, 2002
  30. ^ "Alan Burridge". Alanburridge.freeuk.com. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  31. ^ Strange Things Happen: A Life with the Police, Polo and Pygmies, Stewart Copeland, HarperCollins UK, 8 Jul 2010

External links[edit]