Dutch singer Josee Koning: leading lady in Brazilian music

Josee Koning, singer

Dutch singer Josee Koning has an international career in Brazilian jazz, working with Brazilian musicians like Ivan Lins and Dori Caymmi, João Bosco, Nelson Faria and many others. Josee has always had a passion for Brazilian music. She is the co-founder of the legendary Dutch Brazilian fusion group Batida, that recorded three albums, toured internationally and played at the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Working with Brazilian musicians

Josee started to work with Brazilian musicians in 1995 with her first solo-album ‘Tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim’. It was recorded in Los Angeles, and produced and arranged by the famous Brazilian arranger Dori Caymmi. In April 1996 Josee shared the stage with Dori and his father Dorival Caymmi in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

Two worlds

In October 1998 Dori Caymmi came to Holland to record Josee’s second solo-album entitled ‘Dois Mundos / Two Worlds’. He brought Brazilian singer and composer Ivan Lins to participate. The album was successfully released in the Netherlands and Brazil. The track Coração Vagabundo was used for the Brazilian telenovela Seus Olhos in 2004. Ivan Lins also had a leading role in Josee’s third album Recorded in Rio, arranged and produced by Uruguayan guitar virtuoso Leonardo Amuedo. It also featured drummer Teo Lima and accordion wizard Sivuca.

Dutch album with Brazilian swing

In 2005 Josee recorded the Dutch album ‘Verdronken Vlinder’ (Drowned Butterfly) in Rio. It’s a tribute to her first husband, Dutch lyricist Lennaert Nijgh. The Dutch songs received a swinging Brazilian makeover and was very successful in the Netherlands. On this album Josee blended beautiful Dutch lyrics with sensitive Brazilian chords and rhythms. The album was nominated for a Dutch Edison award.
Josee’s album ‘Bem Brasileiro’, was recorded in Brazil featuring singer/songwriter João Bosco, and Nelson Faria (guitar), Ney Conceição (bass) and Kiko Freitas (drums). Josee and the band toured in Holland (2007) and Brazil (2008).

Tribute to Bossa Nova

Josee organized a Tribute to 50 years of Bossa Nova in the Netherlands. For this project she invited her Brazilian friends, guitarist Nelson Faria, bassist Ney Conceição and drummer Kiko Freitas. Fabulous Swiss cellist Daniel Pezzotti and Dutch piano player Hans Vroomans completed the band: Who’s the Bossa? was born. Since this band has played in various line-ups in Brazil, Switzerland and The Netherlands, always enchanting their audience with their superb musical performance.

The Chamber Music Project

In 2014 their first album ‘The Chamber Music Project’ was released. Their approach to Brazilian music is a little different: no bass, no drums. It’s Brazilian Chamber music with some classics and some originals. the album was very well received both in Holland and internationally.

The liner notes were written by Ivan Lins: “On this debut CD, Who’s the Bossa? dives deeply into Brazilian music. Nelson Faria (guitar), Hans Vroomans (piano) and Daniel Pezzotti (cello) play with mature refinement and creativity, while Josee Koning performs beautifully, in impeccable Portuguese. Her unique vocal timbre is sweeter and prettier than ever. Incredible what experience can do! What a beautiful album! One of the most beautiful I’ve heard in the past 5 years. It should be sent to the Grammy awards. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

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