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