A Tribute to the Legendary Joni Mitchell

A Tribute to the Legendary Joni Mitchell
Spiritworks and Jeff Lewis in association with the Melbourne International Festival Present

A Tribute to the Legendary Joni Mitchell

featuring Katie Noonan, Wendy Matthews, Kristin Berardi, Tania Bowra, Louise Perryman, Virna Sanzone and Rachel Gaudry

Friday October 23 ? Melbourne, Arts Centre Hamer Hall
Bookings:1300 182183 www.artscentre.com.au or Ticketmaster: 136 100 Tickets on sale 15 July
Friday October 30 ? Sydney, Sydney Opera House Concert Hall
Bookings: 02 9250 7777 www.sydneyoperahouse.com or Ticketmaster 136 100 Tickets on sale 20 July
Wednesday November 4 ? Brisbane, QPAC Concert Hall
Bookings: 136 246 or www.qtix.com.au Tickets on sale 20 July

Joni Mitchell sounds like no other. Her song writing is unmatched. Her musicality and phrasing is inimitable. Her integrity is luminous. She continues to make beautiful, relevant music 40 years after her career birth. Her songs still make me cry. For these reasons and many more she is an inspiration of the highest order to me. Katie Noonan

Few artists have shaped the landscape of popular music as much as Joni Mitchell. Her poetry, insight and originality have influenced so many artists - artists as diverse as Prince, Elvis Costello, Cat Power, Jeff Buckley, Madonna, and Bjork - that contemporary song writing without her is unimaginable.

To celebrate the career of this legendary songwriter, seven of Australia's finest vocalists -Katie Noonan, Wendy Matthews, Kristin Berardi, Tania Bowra, Louise Perryman, Virna Sanzone and Rachel Gaudry - together with an exceptional 12-piece band, bring their own outstanding musicality to much of the best-loved material from Mitchell's diverse career.

Sure to please not only Joni fans but lovers of music and poetry alike, these concerts will present the humanity of Joni's music and the power of her ongoing relevance as a unique recording and visual artist.

Aside from her beautiful words and music, there is something intangible in Joni Mitchell's music which takes me into a particular space of wonder and inspiration. Only Joni's music does this for me and I guess that's why I hold it so close to my heart... Her songs unfurl line by line and I get swept up in the story, the mood, the textures. There is always something new to discover at each listening. Rachel Gaudry

The singers will perform a dynamic cross-section of songs from Joni Mitchell's early folk acoustic albums of the late 60's, through to her Grammy winning 1991 release Night Ride Home, right up to her latest 2007 offering, Shine. The set includes such classics as "Blue", "Chelsea Morning", "Woodstock", "Hejira" and "Big Yellow Taxi" performed in chronological order and tracing her career from early folk through to jazz-rock and right up to the present.

Growing up in Canada, my parents were young people of the 60's and Joni Mitchell was a huge presence in our household. I'm grateful I was born in her time because she influenced my musical tastes greatly. She is a poet, seer and a pure of heart artist for what is now many generations and I'm thrilled to be a part of this tribute. Wendy Matthews

About Joni Mitchell
"There are songwriters - and then there is Joni Mitchell. Joni Mitchell has been writing and recording intelligent, literate, poignant and insightful songs since 1968 and over four decades later can reasonably be considered as one of the most important and influential recording artists of that era.

As an artist she has never stood still, continuing to push her songwriting and music in a way that very few artists are able. On any number of occasions she has refused to continue in a proven successful style, instead challenging her audience to come with her on the artistic journey. Over the years she has embraced rock, folk, pop and jazz, while her songs have ranged from songs of emotion and romance through to environmental and social issues."
Stuart Coupe, Rock journalist

Joni Mitchell's career extends over 40 years and encompasses several musical genres. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Western Canada and then busking on the streets of Toronto. In the mid-1960s she left for New York City and its rich folk music scene, recording her debut album in 1968 and achieving fame first as a songwriter ("Urge for Going", "Chelsea Morning", "Both Sides Now", "Woodstock") and then as a singer in her own right. Finally settling in Southern California, Mitchell played a key part in the folk rock movement then sweeping the musical landscape. Blue, her starkly personal 1971 album, is regarded as one of the strongest and most influential records of the time. Mitchell also had pop hits such as "Big Yellow Taxi", "Free Man in Paris", and "Help Me", the last two from 1974's best-selling Court and Spark.

Mitchell's soprano vocals, distinctive harmonic guitar style, and piano arrangements all grew more complex through the 1970s as she was deeply influenced by jazz, melding it with pop, folk and rock on experimental albums like 1976's Hejira. She worked closely with jazz greats including Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, and on a 1979 record released after his death, Charles Mingus.

Joni Mitchell's work is highly respected both by critics and fellow musicians. Rolling Stone magazine called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever," while Allmusic said, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century."




Vocalist, composer & educator, Kristin Berardi is from Koumala, near Mackay, Queensland, and currently lives in Sydney, Australia.

She most recently performed at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival, the Tauranga International Jazz Festival, NZ and was a finalist in the Bell Awards for Best Vocal Jazz Album for 2008. In 2007 she won the Nation's most prestigious jazz award, the Freedman Fellowship, and successfully completed a European tour with guitarist James Sherlock in July 2007, including a concert supporting Al Jarreau and George Benson at the 2007 Montreux Jazz Festival. She came 1st in Montreux Jazz Festival's Shure International Vocal Competition, July 2006, and she came 3rd in the 2005 Australian National Jazz Vocal Competition.

Kristin has spent time studying & recording in New York in 2004 & 2005 with such people as Kenny Werner, Jim Pugh, David Binney & Ingrid Jenson. She is on casual staff at the Australian National University in Australia's capital city, and in the rural country town of Rockhampton, Queensland, at the Conservatorium of Music. She has performed in New York, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand and continues to perform within Australia at Jazz festivals, and at jazz venues, such as The Studio at Sydney's Opera House.

Singer, Musician, Songwriter, and Producer, Tania Bowra first came to attention with the release of her 1989 debut 'Heaven and Earth' (ABC Records/Polygram) which won her an ARIA nomination for Best New Talent. Many years on Tania's unmistakable voice continues to leave indelible imprints on those who hear her.

While much of her writing is rooted in the singer-songwriter tradition of the early seventies, Tania shares much in common with soul singers and performers, possessing the rare ability to communicate the emotional essence of a song through voice, harmony and rhythm. Her songs are timeless and classic, drawing parallels with artists such as David Gray, Fiona Apple and the early songs of Elton John.

Tania's professional career - spanning more than 20 years - has enjoyed some impressive highlights: while living in the UK in the mid 1990's Tania appeared at such prestigious venues as Edinburgh's famous Spiegeltent, the 12bar club and The Garage in London, toured with ex-fairground attraction singer Eddi Reader in her band and, at songwriter Paul Brady's request, joined him on a tour of the UK opening for him, including a night at the London Palladium.

Fans of Tania's music have had to cultivate patience between her albums: she has averaged an album 'per life-cycle' - 7 years - but it's always worth the wait. Tania's second (self-titled) album was released in 1996, and showed a growing soul influence in her writing, later to be followed up by 'Place in the Sun' (2004, Craving Records). 'Place in the Sun' was produced by Tania with help from talented producer and musician Matt Fell and met with highly enthusiastic reviews. The album features some of Sydney's finest musicians including drummers Hamish Stuart, Terepai Richmond, bassists James Haselwood Greg Royal, Hammond organ player Clayton Doley, and members of string quartet Fourplay.

'Place in the Sun' is currently (2009) featured on itunes' roots page under 'What We're Listening To'.

Described by The Los Angeles Times as possessing 'angelic grace and voice', Rachel Gaudry is a multi award-winning composer, singer, songwriter and pianist. With a diverse musical background in jazz, classical and pop genres, she has toured extensively in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan and has composed soundtracks for film, TV, animation, documentary and theatre.

Hailing from Canberra, Gaudry relocated to Sydney after studying jazz performance at the Canberra School of Music and immersed herself in songwriting and performing. To date, she has released two critically-acclaimed albums of original songs titled 'Leaving Traces' and 'Bright Window'. Sydney Morning Herald journalist John Shand aptly described the music on 'Bright Window' as 'dreamy combinations of words and music'.

Since 2004, Gaudry has composed music for a number of film and TV projects and in 2008 graduated from the renowned Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) with a Masters degree in Screen Composition. Most recently, Gaudry was nominated for an APRA-AGSC Screen Music Award for her music for the short film 'Shot Open' and in October 2008 won the University of Canberra National Composition Competition. In addition to performing and composing, Gaudry currently tutors part-time at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. www.rachelgaudry.com

Wendy Matthews has a reputation as an artist par excellence with a sublime, expressive voice that never fails to move those who hear it.

Wendy has an immense talent and capacity to capture and define a diverse range of styles in her music. She takes songs from every genre and makes them her own, from jazz to blues, from rock to gospel, from soul to outright infectious pop and then, of course, there are the beautiful ballads.

To date Wendy has won seven ARIAS - the all time record.

Wendy has performed at some of the most prestigious musical events. From the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, live TV specials in Asia, MIDEM in Cannes, to performing in front of over 40,000 people on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Her tours play to full houses in both regional and capital city theatres.

Born in Montreal Canada, Wendy joined her first band and left home as a teenager, busking her way across the USA to Los Angeles where she met Glenn Shorrock who invited her to tour with him in Australia in 1982. Wendy immediately became an in-demand session singer, appearing on many commercial jingles and backing vocals for the likes of The Models "Out of Mind Out of Sight".. She also sang on albums by Jimmy Barnes, Tim Finn, Richard Clapton and Icehouse.

In 1987, Wendy collaborated with Kate Ceberano on the ABC-TV soundtrack for the series 'Stringer'. 'You've Always Got the Blues' was released the next year reaching the Top 5 national charts. Her solo debut. The album "Émigré" (Double Platinum) earned Wendy the Best Female Artist and Best Debut Single (for 'Token Angels') at the 1990 ARIA Awards.

This was followed up by the Triple Platinum album "Lily" with the mega hit " "The Day You Went Away" plus "If Only I Could" and Friday's Child", In 1992 Wendy picked up the ARIA for Best Female Artist and Best Single and again in 1993 Best Female Artist.

There are very few artists in Australia that can cite Wendy's credentials, seven arias, a massive 19 singles, 7 top selling albums and most of all the love of her fans.

Wendy has recently completed her first independent record on her own "Barking Bear" record label. "She" is a personal collection of favorite songs by women who have inspired her over the years. As she puts it "songs that have made the singer, women who have made the woman". Recorded live in a studio room together over three days with her long standing band and a few specialty players, Matthews considers it a journey through her formative years, with songs by Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin, EmmyLou Harris and Chrissie Hynde and fellow native Canadians Joni Mitchell, Buffy St Marie and Jane Siberry to name a few.

When she's not writing, recording or touring extensively, Wendy and her beloved dog Bear, enjoy the beauty of the Northern NSW coast where she is building a hand crafted home.

Katie Noonan's technical mastery and pure voice make her one of Australia's most versatile and beloved vocalists. A mother, singer, producer, songwriter, pianist and business woman, this multi award winning and 5 x platinum selling songstress first received widespread praise as the angel-voiced songstress of indie-pop band george and she has since taken audiences on sublime excursions through jazz, pop and classical music. Her various releases include her folk trio's self titled album 'elixir', the No. 1 selling classical album 'Two of a Kind' with her mother Maggie and her gold-selling top ten album solo album 'Skin'. She has also worked with the country's top orchestra's including her recent fruitful collaboration with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Noonan's affinity with jazz shone through the ARIA award winning album, Before Time Could Change Us. Recorded with revered pianist Paul Grabowsky, it captured the breathtaking beauty and emotion which characterises her work. In Noonan's latest album release, Blackbird, she collaborated with an historic ensemble of iconic jazz players including Joe Lovano, Ron Carter, Lewis Nash and John Scofield.

Reviewer Murray Black put it succinctly during a reflection on Katie's guest appearance at the Lord Of The Rings Symphony at the Opera House with the SSO: "The undoubted highlight of the evening was guest vocalist Katie Noonan. Here is a rare talent with a voice of extraordinary beauty and versatility. In most of her solos, she sounded like a classical soprano as she soared over the orchestra with a spine-tingling, vibrato-less angelic purity. Then, in Gollum's Song and the Oscar winning Into the West, she revealed her pop diva credentials with her strong, clear voice projecting effortlessly out in the audience

"Noonan's soaring, beautifully phrased high notes, ultra-musical communication of meaning and expressive use of the microphone and digitial technologies were stunning."
- Gillian Wills, The Australian (7 March 2008)

Blessed with a voice that glides effortlessly over music of many styles, Louise Perryman's dynamic expression and often awe-inspiring versatility has made her one of Sydney's busiest and certainly most prolific singer/songwriters.

Dubbed "the white woman with the black voice", this charismatic performer explodes the stereotype of conventional SOUL/R&B with her vibrant stage presence and richly textured voice.

Originally from Adelaide in Southern Australia, Louise's musical journey began as a viola player, studying at The Elder Conservatorium of Music and whiling away the hours at orchestra practice.

Louise's career shifted into gear with the release of her first album "Come on-a my house" (recorded at the Sydney Opera House) which launched in 1999 to a packed audience at The Basement. In the same year, The APRA "Composer Exposer" Showcase led to national exposure with her tracks featured on two compilation albums of Australia's brightest talents.

Then came was, "Whisper My Name", released to much critical acclaim. Among the many awards received, Louise scored the prestigious 1999 Australian Songwriter's Association R&B Song of the Year for "Thinkin' Too Much" and was Billboard's Gospel runner up for "Prayer For You" in 2003. She is, to this day, the blue-eyed soul darling of internationally respected soul music site, soul-patrol.com.

In late 2006, under the banner of Louise Perryman and the Paisley Couch Project, "whatever Lucy says", a laidback album of contemporary, soulful pop songs was released. Produced by Sam Hawksley, one of the tracks, "Genius Of Love" won the 2007 Australian Songwriters Association Song Of The Year for Louise and her co-writers. Louise has spent much of the last few years working to give other singers and musicians their place in the sun on Australian Television, working on such programmes as Australian Idol and Australia Day Live for the Ten Network and It Takes Two for the Seven Network. She also shares her expertise with the younger generation as a consultant for the Talent Development Project of NSW.

She also writes for other artists. Her song, "When I Get There", appears on Anthony Callea's debut CD, The 2005 cast of Australian Idol recorded her track, "Ready", as their single, and last year, Sony BMG's Amy Pearson and the young sisters from the Life Changing Experiences Foundation Sister 2 Sister programme recorded her song "When It's Right For You". www.louiseperryman.com

Virna Sanzone, is emerging as one of Australia's most captivating singers. Deeply soulful, yet with the ability to sail effortlessly through the most intricate jazz melodies, her passionate delivery and understated approach have seen her compared to vocal masters from Roberta Flack to Bonnie Raitt and Aretha Franklin.One of the few singers to be accepted into the prestigious jazz course at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, over the past decade Virna has worked consistently both in Australia and overseas, winning the admiration and respect of audiences and contemporaries alike.

Virna has performed extensively with her own band at a long list of festivals and events, including the 2008 Sydney Festival, as part of the Jazz Divas Series, the 2007 Spirit of Soul Festival, the 2007 Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, and the 2007 Darling Harbour Jazz Festival. Highly regarded by her peers, Virna has also been invited to perform in bands led by jazz luminaries such as Judy Bailey at Sundays Round the House (Sydney Opera House), Matthew McMahon at the 2005 Darling Harbour Jazz Festival and with her long-time collaborator, Gerard Masters at the 2006 Jazz:Now Festival, held at the Sydney Opera House. She also performs regularly for SIMA, the Sydney Improvised Music Association and the Jazzgroove Association.

Though her roots are firmly planted in the fertile ground that resides between soul and jazz, Virna has been an integral part of projects that have seen her move across a diverse range of genres. Amongst recent projects she performed as part of Meet Me In The Middle Of The Air, presented in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House, with legendary singer / songwriter Paul Kelly, Vika and Linda Bull and the Australian Art Orchestra led by Paul Grabowsky. She has appeared with Paul Capsis, both live and for the television program, In Siberia Tonight, recorded for producer Paul Macs latest release, Panic Room and performed as part of the reformed, Directions In Groove (DIG). She has supported Roy Ayers and Ernest Ranglin on their Australian tours, and appeared a guest vocalist with Lulo Reinhardt, grand-nephew of the great Django Reinhardt, and with the voice of the revolution, South African singer and freedom songwriter Vusi Mahlasela.

On Saturday night, I saw the light in the form of Virna Sanzone and her quintet. Sanzone has a voice like the caramel layer in a piece of caramel sliceso smooth, warm and pliableand you'd definitely want a second serve with another piece to take home. Its rich and beautiful.Lissa Christopher, Sydney Morning Herald

.no transient talent, she will be around in 20 years timeHer voice with all its sincerity and warmth, she's one of the best singers we have...a remarkable talent in our midst.