Small Stories, Big Collective: An Interview with Jazz Singer Laura Corallini

by | indieBerlin



Laura Corallini is a Berlin-based Argentinian jazz singer working on her second album. I talked to her about the musician’s life in Berlin and her crowdfunding campaign.

How has living in Berlin influenced your music?

Living in Berlin has influenced my music and inspired me in many different ways. Being that Berlin is such a big city, I could feel anonymous and try out a lot of things. I felt like there were no boundaries and that I was able to get rid of my own preconceptions about what was good or bad, beautiful or ugly. The musicians I played with and the music lessons I took all over Europe were a big part of what inspired me.

What is the Berlin music landscape like for indie jazz artists?

The jazz scene in Berlin is very intense, there´s a lot going on and there are many very talented artists trying to do their thing. I think Berlin provides many oportunities to try out things, perform, and be inspired. Unfortunately, the economic/commercial side of it isn´t so promising. Berlin is known to be “poor but sexy,” I prefer saying it’s sexy but poor. In the end, it´s quite difficult for musicians to be able to develop their music when there´s no money. You need time and to be able to free your mind of “mundane” worries so you can develop and produce your project and connect with your creative world. I find this difficult. Most musicians actually teach, including myself. I totally love my teaching activities, but they do take lots of time ans energy.

Who are your musical influences?

Ufff, so many! Argentinean pop rock from the 70s and 80s (Spinetta and Charly García being my all times favorites), Latin American music from all eras (Argentinean Folk, Anacrusa, Silvio Rodriguez, Jaime Roos, Chabuca Granda) , Brazilian music composers (like Chico Buarque, Tom Jobim,  Gismonti, João Gilberto) and singers Elis Regina, Rosa Passos, Tania Maria, Joyce, Mercedes Sosa, Ella Fitzerald, Lila Downs, Maria João, Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, Björk, Bobby McFerrin…the list is endless!

In this new album you combine Latin American and European musical traditions. Could you go into that a bit more?

I have always felt attracted to the limits of  popular, folkloric, and modern styles; the old and the new; the traditional and innovative. I feel this way about music but also about fashion, architecture and almost any form of human expression. I recognized the opportunity that was being presented to me in Berlin. I wanted to go back to that folkloric tradition and keep the message, the melody, the story, the images attached to it while also approaching it from an honest personal perspective, that of a woman from a big city living abroad for some years now who wants to revisit those places from her personal point of view. This way of looking at it allowed me to open this repertory up and perform this music with local musicians. The result was moving to both me and the musicians I shared this with.

Who are the other musicians playing on your album?

Marcel Krömker is the musical director and on double bass, Ludwig Hornung is on piano and Tobias Backhaus is on drums. Three sensitive, talented and experienced German musicians that color this repertory with their own  musical influences.

What inspired you to choose these songs for the album?

These songs are all part of my musical history from the time before I moved to Berlin. I discovered many of them as a young teenager with a deep interest in music. I only truly understood the stories later. These songs talk about people, landscapes, countries, living in exile, love – topics that are never outdated. They are small stories that are, in many cases, the story of a bigger collective. When I first showed Marcel Krömker some of the tunes a couple of years ago I didn´t realize how exciting the process would be. Deconstructing the pieces and building them up again transformed the tunes in my ears forever. They became a bit more “mine.”

Why did you decide to do a crowdfunding campaign?

The costs of producing an album the way I wanted to (in a good studio, paying the musicians the money the should be paid, etc) as an independent artist were out of my reach and I didn´t want to wait longer to put all these years of work into one recording.

When is your album coming out?

I’m aiming for spring 2017, but I´m waiting for some news in the coming weeks to see how my 2017 develops.

Are you planning on touring anytime soon?

Yes, I hope we will be able to present the album after next spring. We have three concerts already confirmed and we’re rehearsing right now!

Do you have any advice for burgeoning jazz singers living in Berlin?

No!! Maybe they have advice for me? Haha 🙂

Laura Corallini’s indiegogo campaign has lots of cool perks and is ending in just a few days. I encourage you to check it out!

Interviewer: Eli Lewy

Hear the latest Moa McKay Single Heartbreak Billie