By connecting the sounds of many cultures, Monika Wall has created her own jazz-based vintage cabaret music. An award winning, international singer, her deep roots in the classics, from the lushness of Puccini to the charm of Porter, feed her music reminiscent of bygone eras. Her signature sound ranges from swampy old Southern blues/gospel to the charm of Hollywood’s golden age with hints of influences from Europe. Whether singing in an Afro-American Gospel choir in the US or performing opera arias overseas, Monikas’ voice spans several octaves while transitioning from jazz/blues to cabaret/classical.
Her debut CD ‘Parallel Mondo’, filled with thoughtful lyrics, has all the elements of music which has filled her life. This deep well of musical experience pours out as soaring melodies (Vocalise on a Magic Carpet), a charming swing tune (Get Your Happy On) or a traditional Irish folk tune (Ade). Her lyrics reflect her belief to choose joy and abundance in life.
Many songs reflect on Monika’s experience of living and singing in Europe. After having won several competitions in Canada (Best Performance of Original Composition by Michael Matthews in the Eckhard-Gramatee National Competition, Northwest Regional Metropolitan Opera Competition) she participated in a vocal competition in Hamburg. There she realized that time spent in Europe would be essential to her career. Six weeks later she moved to Germany with her husband and two toddler sons. This sense of adventure carries over into the wide range that she sings, redefining and broadening sounds, which are familiar yet completely fresh.
After five years, and full of stories from Montpellier to Vienna to Berlin, she returned to her native Winnipeg. She continued building on her established solo work in classical music, jazz and spirituals (Manitoba Opera, Philharmonic Choir, Gilbert and Sullivan Society, CBC Hymn Sing, Rainbow Stage).
One night she woke to a melody echoing in her head. “I sang it into a recording device, immediately another song came and then another. The fact that they came as 3 songs in one night finally made me take my songwriting seriously” remembers Monika. Since that call to song writing she has written over 70 songs. Monika will literally “feel” a song coming saying “ I accept each song like a child with it’s own personality. I don’t try to create music to fit one style”.
In 2010 a major work, ‘Handmaid of the Lord’ (20 songs) which tells the story of the nativity seen through the eyes of Mary, debuted to a sold out house and hundreds more listeners in 2011. A solo work which transitions from classical, latin rhythms, swing and even a tango. As one listener put it “I kept thinking this is my favourite...until I heard the next one.”
‘Parallel Mondo’ is the first recording of Monika’s originals. Radio play includes ‘Guy Thing’ (CBC radio), ‘Ade’, ‘Stolen’, ‘Brighter Day’(Live 365), ‘Get Your Happy On’ and ‘Looking Glass’(Radioplay, UMFM) and ‘Little Bee’ (UMFM).