Sonna Records Season Celebration
Dec 10th, 2022 | Batavierhuis Rotterdam
Text: Robin Boer & Storm Bakker
Founded in 2020 by Dutch creative artist and musician Sanne Rambags, SONNA Records is already celebrating her two-and-a-half year existence. A Season celebration, as it is presented, to commemorate the winter season, in combination with the label’s vision: "providing a space where the essence of life becomes tangible. The expression of your own story in music, using the purest of emotions and experiences, is a vehicle for creating a deep connection with your inner strength and inner greatness and by doing so, creating meaningful connections.”
We meet the hostess of the evening outside of the theatre. Although it’s a chilly December evening and it tends to be damp, making the cold weather even more uncomfortable, Sanne is not wearing a coat. When we ask her if she is not afraid of catching a cold, she laughs: “no, not at all. I got the Ayur-Vedan fire!" It characterizes the spiritual nature of this young woman, who conquered the Dutch scene in recent years with her beautiful vocal improv and is now touring worldwide. “You know about that?” she asks surprised.
Dutch singer, leader and producer Sanne Rambags is a young awarded artist from The Netherlands. She performs on stage and in studio with highly acclaimed artists and groups in Europe, Africa, South America and Asias. Rambags also performs solo as a singer-songwriter, accompanying herself on guitar.
Rambags’ vocals are reminiscent of Susanne Abbuehl and Mari Boine, using more sounds in their improvisations than is usual in scat singing. As a singer-songwriter, Rambags looked most of all to Joni Mitchell. Rambags has drawn inspiration from all of these women; now it’s her turn to be inspiring. She doesn’t have to convince anyone, she just has to let it happen: by herself, from her inner self, in interaction and, most of all, in the hearts of her listeners
The Batavierhuis in the Coolhaven area of Rotterdam proves to be a very suitable place to organize the celebration, since it is one of the places where many of the artists from the area are meeting, engaging and collaborating in many artful ways. Three groups that do fall under the SONNA umbrella have been booked to perform their newest music to the audience, although this evening served another purpose as well: strengthen the unity of the international SONNA community as a whole, and encouraging everyone involved to engage and intensifying connections. Sanne makes it very clear, SONNA is not only a label for adventurous yet tranquil music from all over the world… It's a community, an alliance for truth and happiness, engagement, love and nature.
After a long English-spoken introduction by Sanne Rambags to explain her goals, it’s time for Paloma (full name: Paloma Lázaro Arteaga) from Spain, previewing material from her forthcoming album Ritual, which is scheduled for release in March 2023. The project is described being ‘an ode to the ancestors, to the primitive, to nature, to all that we seem to have forgotten, but that is deeply rooted within us. We need to go get back to music as the living memory of our ancestors, as a force that unite us in the deepest level. Ritual as a bridge between our world and other universes. Music as the way to cross that bridge, to surrender, to discover who we are.’ Paloma accompanies her haunting, emotional voice on soft percussions and piano. Her music combines worlds of soul, intimacy, melancholy, vulnerability and nature, all presented in the form of beautiful chords and rich melodies. Afterwards, we share our feelings about Spanish singer Sílvia Pérez Cruz, who Paloma -just as we thought- considers to be one of her greatest sources of inspiration.
MEREL VAN HOEK
The next project to perform is Merel van Hoek on electric guitars and effects, joined by Mink Steekelenburg on synthesizers. The type of music that we can expect on her forthcoming album (Spring 2023) is poorly labeled ‘neoclassical pop.’ Ignoring these silly, industrialized categorizations, we rather make up our own mind while been taken on a journey of wonderful, melancholic, ethereal landscapes. The repetition of chords, and soothing synth-basses and pads, are providing a mantra-esque atmosphere, effortlessly achieving a comforting cadence which is easy to enjoy.
Before the last performance of tonight, a very nice and insightful presentation on Data & Analytics is being provided by Pieter Rambags, a professional data specialist, innovator and business developer, father of Sanne and incubator with SONNA Records, explaining how useful web analytics can be for artists, to get a better understanding of their audience’s behavior, online engagement and awareness levels, to improve the effectivity of their promotion activities. It is one of the Unique Selling Points of SONNA Records, that this kind of knowledge is being shared with the members of its community.
The job of wrapping up the evening’s program lies with the ensemble Vonk, that released their new album ‘A Songbook Of Rare Feelings’ on SONNA Records this week. The four-headed ensemble, active since 2015, is led by composer Nicoline Soeter and saxophone player Tom Sanderman. With it’s original lineup of soprano voice, saxophones, clarinets, small percussions and mallet instruments, we hear a unique blend of sounds and textures, implemented into exciting, innovative and idiosyncratic performances. The music is very unique and boundless, which is one of the reasons Sanderman thinks VONK and SONNA are the right shape for joining together. It’s no surprise they are supported highly by the November Music festival that takes place every year in the city of ’s-Hertogenbosch. It makes perfect sense that Vonk performs some beautiful pieces by the Australian/Dutch Kate Moore (who happened to be composer-in-focus on the same November Music Festival in 2018) and composer/french horn player Morris Kliphuis.
Hyped up in its afterglow, the SONNA intimates raised their glasses and shared their positive thoughts. We thank Sanne and the Batavierhuis team for the good vibe gathering, motivational to creativity and hope for the near future. With fantastic releases already in stock by e.g. Paykuna, InTrio, Sanne Rambags, ITAKIRY, and forthcoming works by the artist that performed tonight, there’s much more inspiring and groundbreaking work to be expected from SONNA Records in 2023. May next season arrive soon!