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12-21 November 2021

Sonia Slany

Our friend Sonia Slany died in January 2021 - here is a tribute to her life and music

Sonia Slany was a wonderful string player, arranger and composer, who enriched the lives of everyone who worked with her, and she's been a big part of our concerts for the last 25 years. She helped to create a series of special projects for Serious - a Meltdown collaboration with Laurie Anderson, an improv album with Ryuichi Sakamoto, and a featured part in Courtney Pine's celebration of the Commonwealth Games. One of the loveliest moments was when Sonia led a string orchestra for Caetano Veloso and Jaques Morelenbaum, and Caetano danced ecstatically around her onstage at the Barbican as she brought his music to life.

She featured on many of the film soundtracks and games scores that were recorded in London, but she always cleared the diary so that she could lead the strings in Guy Barker's Jazz Voice, the opening gala of the EFG London Jazz Festival. Sonia and her partner Paul Clarvis ran the boutique record label Village Life, which made some classic records by Henry Lowther among many others. She released her album Monochord Music on the label, and created a special monochord concert for us, which Michael Church evoked in The Independent here

Exploring healing and meditation through music was an important part of her life, even while she battled the long illness that finally took her life last week.

Our thoughts are with Paul, their daughter Naima and everyone who loved and laughed with Sonia.


Seb Scotney has collated several tributes from across the industry in this piece on London Jazz 


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