Marena Whitcher‘s Shady Midnight Orchestra

Avant-Garde-Pop, Ghost-Jazz

Order album Ghostology (2015, Prolog Records)


Marena Whitcher Compositions, vocals, guitar, glass harp
Nils Fischer Bass clarinet, soprano saxophone
Lisa Hasler Vocals, toys
Marina Sobyanina Vocals, toys
Luzius Schuler Piano
Maximilian Whitcher Double bass
Nicolas Stocker Drums, glockenspiel

Selection press reviews

"(Marena Whitcher) represents originality and unconditional love of experimentation."
Stefan Künzli in the article "Jazz is hip again," Schweiz am Sonntag, 28th of May 2016

"Marena Whitcher isn't a jazz singer. Marena Whitcher is a cosmos."
Carine Zuber in her laudatio for jazz-prize of the IBK (International Bodensee Conference), October 2015

"Marena Whitcher now presents a debut album that simply bubbles over with originality. Singing glass harps, strumming music boxes, a touch of Dada, choral singing, theatrics, recklessness, melancholy, improvisation, avant-garde and ghost-jazz. Not recommended for the faint-hearted."
Ane Hebeisen, Der Bund, May 2015

"The compositions are intricately composed, taking exquisite care in every single detail. Dense textures are delivered in a hauntingly beautiful narrative that evokes a musical similarity to Tim Burton’s visual quirkiness. Her ability shines through everything, and one senses a devoted effort in each note."
Mischa Mathys, The Formant, Dear Velvet, Mai 2015

Press text

Carving her niche in the young Swiss jazz scene, 26 year-old Marena Whitcher from Zurich is a musician and performer. Her excursions into every imaginable and inconceivable vocal dimension are eccentric and theatrical, counterpointed by her exploration of sinister and melancholy realms. Last year's recipient of the prestigious art-prize granted by the Berlin Academy of Arts, as well as four further national prizes, Marena Whitcher has arranged a mosaic of facets in her elaborate Shady Midnight Orchestra, releasing her first album, entitled Ghostology (2015, Prolog Records).

Ghosts and spirits have haunted all different ages and cultures. Marena Whitcher is fascinated with these timeless creatures. Always restless, they shift between life and death, sadness and euphoria, torment and intrigue. This clash of opposites drives and informs Marena's personal investigation of ghostly escapades. Composing in a poetic jazz/avant-garde pop style that consistently departs from conventions, her inquisitive spirit arranges a unique ensemble of three voices, bass clarinet, piano, double bass, and drums, seasoned with curiosities discovered in a trove filled with such treasures as a glass harp, a music box or a broken dictaphone.

The most prominent feature of Marena's ghost-jazz are the stories she tells with her transforming voice; stories of dancing skeletons, soldiers frozen in time, and a strange ocean child capture her listeners.

On the suite-like concept-album Ghostology, as well as in her live performances, Marena Whitcher with her Shady Midnight Orchestra not only expands every piece to the breaking point, she also weaves improvisational moments, storytelling, and bizarre spectacles into a Gesamtkunstwerk, a cohesive artistic statement that conjures spirits to guide us on a risky journey into the unknown. 

Selection past concerts / references

May 2016 Jazz festival Schaffhausen
Oct 2015 IBK Jazz-prize (International Bodensee Conference)
Nov 2015 Prize priz netzhdk
Jul 2015 2-week MuzEnergo festival-tour / Russia
Apr 2015 Moods, Zurich - Semifinale ZKB Jazz-prize
Mar 2015 Art prize of the Berlin Academy of the Arts