(HUDSON, N.Y.) – The weekend at Club Helsinki Hudson features acclaimed Broadway singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik, best known for the hit Broadway musical Spring Awakening, on Saturday, December 17, at 9 p.m., and jazz-pop singer-songwriter Sonya Kitchell, who began her career as a teen sensation in the Pioneer Valley and in the Berkshires at the old Club Helsinki in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday, December 16, at 9pm.
Sonya Kitchell has performed with everyone from Angelique Kidjo to India.Arie and Madeleine Peyroux. But her career picked up international steam when jazz legend Herbie Hancock tapped her to tour the world with him in 2007. Slowing down after an exhilarating year on the road with Hancock, Kitchell found a much needed quieter place to write and record the six songs on Convict of Conviction..
Back in 2003, one of her compositions won two awards at the 2003 DownBeat Student Music Awards, and at the age of 14, the youngest by four years, Kitchell was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In 2004, Sonya was spotted by the artist-friendly Velour Music Group, which signed on as her management and record label. Kitchell recorded and released the EP Cold Day and began sharing bills with such artists as Taj Mahal and Tuck & Patti. In 2005, as advance copies of her full length debut Words Came Back To Me made the industry rounds, the album so impressed the principals of Starbucks Hear Music that they decided to make it their second-ever release in their Hear Music Debut CD series.
Kitchell’s worldly voice earned her attention not only from excited critics but also from Hancock, who invited her to perform with him and his all-star band at the Sonoma Jazz Festival in 2006. The two developed a warm rapport and Hancock tapped her to join his group as he toured in support of his Grammy-winning album River: The Joni Letters; Kitchell also sings on “All I Want” on the Amazon versions of the album. The keyboard great later invited Kitchell to tour the world with him. In a unique tie in to that experience, she appeared at Carnegie Hall as part of “The Music Of Joni Mitchell,” a live tribute to her idol.
Also appearing on the same bill as Kitchell are Elizabeth and the Catapult. The group’s Verve Forecast debut album Taller Children reflects the unique blend of pop playfulness and grown-up introspection that defines her distinctive songwriting. The qualities that make Taller Children such a refreshing surprise have already made Elizabeth and the Catapult a beloved favorite on New York’s downtown club scene, where the threesome’s winsome tunes and energetic, surprise-filled live shows have won them a large and devoted local fan base.
Duncan Sheik has had a cult following since his days at Brown University. He made Broadway history when Spring Awakening, his musical about adolescent sexuality, opened to rave reviews on Broadway. In the early days, Duncan Sheik played with Lisa Loeb, but began shopping his own demo tape around. Later, he appeared with His Boy Elroy on a 1993 album for Epic, and spent several years writing songs before he signed a solo deal with Atlantic. With Rupert Hine in the producer’s chair, Sheik recorded his debut album and released it in June 1996. By the end of the year, Barely Breathing had become a modest hit and was used to great effect on the TV show ER, and he resurfaced in 1998 with Humming. White Limousine was released in 2006, Whisper House in 2009, and this year he released a fun and compelling collection of 80s hits called Covers 80’s.
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