Primary Instrument: Vocal
Returning to the scene in 2010, singer and Quebec native Lynn Véronneau has been tearing through mid-Atlantic listening venues like a force of nature. She and her new band of world-wise musicians have shared their sparkling jazz-pop sound at club and festival dates in the Mid- Atlantic region and internationally.
Their 2011 debut CD, Joie de Vivre, climbed to #9 in the Jazzweek world music chart and went top 10 in many regional jazz charts. It's international success led to the band touring the UK and Canada in 2011 where they performed live on BBC radio and Radio Canada. This year the band won 6 Wammie nominations from the Washington Area Music Association.
A vocalist trained in the bel canto tradition, with influences ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Eva Cassidy to Annie Lenox, Véronneau will soon be bringing her playful yet sophisticated sensibility and her smooth, powerful voice to audiences around the US, Canada, and UK, as the band tours in support of their debut recording, Joie de Vivre (Joy of Living) .
As a child in suburban Montreal (Sherbrooke), Véronneau was influenced early by the world of Francophone music from her parents’ generation, including crooners Joe Dassin and Serge Lama, chansonier Jacques Brel, and diva Dalida. She loved the Beatles, as well as the big band jazz beloved by her father, a lifelong employee of the O’Keefe brewing company, and her mother, a social worker. And the politically charged, musically accomplished work of proud Quebecois artists such as Les Séguin, Harmonium, and Beau Dommage left a strong artistic and intellectual impression on the young girl.
But the pop, disco, and progressive and punk rock of the day also filled her ears and soul. “The 70s gave me a sense that there were no musical boundaries,” she says. This wide- openness is still evident in her band’s approach today. The acoustic guitar accompaniment of both Ken Avis-- Véronneau’s husband--and David Rosenblatt, backed by the pulsing rhythms of percussionist Pete Walby, create a flexible energy able to support the versatile vocalist as she journeys from swinging American standards to French chanson to Brazilian bossa nova and gypsy swing.
Shedding the mohawk hairstyle and ripped clothes of her Quebecois punk-girl youth, Véronneau completed an arts degree in 1986 at the Université du Québec à Montréal, then moved to France. By day she commuted to Switzerland to work for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees; on the weekends she drove to Italy to shop for groceries; and in her free time, she deepened her commitment to music. Classical voice studies--with retired conservatory teacher Claudia Barreau--gave her new confidence in the strength and suppleness of her singing.
She soon landed her first professional job, singing the role of Zerlina in a Swiss-French production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. After this early devotion to formal repertoire, however, she felt compelled to follow her eclectic inclinations wherever they led: she donned a bouffant hairdo and a puffy dress to sing lead in a doo-wop group; she fronted a progressive rock and a blues band; and she performed extensively in an acoustic folk duo. She performed in many venues throughout Europe and North America, and as she matured, she slowly turned toward jazz and began performing in a duo with British guitarist/vocalist Ken Avis. Avis also had an extensive performing career.
After the couple married, their music took a back seat for some time. They made a home in Arlington, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, D.C). Both held positions at the World Bank by day while they focused on family obligations (including three children).
In 2009, Véronneau attended a jazz camp run by renowned saxophonist and educator Jeff Antoniuk. At camp she met singer/pianist Alison Crocket, who became her mentor and inspired her to make a comeback.
Already musical soul mates, Lynn and husband Ken were thrilled to find simpatico, world-traveled colleagues in David Rosenblatt (who had lived and studied classical guitar in Brazil) and drummer Pete Walby (who’d spent time in the Middle East). Their debut disc, Joie de Vivre, released in May 2011 featured elements of bossa nova and samba, swing and gypsy jazz. The album is a seamless blend of music from around the world sung in Lynn’s flawless English, French, and Spanish.
No matter what the sound or genre, Véronneau gives each song its due with a unique and sophisticated sense of phrasing and a heartfelt focus on the story. The band’s warm instant reception by D.C. audiences tells her “fans are perfectly willing to follow us across world jazz and related genres when the songs are strong.”
She jokes that her dream band would include Bobby McFerrin, Bjork, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, and Eva Cassidy--all singing an a cappella version of “Nature Boy.” Meanwhile, she’s in the midst of a dream-phase in her life, bringing timeless songs and joyful artistry as far and wide as she can take them.
Love this new album. . .the songs the singing and musicianship are outstanding. We'll be playing it often on the Jazz Café. Bob Collins - 'Jazz Cafe' WRHU, New York (May 1, 2011)
I wish I owned a funky clothes shop so I could play (Joie de Vivre) while people were shopping. Mary Kunz Goldman - Buffalo News (Apr 8, 2011)
Something Cool (2000)
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