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Sirena Riley

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Primary Instrument: Vocalist

”...performances that enchant, surprise and ineffably capture the imagination. Riley's lyrics and Donald's music seem to flow together in a single flood of invention...” -- Jazzwise Magazine

Sirena Riley started her first night in London by opening a 'Time Out' magazine and going to the first jazz open mic session she could find. Australian pianist and composer, Tom Donald was the house pianist. They were introduced over a spine-tingling, room-silencing performance of Duke Ellington's ‘Solitude’ that startled even the performers. After eyeing each other suspiciously, they agreed that a collaboration was inevitable. Two years later, their first single, 'Half Moon' was a semi-finalist in the 2008 UK Songwriting competition. And now, the debut song cycle and album, 'The Lunatic, The Lover and The Poet' has been released on their own label, Remigrant Records, showcasing what Jazzwise Magazine calls “a formidable writing partnership”....
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Awards:

2008 UK Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist 'Half Moon'
Jazzwise Magazine June 2009

Sirena Riley, “The Lunatic, The Lover and The Poet”

Brought up in Washington DC but now London-based, vocalist Sirena Riley marked the first night in her adopted home town by thumbing through a copy of “Time Out” magazine and going to the first open mic jazz session she could find. There she met the house pianist, Tom Donald, and a performance of Duke Ellington's 'Solitude' sealed a new friendship. Recorded over a single day last year, “The Lunatic, The Lover & The Poet” showcases the work of a formidable writing partnership. From the gently rocking ostinato of 'Perfect Darkness' to the narcotic melancholy of 'Tidal', these are performances that enchant, surprise and ineffably capture the imagination. Riley's lyrics and Donald's music seem to flow together in a single flood of invention, drawing from stylistic wells that reference the eclecticism of Nina Simone, the lyrical acerbity of the Brecht/Weill canon and the soulfulness of Dianne Reeves. 'Blues to Freedom', the hauntingly languorous money track, provides the still centrepiece to a fine collection of songs. Reeds player Mark Buckingham, double bassist Vanessa McGowan and percussionist James Kaye make up the excellent supporting cast. -- Peter Quinn, Jazzwise Magazine

Sirena Riley: Vocals, Lyrics

The Lunatic, The Lover and The Poet
Remigrant Records
2008
Tracks: Perfect Darkness; Reconcile; Half Moon; Songstress; Blues to Freedom; Wannabe; A Patient Woman; Slow Burn; Tidal.
Personnel: Tom Donald: Music, Production, Piano.
Mark Buckingham: bflat Clarinet, Alto Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophone
James Kaye: Darbuka, Udu Drum, De-tuned Djembe, Cybals, Shaker
Vanessa McGowan: Double Bass
Joe Davison: Sound Engineer

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