These are some of the bands, projects and theater productions I have had the honor to work with throughout the years:
The More The Mary
Two ladies and a love affair with Tom Waits.
The Puppini Sisters meets The Andrews Sisters on extacy.
Gypsy romance, melancholic nostalgia and circus dreams.
The More The Mary was a concept that Esther van Es and I cooked up during the years of singing and playing together as a duo. The More The Mary won the 1st prize in the Theater Zuidplein Open Podium competition in 2014. The theater concert ‘Tom Waits in a New Coat of Paint” toured in Dutch theaters in 2015-2017.
Katja Maria & Esther van Es: vocals, piano, guitar & various small instruments; Andreas Suntrop: guitars & mandolin; Florian Friedrich/Sven Happel: double bass; Rudi Sanders: drums
Together with the ladies of Pavadita tango string quartet, I perform a repertoire of songs in which the nostalgia and melancholia of Finnish tango meets the fiery passion of Argentinian tango, in sparkling arrangements for string quartet and voice. The tango repertoire is varied with original “chamber-folk-pop” compositions for voice, piano and string quartet by Finnish composer Maija Ruuskanen.
2017-2020 I sang in IT TAKES THREE TO TANGO, a project I started with Beatriz Aguiar (Uruguay) and Meral Ari (Turkey), accomanied by Mark Arthur Wyman on the piano.
A tribute to the music of the fabulous 80’s band Matt Bianco and the Polish singer Basia Trzetrzelewska.
Hits like “Whose Side Are You On?”, “Half a Minute” and “Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed”, arranged in a fresh acoustic approach, staying true to the innovative Matt Bianco sound which smoothly blends music styles including jazz, pop, bossa nova, and salsa. A band of top-class musicians that have played with top names of Dutch and international pop, jazz, latin, world music, and music theatre, such as The Metropole Orchestra, Lucas van Merwijk, Brian Lynch, Nelson Gonzales, Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, Andy Gonzalez, Izaline Calister, and Gerardo Rosales.
Katja Maria & Jaakko Toivonen, vocals; Marc Bischoff, piano & keyboards; Yerman Aponte, bass; Dan Müller, drums; Gerrit-Jan Binkhorst, saxophones and flute; Yumarya Grijt & Isa Bornau, backing vocals
In this Buitenkunst MIX production, a small group of professional artists from different creative/performing arts disciplines are put together to work for five days. Five days time to explore new theatrical forms in a mix of disciplines.
Helen Pokrovskaia dance/choreography; Tobias Nierop, acting; Katja Maria: vocals & music. Director: Marjan Barlage, production: Buitenkunst, 2012.
In 2009 I participated as singer in the multidisciplinary performance SOMA. Inspired by the novel of Huxley, Company Koorts put together a performance with contemporary dance, music, and design. I shared the stage with dancers Milla Virtanen and Uri Eugenio. SOMA performed in Theater Lantaren Venster in Rotterdam, at the Rotterdamse Schouwburg, Melkweg Theater in Amsterdam, and at Centrul National al Dansului in Bucharest.
Concept: Jaakko Toivonen, Carin van Dongen, Marco Beck. Choreography: Jaakko Toivonen. Design: Carin van Dongen. Music: Marco Beck. Production: Company Koorts, 2009.
In 2008, dancer and choreographer Jaakko Toivonen approached me for a co-operation in his solo dance performance Wonderkuur – an abstract story full of emotion, inspired by the short life of Jacques Vaché, a dandy with big a talent for writing and painting. I provided live music and singing for the performances in Theater Lantaren Venster in Rotterdam in the spring of 2008.
Jaakko and I chose the songs and music together, to fit the emotions and moods in the piece. Besides singing and playing the piano, I used a loop station for vocal looping, and some pre-recorded choirs I had arranged – among others for an a cappella version of Tina Turner’s ‘Private Dancer’! The abstract story got a musical ‘frame’ by Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’, that started and ended the performance.
Choreography and concept: Jaakko Toivonen, production: Company Koorts
I was the lead singer of various projects and composition concerts of pianist-composer Maija Ruuskanen 2000-2003 in Finland. In 2007 Maija and I toured together in singer-songwriter venues in The Netherlands, joined by the Pavadita tango string quartet.
A shared love for Brazilian music inspired Atte Kekkonen and I to bring songs of Brazilian masters like Tom Jobim, Ivan Lins and Caetano Veloso to Finnish audiences. Coração Vagabundo was a project band dedicated to Brazilian popular music, playing a series of concerts in Helsinki 2002-2003 and receiving great reviews in Hufvudstadsbladet, one of the main Finnish newspapers. The Brazilian rhythms came to life by the skillful playing of the band, consisting of Valtteri Pöyhönen on guitar, Arja Paju on bass, Matti Paatelma on piano, Pekka Saarikorpi on drums, Markus Jaatinen on percussion, Janne Murto on saxophones and flute, Tuuli Asunmaa and Tanja Miinalainen on backing vocals.
Den Fantastiska Drakresan
‘The Fantastic Journey of the Dragons’ – children’s theatre concert, preceded by educational workshops in schools and kindergartens in Helsinki. Production: Brages Musikskola, 2002.
De Förtrollade Flöjterna
‘The Enchanted Flutes’ – music theatre/puppet theatre. Director: Seija Metsärinne, production: Brages Musikskola, 2000.