Stockholm Women's International Jazz Festival - 5th edition

Wednesday 8th March 2023 @ Fasching 

After 5 years, the Stockholm Women's International Jazz Festival 2023 edition wants to celebrate an important first cycle of its life and it will do it in several different ways. First of all, we will celebrate the female jazz bandleaders and composers on the International Women’s Day, and, for the first time in the Festival's history, we will focus on one single country: Ukraine.

Semente Cultural Productions decided to make a statement, and support not only the ones who are generally under-represented on stages, but now more than ever, those whose voices are silenced and whose culture is threatened (#womenforpeace). In collaboration with the Ukrainian Institute and the Embassy of Ukraine in the Kingdom of Sweden, we selected 3 Ukrainian bands, led by women and playing for the first time in Stockholm. 

For the second year in a row the Festival will be in partnership with Fasching Jazz club, which represents the best house for welcoming new jazz voices not yet heard in Sweden. Fasching’s walls will also host a special exhibition of Jenny Svenberg Bunnel’ sketches from all our 4 past Festival editions. She had the opportunity to draw live all the artists who passed on our stage, including the online streamed 2021 edition, without an audience due to the Covid-19 restrictions. A female artistic sight on this 4 years musical journey into the female voices of jazz. 

To Jenny we also commissioned the painting used for this year’s Festival edition official poster. An original piece of art, a painting on wood , 125 x 125, entitled “Peace”, that will go to auction that night, in order to collect money in support of the Ukrainian refugees' cause (the money will be donated directly to a dedicated bank account of the Ukraine Embassy). 

In the spirit of collaboration and support, we invited our colleagues of Knutpunkt, a network of 21 concert organisers in the western part of Sweden, to book more gigs for the Ukrainian artists invited to play on our stage. In this way we give both sides the possibility to meet and, at the same time, to extend the artist's audience and the promoters' artistic offer. 

As members of Europe Jazz Network, we join the #womentothefore campaign, which aims to advocate for a fairer and more balanced creative music sector throughout several initiatives on specialised media, during the whole month of March. 

#WIJFSWEDEN #WOMENTOTHEFORE #westandwithukraine #womenforpeace 

LELÉKA Quartet 
Roksana Smirnova (piano) & Misha Kalinin (guitar) duo 
GANNA Ensemble 

LELÉKA quartet 
Line up: 

Viktoria Leléka (UA), voice, composition 
Povel Widestrand (SE), piano 
Lorenz Heigenhuber (DE), double bass 
Jakob Hegner (DE), drums 

LELÉKA is a young multicultural Berlin based quartet around the Ukrainian singer Viktoria, whose voice determines the character and atmosphere of their music. The wide range from dynamic grooving passages to tender folk music ballads, finds the perfect setting in a contemporary jazz vernacular, which the quartet has developed into a diversified concept. LELÉKA is a successful example of a young formation that occupies a well considered place within this borderline-smashing genre. This exceptional position in the world of music made them laureates of the Creole Global Music Contest Berlin, Munich Young Jazz Preis, the European Jazz Award Burghausen or nominee of the German Jazz Award as "Band of the Year 2022". 

"LELÉKA, the Berlin quartet with Ukrainian singer Viktoria Leléka, was a particularly fascinating band [...] If this band doesn't manage to break through, an awful lot of things will need to have gone wrong..." - London Jazz News 

“Viktoria Leléka’s Berlin quartet Leléka won, a band that transmutes old folk songs from her homeland Ukraine into a highly diversified jazz in an astonishingly coherent and fresh way, without losing the drama of the original material. Four highly talented musicians made music here, music that clearly means a lot to them.” - Süddeutsche Zeitung 

“Music that touches you and gets under your skin; music that empties, and withstands the entire spectrum, from relaxed joy to devout silence and nostalgia; music that brings together tradition and modernity.” - Oberbayerisches Volksblatt 

ROKSANA SMIRNOVA, piano, composition 
& MISHA KALININ, guitar, composition 

Over the last seven years Roksana and Misha have been developing their duo sound. The result inspires a ride through an imaginary world of landscape and story. The combination of Roksana's delicate yet playful piano playing with Misha's atmospheric soundscapes creates a unique, almost unidentifiable new ensemble sound that eludes genre. Misha Kalinin takes the guitar out of its traditional place. Brimming over with ideas, he creates something remarkably unexpected. Pianist Roksana Smirnova combines spontaneity of improvisation with a sense of form influenced by her classical background. Their performances feature original compositions by both members of the duo. The music brings together strongly contrasting elements: spacious impressionistic sound, improvisational interaction, dynamic rhythmic structures and sounds dissolving in silence. Channelling the flow of inspiration, the duo actively paints pictures in the mind. 

"Pianist Roksana Smirnova draws on her classical formation in combination with improvisation, and guitarist Misha Kalinin takes his instrument out of its traditional role through his distinctive interpretation. These are performers who have found a unique, cross-genre, and creative musical dialogue" -Roger Holdsworth 

“When I ask Roksana Smirnova and Misha Kalinin if it's not paradoxical that the world is discovering Ukrainian culture because of the war, they answer that the paradoxical is that Ukrainians are discovering their own culture for themselves right now” - Arne Berg for NRK radio, Norway 

GANNA Ensemble 
Line up: 

Ganna Gryniva (UA) – voice, loops, effects, compositions 
Bill McHenry (USA)– Tenor saxophone, Soprano saxophone 
Povel Widestrand (SE)– piano 
Tom Berkmann (DE) – double bass 
Mathias Ruppnig (AT) – drums 

GANNA is the international ethnic jazz ensemble from Berlin for which Ganna composes and arranges. As the voice of Ukrainian resistance, GANNA’s artistry is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. A powerful blend of reinterpreted Ukrainian folk songs and modern jazz. Inspired by several musical research trips to different regions of Ukraine, GANNA awakens Ukrainian folklore to a second spring and takes the audience on a journey. Since 2015, the band has been performing all over Europe, delighting audiences at various festivals, opening for Avishai Cohen (tr) and Gerald Clayton. On 30 November 2022, BERTHOLD records released GANNA’s new album HOME. Music of Ukrainian resistance – beautiful and heartfelt. The album powerfully combines a reinterpretation of Ukrainian folk music and modern jazz and received remarkable acclaim from the music press. 

”An album of the year, poignant, powerful, magnificently sung and played” – Deutschlandfunk Kultur (DE) 

“A mood and a voice that immediately captivate. It would be hard to sing about spring more beautifully than she does. These shimmering colours in the voice. This flexibility of the singing. And this naturalness. Behind the singer there is also an excellent band. A strong team for very expressive music” – BR Klassik (DE)