Image by Sonja Trabandt
With her debut album ,, Love is yours is mine” (Unit Records) Kiki Manders creates an enchanting world of expressive nuances. Her compositions, powerful and sensualy soft at the same time, quietly leave a resonance with a greater intuitiv understanding. Electric bass trickling cool and light, resembling that moment at daybreak, just before the dew kisses the grass. The sound of the guitar melancholic and misty. When listening, her voice - sometimes woolly, other times crisp, but never complacent - embraces, melts together with the colors of the music and becomes a potpourri of fantasy and playful originality.
In Kiki’s music is nature and she finds music in nature. The singer takes inspiration from her encounters with nature, she prefers to write music outdoors - where she feels as a free and moving part of everything. Kiki Manders not only understands the dynamics of the natural as a metaphor for her music, but for life in general ". I want to live life like water and wind". It is not a coinsidence that the only title on the album that isn’t her own composition, Avec le temps by Leo Ferre, picks up on the transience of life thematically and describes it in a most touching way. Some of the ten songs are written in her mother tongue, a dialect of the South of the Netherlands, which additionally makes the diverse album very personal and authentic.
Manders grew up in Venlo in the south Netherlands and graduated from the jazz singing program at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. After graduation, Manders moved to New York City to study Poetry and Improvisation. She started writing songs in the dialect from her hometown Venlo while living in New York and recently recorded a selection of them, amongst other compositions, to be heard on her debut album "Love is yours is mine" (Unit Records).
A finalist in the Voicingers International Singers Competition and a semi-finalist in the Brussels Young Jazz Singers Vocal Competition, Manders’ “irrepressible style” makes her an “in demand musician both as a bandleader and as a sideman.” She lent her voice to Amsterdam-based saxophonist Maarten Ornsteins’ avant-garde funkband DASH! and performed with this band throughout Europe, in the Music Theatre production “Spica”, multi-disciplinary theatre performance “Brilliant Limbs" and toured China with the band.
Manders performed and/or collaborated with The Metropole Orchestra, Jim Black, Maarten Ornstein, Oene van Geel, Vince Mendosa, Yuriy Yaremchuk, Jeffrey Bruinsma, Bodek Janke, Phil Donkin and others. She performed at world known venues and festivals such as The Bimhuis, Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, Paradiso, North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Concert Hall Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the Unterfahrt in Germany, the Sziget Festival in Hungary, the Brussels Jazz Club in Belgium, Jazzclub Jazz Dock in the Czech Republik, Jazz Club Dzyga in Ukraine, the Jazz Gallerie in Canada and at the Nanjijng Jazz Festival and the Chengdou Jazz Festival in China.
Kiki Manders lives in Berlin and besides her artistic work she is teaching at Hochschule für Musik in Dresden.
Images by Harold Bauer & Andreas Cohrs
"When it comes to jazz singing, there are major differences. Not every interpreter can enchant the audience, which is exactly what it's about in this genre. All the more surprising when a young voice emerges that evidently masters this magic. Kiki Manders has all it takes to become one of the top vocalists in the jazz world"....... "The fact that a young singer releases such a mature product is equally amazing and fascinating"...... "All in all Manders has released an incredible first album" Concerto Magazin (AT)
"But they still exist, the honest, favourable, serious and after all exhilarating offers. With content as well as with space. Like the aspiring Dutch singer Kiki Manders in jazzclub Unterfahrt."
“And that’s how Manders’ version of Der Mond ist Aufgegangen, cool and touching at the same time, fits perfectly to a trivial prophecy the author couldn’t resist: with Kiki Manders not only the moon, but also another star in the sky of jazz vocals has risen, wanna bet?”
"Dutch singer Kiki Manders opens the first song on her debut album in the "Venlose" dialect, which she grew up with. This works amazingly well with the subtle music, that fits Manders like a glove"...... " Manders is consistently convincing with her expressive and warm voice"...... "If you like music to take you into another world, Kiki Manders' world is definitely one to try out."
"When it comes to jazz singing, there are major differences. Not every interpreter can enchant the audience, which is exactly what it's about in this genre. All the more surprising when a young voice emerges that evidently masters this magic. Kiki Manders has all it takes to become one of the top vocalists in the jazz world"....... "The fact that a young singer releases such a mature product is equally amazing and fascinating"...... "All in all Manders has released an incredible first album"
"The combination of modern compositions with free improvised music, melancholic French sounds, funk rhythms and two songs in Dutch dialect, is what makes the classic clear sounding singer unique. Highlight of the album is the adventurous Particles, with fine scat melodies, an uplifting drumsolo by Bodek Janke and even a mysterious choir. A talent to keep an eye on!
"It is an album that captivates with its very own charm of naturalness, naivety and sophistication - frank and free, no little thing...!"
"Manders arranged Leo Ferre's touching Chanson "Avec le Temps" in a most compelling way. The song impresses, and not only Manders refined voice, but also Attila Muehl's virtuoso guitar playing makes this to one of the most beautiful works on the album. The short final piece, "Alles begint met ut hert", sung and whispered in dialect with the accompaniment of stunning and deep piano chords, is about the rhythm of life, the rhythm of the heart as the centre of the Universe. Kiki Manders has a lot going for her, both her lyrics and vocal abilities, as well as her compositions possess a thrilling sensitivity. A very promising, impressive debut!"
"A kaleidoscopic jazz-now vocal album"
"Manders has her own unique sound and sings slightly different than the average singer. Her improvisations are often built on the essence of the theme, although they sometimes seem to be spontaneous eruptions.
"“As if the angels from the stuccoed ceiling in the hall joined in, that’s how Kiki Manders sounded as she presented the first title from her debut album "Love is yours is mine" in Castle Tiengen. Manders sounded refreshingly different, merging her modern compositions with free improvisations. Her voice was sometimes ethereally soft, sometimes dark, and in other moments very powerful.”