SONJA KRISTINA – ‘Sonja Kristina’ (Market Square MSMCD140)
UK Release date: July 24th 2006
Distributed by RSK Entertainment Ltd
Who is Sonja Kristina?
• Born “somewhere in Essex, England” in April “sometime in the 1950s”
• Daughter of a well known criminologist specialising in the vagaries of
youth; granddaughter of Swedish film star Gerda Lundequist
• Educated by “an assortment of hkojas, gurus, munshis, mahatmas and
anthroposophists” besides the tutors of mathematics, literature,
metaphysics, agronomics and other subjects who came twice weekly to the
approved school which her father supervised
• Propelled into overnight West End success in her debut, before even
finishing drama school playing Chrissy in the London stage production of
• Became vocalist, lyricist and a generation's female icon with the art rock
band Curved Air
Sonja Kristina is one of modern music’s true ‘journey women’ and pioneers.
An inexhaustible creative energy drives her as much now as it did back in
the 1970s when she was the face and voice of one of rock’s most original
acts, Curved Air.
This band’s critically and publicly acclaimed output won it fans world wide,
while Sonja scored repeat vocalist awards from the music press, whose
centre-spread images of her became staple fare on the walls of teenage boys’
Despite its success, Curved Air, in common with many others of the
progressive ilk, foundered amidst personnel changes and the onset of punk –
a phenomenon which had caught the attention of its drummer (and Sonja’s
future husband) Stewart Copeland.
Events turned quickly: on tour in Newcastle, Stewart and Sonja met Sting,
Curved Air broke up and the following year, inspired by the punk movement
sweeping through London clubs, Sonja formed Escape … while Stewart joined
Escape was a rocking outfit similar to Curved Air in their later "Air Cut"
period. The only recorded legacy of this group, "Sonja Kristina," is
reissued here for the first time in this latest Market Square release.
“Sonja Kristina” was recorded in 1980 at Surrey Sound Studios by Nigel Gray,
producer of the first three Police albums.
The album was packed with great songs, several ranking among Sonja’s best,
including the stunning "Full Time Woman." Vibrant, exciting and imaginative
in treatment, it benefited from the musicianship on offer, and a team list
brimming with first rate players.
Working on her debut, Sonja found solid support from drummer Liam Genocky
(later with Steeleye Span, Gillan, Soft Machine and Gerry Rafferty), Wings’
Laurence Juber and of course her former band mate, Darryl Way after Curved
Air formed his own band Wolf.
A respected composer, arranger and, orchestrator, Darryl has composed and
recorded a string of modern classical and classical rock albums, most
recently with new band Verisma (www.darrylway.com).
Bassist Alfie Agius was to go on to work with Julian Cope’s Teardrop
Explodes; guitarist Steve Byrd was with Ian Gillan and Kim Wilde; keyboard
player Andrew McCrorie-Shand worked with proggers Druid and then composed
British TV’s cult Teletubbies theme!
The album first appeared on the Chopper label in 1980 together with a
picture-sleeve single of "St. Tropez” and an energetic cover of Spirit’s
“Mr. Skin" on the B-side.
Included on this reissue is the only recorded output by the 1984 reunion of
Darryl and Sonja in the single “Renegade” backed by “We’re only Human”,
written, performed and produced by Darryl at Worried Rabbit Studios under
the name ‘Curved Air 84’.
Sonja toured the UK in 1985 backed by a local High Wycombe band, Tunis. This
co-incided with the release of her solo 12" single on Crunchy Records
including a reworking of Bert Bacharach’s "Walk on By".
Recorded at Worried Rabbit, Nineva Assyria and mixed in William Orbit’s
studio in Little Venice, London, the single was played and arranged by Sean
Lyons and William Orbit with guest saxophone from the legendary British jazz
musician, Terry Lightfoot.
All of these tracks are released here as bonus cuts for the first time ever
on CD. With tape masters lost or mislaid over the passage of time, all
tracks here have been re-mastered from vinyl copies of the original album
and singles kept in Sonja’s personal archive.
A period of musical hibernation followed these original recordings, with
Sonja’s time filled mothering her two young sons. In 1988, she appeared
again on the London stage playing the title role in Tony Craze's harrowing
play about a schizophrenic girl, 'Shona'.
Inevitably, music followed and she returned shortly to her folk/psychedelic
roots with a new ensemble alchemising a form of acoustic music, which Sonja
referred to as "acid folk."
An album, "Songs From the Acid Folk," was released in 1991 to critical
acclaim and has been subsequently reissued with bonus tracks by Market
Following 1995’s “Harmonics of Love”, Sonja studied intensively for an MA in
performing arts, as well as holistic voice and sound-healing, re-emerging in
2002 with a new interest in ambient fusion.
After recording a classy set of classic jazz and musical theatre songs in
“Cri De Coeur” (Market Square MSMCD116), Sonja and collaborator Marvin Ayres
in 2005 released “Heavy Petal, the Tenebrous Odyssey of Jack and Virginia” (Mandalic)
Mixing improvisation with seductive songs and beats, MASK “fuses modern
electronic with classical music and the band’s performances interweave
filmic imagery with visual atmospheres and effects”.
MASK is pure theatre – pure Sonja.
2006 finds Sonja Kristina – actor, singer, vocalist, artist – doing what she
does best: creating, innovating, entertaining.
This welcome reissue of her solo debut is a vital reminder of an individual
Sonja Kristina remembers the songs of “Sonja Kristina”…
1. Street Run
Notting Hill Carnival …uneasiness in the air…young men
glowering, bolshy, strutting …Under the Westway bridge throbbed the heart of
the fun...then the crowd burble mutates into manic surges like baying, rabid
beasts ...the heart bursts, flooding hysteria and fear…and they all come
running away from the trouble down the narrow streets like an icy shiver
down a spine.
2. Man He Colour
In our Mayfair squat with the brothers Copeland and
the big footed Gorgon Cruella. The song was born while the artist
Christopher de Jiminez painted my face on Marie Antoinette…. First sung to
Henry Padovani…the lyrics were finished in the studio during the original
Escape recordings…sadly those are missing…they had a beautiful chaotic
3. The Comforter
The downside of dabbling in self-medication and
hedonism - Comfort and side effects - our Goth-punk romp…written in our
miniature garage dolls-house in Shepherd’s Bush by Ravenscourt Park.
Memories of roller-skating with Stewart round the neighbourhood. Dreaming
and planning together...Walking to Hammersmith to my manager Derek Dowsett's
abode by the River…
Temptation and seduction…love as an enchanted disorientating thrill – time,
energy and dignity expended to dance to the tune of someone in control,
oblivious and immune.
5. Breaking Out In Smiles
Written by Norma Tager, my friend ...who took me in
when times were troubled- from the magic penthouse in Hampstead to the blue
house on Portabello road ...she kept the spirituality of performance alive
6. Colder than a Rose
Norma’s beautiful mystical love song set to Paul
Traver’s hymnal chords…
7. Mr Skin
Roy Thomas Baker wanted to produce this album. He
financially supported the Escape Band rehearsals and touring ... we did
record his choice of covers: this song and Free’s 'Be My Friend'.
8. Fade away
By Roy Hill. Looking for songs I went to my publisher,
Island Music and was taken with a couple of Roy Hill songs. Incidently, at
the time, being early Police days, I brought them a tape of Sting’s songs -
but they turned down the publishing….
9. St Tropez
Paul Rudolph wrote the music…my quiet, gentle Pink
Fairy …since Ladbroke Grove Days. Twink and Silver and Gwen and Sandy…Hawkwind
and White Panthers, International Times and Oz, way back when I was a hippie
student loose in London. Written before he retired to Canada to open a
10. Full Time Woman
Travers/Tager again...a beautiful song....
Bledlow Ridge ... Recording Darryl’s songs in the
studio with superman wallpaper and Kryptone green wood panels ... a view of
valleys and fields and horses and sheep. Small cows dancing on the lawn…
banquets and frolics and Pyrenean Mountain dogs.
12. We’re only Human
Darryl’s lament for Ethiopia. Darryl and I toured with
a guitarist called Diesel as 'Curved Air 84'.
13. Walk On By
William Orbit-mixed torch song sparks into Sean
Lyons’s creative re-arrangement…Little Venice was the setting in William’s
garden shed studio. Paul Mulligan released it as Crunchy (Records) and we
invaded Scotland with a Tunis Tour, working back through the UK to the final
gig at Dingwalls with Motorhead’s Lemmy, and Stewart in the crowd.
More on Sonja Kristina online at
Information released by
Market Square Records
Contacts: Peter Muir; tel + 44 (0)1296 715228 email
Pat Tynan tel + 44 (0)1895 636935 email