Perfecting the Sun
Singer/Songwriter Karin Karian follows in the tradition of art school graduates compelled to pursue their first love of music. Since her early days of classical training, musicals, folk and gospel, she has gigged in roots and especially jazz/blues bands, sung for film and is currently Contemporary Vocals specialist at The Coda Institute, Hants. Karin has gained a respected reputation as a performer for her passion, sensitivity, repertoire and for the intimacy with which she draws the audience. Her distinctive vocal style hints at the influences of Sarah Vaughan, Sheila Jordan, Joni Mitchell and Cassandra Wilson, in an increasingly interactive role within her band. Her new album 'Perfecting The Sun' which contains 12 original songs, is a move into the mainstream market. Karin studied classically with Philippino Soprano Myrna Black, and performed under the directorship of Prof. George Odam (Bath). One of her favourite concerts was performing David Fanshawe's 'African Sanctus' at Bath Abbey. During her years in her hometown of Cambridge, she worked alongside British Classical Organ virtuoso David Rowland, leading the Gospel band counterpart to Rowland¹s choral ensemble, whilst writing and performing with Australian band Koinonia's Kim Silverman. In 1989 she toured with Andy Payne's stage magazine show Chattamag, replacing BBC Jazz Musician of the Year Nanette Welmans. She also sometimes gigged with her multi-talented brother Ed Kerr, who himself went on to become a pro musician for many years. Karin's vocal versatility makes her a sought-after session musician, recording for audio, film and radio, (eg Red Ash, Ken Russell, Mark Thomas) and more recently has written with BBC theme composer Ken Freeman for commercial British pop/soul/blues genres. She has performed with plenty of well-loved pros, (eg Art Wood, Gordon Haskell, Jim Mullen), guested frequently with a variety of jazz groups from Big Band to Latin/Funk, Folk to Blues, appearing at outdoor festivals plus large venues such as the Bournemouth International Centre and well-known Arts Centres including the Wycombe Swan. Karin has led her own Trio (with Rick Foot and Andy Daniels) since 1993, evolving as a hugely respected Quartet in recent years with the timely addition of Andy Trim on drums. She also sings with Arnie Cottrell in his 8-piece roots band 'The Velvet Doonicans', and appears occasionally at festival venues with Rick Foot in their double bass and vocal duo 'Karian.Foot' to enthralled audiences, the highlight of which is frequently a version of Prince's 'Sign of the Times', which is no mean feat in the absence of any chordal instrument. 'I was born and bred in Cambridge (UK) of an Irish father and Anglo-Indian mother in a stable family home. I was the eldest of three and spent some time in Canada in my very early years and then was educated back in the UK. My parents bought me my first guitar when I was nine. I was already writing songs by then and taking classical violin lessons, then later had vocal coaching, choral training and a few piano lessons. These days I write on guitar and sometimes piano when I want to expand ideas, and it's useful for shifting me out of familiar patterns when my fingers keep falling on all the same familiar chords. Experimentation is the only way to develop as a musician. That, and gleaning everything you can from watching and working with the best musicians you can possibly find. I remember going for a lesson with the late Monty Warlock; it consisted of watching him play the piano for an hour and then going home. There's a lot to be said for watching and listening. I've always loved melody, harmony, rhythm and texture in music - from an honest sentiment simply said, to the complexity of that great tangle of emotional, intellectual and spiritual journeys we wander through. 'I had a devout Christian upbringing in a large University church: Apart from the deeply spiritual perspective on life and the wonderful sense of community, growing up in a church culture meant I was never afraid of singing regularly to a captive audience of over a thousand from the age of three. One rapidly learns to harmonise and improvise on melodies too. It was a great platform for musical experimentation and for opportunities to compose and perform my songs. We covered everything from Bach to American Gospel, Spirituals, Rock and Folk traditions, and vocals were accompanied by pipe organ, or piano, sometimes full amplified band, or acoustic guitar, and even unaccompanied 'A cappella' arrangements. For me, music, especially singing, was the most amazing, passionate universal language, central to my life from the beginning. We also used to sing round the piano while my Aunt played and my cousins harmonised - a very Irish tradition. One of my Dad's favourites was always 'Danny Boy', though we sang our fair share of Christmas carols too! I was a bit of an innovator even in those days, being one of the first to introduce 'modern' instruments into the church, which was a feat of diplomacy in not upsetting or alienating the older generations, whilst opening hearts and minds to new music that could enrich people's lives, if presented without threat. I guess I¹ve carried that approach through my music career; it¹s really what I still do best - reaching the broadest demographic with meaningful songs. A song can transcend by touching the heart and changing our perspective, if even for a moment. The greatest songs change us forever. 'Making this album has been a journey that took us to the greatest depths of soul-searching and the most fantastic heights - those moments when you know something special just happened. There is nothing more gratifying than watching your songs find their voice. It was the most wonderful privilege to be able to call upon so many of my longest-standing musical colleagues and friends - such skilful, inventive, spiritual people and such a great team. These are the guys who put up with my substantial learning-curve when I was just starting out, who taught me so much with their expertise and patience, and occasional, well-timed constructive comments like 'I'd prefer it if we didn't do that song next time!' There's something to learn from every situation!' Karin, who now lives in South East Dorset, has many musical influences, apart from those great female artists previously mentioned, including the Beatles, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Lenny Kravitz, Alan Parsons, Peter Gabriel, Sheryl Crow, Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Tom Waits, Simply Red, Amy Grant, Norah Jones, Joss Stone and Paul Simon. However her greatest musical hero is most definitely James Taylor!!