Leoni Jansen

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Leoni Jansen
Leoni Jansen (1982).jpg
Leoni Jansen (1982)
Background information
Website http://www.leoni.nl/

Leoni Jansen is a Dutch singer and stage-director. She started out as a television personality: anchor-woman on Dutch national TV for the daily “Children’s News”. After that she hosted various art and music-programs on television and ended up with her own TV show, Jansen & Co.

Wishing to devote more time to singing and the theatre, she said goodbye to TV and produced a number of music-theatre productions. She has made a range of programs, such as a Pyjama night in the Concertgebouw, an Opera party for children in Vredenburg, and directed theatre shows for pop groups including Room Eleven, Sensual and Giovanca.

Over the past few years she has been busy mainly creating music programs that bridge different cultures. She was, for instance, co-responsible for the theatre hit Female Factory, in which 13 female top stars from 10 different countries were presented simultaneously, a show that was also seen in Moscow and Madrid, following a week when the Carré Theatre was completely sold out. She produced the series Wereldwijven, which featured a Dutch singer with a singer from a different continent. She produced the show She Got Game (three versions!) with among others Astrid Seriese (nl), Lucretia van der Vloot (nl), Rocq-E Harrell (nl), Izaline Callister, Ricky Koole and Nurlaila Karim (nl)), which attracted capacity crowds throughout the country over four seasons. And she created the multi-cultural shows Made in Holland, in response to 11 September, held in Carré, and in which 45 artists from 22 different cultures took over the space for one week.

She sang at the wedding of Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima in the Arena in Amsterdam, and she was responsible for the music- production of Faranani, a homage to Nelson Mandela from the Koninklijk Theater Carré in 2002, which was broadcast live in dozens of countries.

She has worked with many international musicians from the world music scene over the past few years, including: Busi Mhlongo, Toumani Diabate, Rosi Flores, Angelique Kidjo, Les Frères Guissé (fr), Sibongile Khumalo, Mohammud Ahmed, Annie Grace, Karin Polwart, Lílian Vieira (nl), Kine Lam and Tshala Muana. She performed with Youssou Ndour, singing his worldwide hit "7 Seconds" on the IDFA festival in Amsterdam.

She was honoured by Queen Beatrix as a Companion of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2006, for her contribution to world music and for empowering women in music.

She directed three large African productions: The African Mamas in 2005, Daughters of Africa in 2010 (12 young African women from eight African countries) and in 2013 The African Mamas sing Mama Africa, a tribute to Africa’s most famous singer, the late Miriam Makeba.

Recurring themes throughout her career are social issues and women’s rights, especially in African countries. In Senegal she directed a play that was a protest against Senegalese fisheries law.

Leoni Jansen (2013)

Leoni has a number of solo CDs to her name: Three Magic Little Words, Heart Strings & Loose Ends, Second Wind with, among others, The African Mamas, Chris Chameleon and Janne Schra (nl), and "Third Road". Her album Nina is a joint project with Les Frères Guisse from Senegal, and last year she made the album Santiago, with renowned Flamenco guitarist Eric Vaarzon Morel, with which she toured the Dutch theaters. Her latest album Storyteller contains songs from the theatre production Geheim (secret), in which she traces the war history of her father, who fought on the German side in World War II. She also wrote a book about this, which was well received by literary critics.

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