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Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Smooth vocals, Sultry ambience"

MAY 27, 2005 PAGE R7

On the cover of her just-released debut CD Red Umbrella, Astrid Sars describes her music as
"global-retro/bossa, urban-jazz chill." That's a lot to promise. Fortunately the Netherlands-born chanteuse,
alto saxophonist and songwriter delivers. Sars, whose stage name is simply Astrid, is one of the more
experienced artists on the local jazz-lounge scene, and her recording is a sophisticated stylistic blend,
characterized by tight arrangements, smooth vocals and sultry ambience.
"It took two years to make the album, because it's totally self-funded," says Astrid, interviewed at The
Ironworks, Gastown studios that she co-manages. "There were a couple of big pauses when I had to come
up with more money. I didn't work with my regular band Indigo, but picked some of my favourite local
studio musicians -- Chris Gestrin, Finn Manniche, Randall Stoll, Raphael Geronimo and Kerry Galloway,
who co-produced with me. We sat around and created the grooves together until they were just as I
Three of the tracks were recorded several years ago and remixed, including the funky instrumental I
Dunno Yet, featuring Astrid's sons Tim and Nathan on baritone sax and trumpet, respectively. Music
certainly runs in her family. "My dad was an organist, pianist and choirmaster," says Astrid, "and I sang in
the choirs with my sisters. He also listened to a lot of jazz and Brazilian music."
As a girl Astrid studied piano and recorder; she began writing songs in her teens. She didn't start
performing, or playing the flute and sax, until after she moved to Vancouver in 1977. For the next 10 years
Astrid and saxophonist-composer Ross Barrett divided their time between Canada and Europe, touring in
Belgium and Holland especially. "The music we played was art-oriented with a jazz flavour -- along the
lines of Nino Rota and Kurt Weill," she says. "I was also in a Sixties-style rock band here. About six years
ago I put together Indigo, and we do standards and bluesy-jazz material."
Astrid is a busy musician these days. Last month, besides releasing Red Umbrella, she flew to New York
and Toronto with Indigo to perform with Big Apple-based poet Leanne Averbach. And with her partner
and Ironworks co-manager Cal Drysdale, she's preparing to host two concerts a night for the first time at
the Vancouver International Jazz Festival (June 24 to July 3). "The sound [here] is great," she says, "I've
played in this space enough to know that."
The décor in the main studio-gallery at Ironworks, a sprawling, three-storey heritage building, brings
together art and industry. Bistro-style tables and chairs mingle with remnants of some of the machinery
that once made the building hum, and large walls are hung with paintings for sale. It could be in
Amsterdam, Montreal or New York -- but it's right beside the Main Street overpass that sweeps over the
railway lines to the Port of Vancouver.
"This neighbourhood is so exciting for me," says Astrid, looking out the window in the rear studio at the
cranes on the waterfront and the white sails of Canada Place. "I love the diversity -- it's industrial,
commercial and residential all at the same time. The blend makes it very bohemian. Our biggest challenge
here is the perception the rest of Vancouver has of the Downtown Eastside. To my mind it's a treasure."
The neighbourhood provided the inspiration for Red Umbrella's title track, a medium-paced ballad about
how small acts of generosity can transform the way you view the world. Astrid sings it in a breathy voice
The Globe and Mail: Smooth vocals, sultry ambience
2 of 2 5/29/2005 2:35 PM
that's halfway between Bebel Gilberto and Marlene Dietrich, in an arrangement that has an appropriately
urban flavour.
"This a very emotional neighbourhood, and how you see it depends on what mood you're in," she says. "It
makes you feel keenly that you're alive, and opens your eyes to things you don't experience in other parts
of the city. As a musician who's done a lot of travelling, that's really important to me."
Astrid Sars's Red Umbrella is available at Zulu Records, 1972 W. 4th Ave., 604-738-3232. The Ironworks
hosts art shows and special events at 235 Alexander St., 604-681-5033, or visit
© Copyright 2005 Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. - Globe and Mail

"West Coast News"

West Coast News section
May 20, 2005
by Malcolm Parry

On Astrid's CD Red Umbrella: "The 11 songs distantly echo Pink Martini and Mimosa Groups, as well as Brazilian chanteuse Astrud Gilberto, Singer Astrid adds flavour by playing alto Sax and flute." - Vancouver Sun

"Refreshing sounds"

"Just like a nice cool breeze on a hot summer day Astrid sings us some refreshing new bossa sounds with hints of mellow pop melodies, jazzy passages and funky smooth grooves. The sounds are familiar but with a refreshingly nice vibe... a great remedy to warm up a room during those cold winter days... just pop it in and escape to that warm destination of your dreams."

Marc Xavier Leblanc
Host of (((la photo sonore))) on CKUM Radio J 93.5FM
Moncton NB - Marc Xavier Leblanc host of la Photo Sonore

"Review by Mark Andrews, July 21, 2005"

31/2 stars
Astrid Sars who prefers a one name moniker, describes her debut CD as "global-Retro/Bossa, Urban Jazz/Chill with smooth vocals" which pretty much covers all bases. It is also a very hip recording, one which should find a good cross-section audience of young and old-school listeners.

As a vocalist, Astrid is kind of a cross between Bebel Gilberto and Sade: she'd be at home at a Brazilian carnival or an urban lounge. For the samba-beat Running Home, she lays down a silk-edged vocal as Kerry Galloway plays a Brazilian-style acoustic guitar (Galloway, who arranged and produced the record double-tracks guitar and bass on many of the songs, all of wich were written by Astrid). She gives Heart a bluesy, chanteuse treatment, and utilizes electronic vocal manipulation for the easy moving Spinnof. Keyboards player Chris Gestrin and Cellist Finn Manniche combine beautifully on the balad Turn Me Loose.

Besides singing Astrid is also accopmplished as an alto saxophonist and flutist, her alto sax is just right for the slow-groove Eyes of Abraham, and her flute helping to propel You Gave Me Wonder. - Vancouver Sun

"Music Choice Pick"

Netherlands-born chanteuse Astrid has described her music as global-retro/bossa urban–jazz chill—which is another way of saying North European lounge. Her voice and style recall Norway’s Beady Belle, but Astrid also plays flute and saxophone on several of her self-penned songs from the album Red Umbrella. It’s a sound best suited to small spaces like Rime, where Astrid plays this Wednesday (March 15), accompanied by several of Vancouver’s finest jazz musicians, including keyboard wizard Chris Gestrin and guitarist Kerry Galloway.

- Georgia Straight, publish date 9-Mar-2006


As a leader:
1. Full Life October 2012
2. Red Umbrella 2005 independent release
3. The Rossinies EP 1992 independent release

As a side vocalist, sax and flute player:
1. Rhythm of Humanity (Glenna Powrie, 2004)
2. Fever (Leanne Averbach, 2004)
Compilation CD:
The World of volume 9 "The Key" 2007
Trendy Eastern Hong Kong 2 High note Int'l "Red Umbrella" released Jan 2009
Bali A Hip Island Vol 3 "Heart" released May 2009
"Haute" High Society/Universal Music Singapore "Heart" released July 2010



A brief History:
Astrid was born and raised in the Netherlands. She developed her musical sensibilities early with the support of her father, well known conductor Wim Sars, who played organ and conducted Gregorian masses in cathedrals. At a young age Astrid sang in her father’s church choirs with her two sisters in the Netherlands
Her childhood was filled with music mostly listening to Classical music and Jazz.

Over a 20 year period of professional music making in Vancouver, Astrid also performs in Canada, US and Europe.

Important facts to note:

Astrid’s live concept is different from the CD concept. The songs have been opened. That gives room for more playing, improvisation, groove and dynamic on stage. The concept fits both into a concert setting with sitting audience and into a club setting where people can dance and enjoy them selves with catchy, challenging, funky and sexy music.

Her new CD released Oct 2012 "Full Life" is now available on CD Baby.

Astrid performed at the "Pender Harbour Jazz Festival" , Sept 2010

She also performed at the opening Gala for the Vancouver Jazz Festival June 24, 2010.

Astrid finished filming the "Turn me Loose" dance/art/music/film sponsored by BRAVO FACT and “The Canada Council for the Arts”.
Astrid is the actress and composer/performer in this short film.
Filmed July 25-27, 2008 on location in Vancouver and on Aug 9-10 on location in beautiful caribou country in Big Creek BC.
The film has been released and aired by BRAVO June 2010 and is now available on Youtube.

Astrid performed with spoken word artist “Leanne Averbach” and her New York trio on Sept 22, 2008 at “Barnes and Nobles Cabaret Series” on 65th and Broadway in New York City..

In the summer of 2008 Astrid performed with her quartet at the “In the House Festival” in Vancouver and in June 2008 she performed with her 6 piece band at the “Vancouver Jazz Festival” at the outdoor stage at Canada Place.

Astrid’s song “The Key” from her 2005 release “Red Umbrella” was licensed for an episode on Global/TV Series "Shattered" Feb 2011, Canadian TV Series "The Guard" in 2008, the MTV/Logo television Series “EXES and OHS” and for the TV Series “Bloodties” both aired in 2007.