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"Recent rave review of Lazy Afternoon"

Swedish-born singer Elin (née Kathleen Clelia Elin Melgarejo) moved to the U.S. as a young adult, won a scholarship to study Portuguese in Brazil, and later received her musical training in vocal jazz at the University of Miami in Florida. Eventually the peripatetic singer settled in New York City, and the local jazz scene is all the better for it.

Her debut album, Lazy Afternoons, on the Blue Toucan Music label, deploys a vast band and exciting Latin arrangements (from baião to bossa) behind Elin’s lustrous vocals (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese). Her delivery is smooth and contained, each vocal line, scat solo, or horn break gliding sinuously into the next.

Elin wrote the arrangements with pianist Luiz Simas, who also co-produced the album and sings backup on it. They open the CD with a medley of “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Telefone”—an unexpected and surprisingly hip alliance of an American chestnut and a Brazilian classic. The title cut follows this inviting opener; an innately dreamy and seductive tune, “Lazy Afternoon” takes on a subtle urgency here, with Elin’s wistful singing and trumpeter Claudio Roditi’s plaintive horn solos.

The CD includes several traditional Brazilian favorites—by Jobim and Nascimento, of course—but with more careful attention to musical detail than is usual: Listeners familiar with popular representations of Brazilian music will appreciate Elin’s rendition of “Aquarela do Brasil,” a return to the tune’s cultural authenticity (with Mathias Künzli on percussion).

On two of her originals Elin departs from the Brazilian jazz lexicon: “Sugar” and “La Luna” engage with their lighter musical textures and demonstrate Elin’s facility with both language and melody. Her third original (co-composed with Sean Harkness), “I Love New York,” boasts clean melodic lines and a straight-forward Latin groove, in homage to the singer’s adopted city. Elin also offers one jazz standard: a grit-free version of Ellington’s “Lush Life”—not your usual interpretation of the dark ballad.

Speaking on basis of first impression, Elin is not a dark singer. This is not a criticism. Brazilian jazz celebrates that which is radiant and joyous and moving, and in this regard, Elin more than matches the material she sings. - All About Jazz - June 2007

"Down Beat rave review of "Lazy Afternoon""

Zeal, ambition and musical ESP fire Elin’s Lazy Afternoon. A Sweden-born singer who at the age of 15 foresaw her fate in the records of João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim, Elin delivers a debut that has all the wonder of a magical discovery and the sensuous allure of a balmy Rio night.
Elin draws you in, turning familiar songs into an intimate and personal concert. She seems to sing to only you, like there is no one else around. One example of this cozy appeal is her gorgeous reading of “Lazy Afternoon,” as she’s joined by an ensemble as musically empathetic as she is beautifully expressive. She elongates her phrases here, stretching out the lyrics into a nearly wordless, shimmering purr. She inhabits the floating samba of “Aquarela do Brasil” like a pro, but it is on ballads like Jobim’s “Bonita” where Elin sounds particularly inspired. Like a Frank Sinatra devotee, she controls the song’s tempo and demeanor through her lush phrasing and luxurious delivery, each word flowing like liquid chocolate.
–Ken Micallef, January 2007
- Down Beat Magazine, Jan '07 issue

""A Jolt of Jazz: Elin knows a thing or two about the world.""

What you see is what you get with Elin. A pretty face with a voice to match, the Irish-Peruvian jazz starlet creates breezy music as intriguing as her background. The singer spent years refining her mature and sultry sound while learning five languages and absorbing the cultural awareness particular to those who have lived on several continents. She keeps her singing far from monotonous via smooth vocals that slink over varying rhythms or break out into playful scats that flow in unison with the supporting instruments.
Although Elin (born Kathleen Celia Elin Melgarejo) has a repertoire that's refreshingly free of dullness, ennui led her to a discovery that shaped the course of her future. Bored in her home in Sweden, the then-teenager stumbled across her parents' record collection, where Brazilian jazz gems like João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim lay waiting to inspire the fledgling songbird. Although her knowledge of jazz and bossa nova was limited, the discovery immediately entranced the young musician, and Elin soon found herself in a second-hand record store, delving deeper into the genre. "When I played [those records] ... time stood still. It was the most fascinating thing I'd ever heard. I had been studying music all my life. I knew music, but I didn't know jazz per se," says Elin. The opposite can now be said as she prepares to release her debut album, Lazy Afternoon, an urbane work that unfolds with exotic jazz and pop sensibility.
A product of her multicultural upbringing and expeditions in Europe and Brazil, the album showcases Elin's linguistic prowess and worldly influence through jazz standards and originals sung in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Language is not the only barrier she crosses on the release. Brazilian classics such as "Aquarela do Brasil" and a baião version of "Vera Cruz" share space with American favorites like "Fascinating Rhythm" and the dreamy "Lazy Afternoon." The effect that different cultures have had on Elin never ceases to present itself in her work.
"One of my dreams is when I do shows in different countries ... to learn a song that's very known to that particular country and then perform it as an homage.... It's kind of like my tribute to these cultures and languages that fascinate me," reveals the singer.
Aside from being influenced by her travels, Elin garners inspiration from within. The songstress's ability to harness her feelings and emit them through song is exemplified on the track "I Love New York." Having been employed at the World Trade Center when it was destroyed, Elin delivers heartfelt crescendos that reflect her experience and genuine sentiment.
"Jazz is a very emotional music, and I think that I've always been a very emotional person. So I was able to grasp that and use it in the way that I would sing and interpret songs. Whatever emotions and depths that I've experienced in life, I go there when I'm performing," she explains.
Elin's globetrotting brought her to the United States, where she furthered her musical studies at the University of Miami. The fast talker and emotive singer has since settled in New York. Nearly worlds away from her humble beginnings in Sweden, Elin holds a notion of jazz that seems to parallel her life and music: "There's a lot of freedom for the performer. There's also a lot of spontaneity for the person listening to the music, because you just never know what to expect and you never know where it's going to go or where it's going take you."
-Alexandra Quiñones 8/24/06

""Elin canta jazz en tres idiomas""

Elin se pronuncia Iialín, porque es un nombre sueco. De madre irlandesa y padre peruano, Elin habla cinco idiomas y, según su primer disco, que saldrá a la venta el próximo 5 de septiembre, canta al menos en tres: portugués, inglés y español. Los interesados en comprobarlo pueden verla esta noche a partir de las 8:30 en el Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club.
El segundo tema da nombre al CD: Lazy Afternoon, de Jerome Moross y John Latouche. Tres son composiciones suyas, una de ellas en español, La luna. Abre con Fascinating Rhythm, de Gershwin, y entre las restantes figuran Bonita, de Antonio Carlos Jobim; Vera Cruz, de Milton do Nascimento, y Aquarela do Brasil, de Ary Barroso. Obviamente, no disimula mucho su pasión por Brasil.

De hecho, fue con la música brasileña como empezó todo en su adolescencia.

''Era una lazy afternoon [una tarde sin mucho que hacer] de vacaciones escolares en verano, en mi casa en Suecia'', cuenta Elin en las notas del CD y en una conversación telefónica en perfecto español recién llegada a Miami. 'Empecé a hurgar entre los discos de mis padres y puse uno que nunca había escuchado, de Joao Gilberto y Antonio Carlos Jobim. Tenía 15 años, había estudiado música desde los siete y no sabía lo que era jazz. Cuando escuchaba algo que me parecía jazz no me gustaba, pero aquello era bossa nova, que es más o menos una mezcla de samba con jazz; las armonías son parecidas a las del jazz. Yo tenía el presentimiento de que era algo así, y entonces supe que iba a ser cantante de jazz. `Algún día me iré a Brasil, aprenderé el portugués, a tocar la guitarra así y a cantar esa música', me dije''.

Al volver a la escuela un mes después, habló del asunto con sus amigos y algunos de ellos, amantes del jazz, empezaron a enseñarle. Entonces, dice, ya tenía la mente abierta para comenzar a aprenderlo, y no pasó mucho tiempo antes de que comenzara a reunir discos de intérpretes femeninas del género.
''Me compraba álbumes de todas las grandes vocalistas del jazz, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, y me metí de lleno en el jazz americano'', recuerda Elin. ``Buscaba la partitura original de cualquier standard que me gustara, veía cómo había sido concebida la melodía y luego reconocía las variaciones que le hacía Billie, y cómo Ella hacía otra cosa diferente. Eso fue lo que más me gustó al principio, esa libertad del jazz. Sin entender mucho de la música, me di cuenta de que ellas estaban cantando estas canciones de una manera muy personal, y la intuición me llevó por ese camino''.

El instrumento que más tiempo estudió y tocó fue el clarinete, y luego el piano. Pasó ''un tiempito'' tocando flauta, saxofón y arpa.
''A veces, cuando canto, toco un poquito de percusión'', dice.
Esta noche la acompañarán los tres músicos con los que se ha presentado ya en Nueva York y Denver: Ehud Asherie al piano, Greg Jones en el bajo y Rogerio Boccato en la percusión. Esta noche, adelanta, tal vez se incorpore también un saxofonista que toca con Sandoval. Luego regresa a Nueva York, donde el próximo martes 5 de septiembre se hará la presentación oficial de Lazy Afternoon. De todas formas, quienes vayan esta noche al Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club podrán comprarlo.

Fue precisamente cuando vino a vivir a Miami con sus padres, que pudo viajar a Brasil como estudiante de la Escuela de Música de la Universidad de Miami y meterse de lleno en la música de Elis Regina y Leny Andrade. Elin --cuyo nombre completo es Kathleen Clelia Elin Melgarejo-- ha dicho alguna vez que, a pesar de su conocimiento de varios
idiomas, ninguno le resultó tan difícil de aprender como el portugués. Al preguntársele por qué, su respuesta revela cómo se cierra el círculo de su afición por el jazz y la música brasileña en una cualidad de ese idioma.

''Tal vez un académico o alguien así lo haga, pero nadie habla la gramática correcta del portugués'', explica la cantante. ``Sé que por hablar español y francés debía resultarme más fácil que a los angloparlantes que lo aprendían conmigo, pero la gramática portuguesa me pareció complicada, y por otra parte, lo que todo el mundo habla es una jerga. Hay más formas del verbo. Hablarlo como lo hablan ellos, sobre todo en Río, es muy complicado. Y yo soy perfeccionista''.
-Jose Antonio Evora, August 23, 2006 - El Nuevo Herald

"Elin's first review of "Lazy Afternoon""

Elin's story is one of dogged determination. Born Kathleen Celia Elin Melgarejo, she's a Swede who fell in love with Brazilian music, then fell in love with jazz, decided she would learn Portuguese and immerse herself in Brazilian culture, and finally put it all together to become a singer of Brazilian jazz. Lazy Afternoon is the evidence that she succeeded beautifully in accomplishing her goal. Performing both original compositions and standards by George and Ira Gershwin (a swinging, upbeat "Fascinating Rhythm" opens the set), Milton Nascimento, Antonio Carlos Jobim and others, Elin proves a skillful improviser, a clever manipulator of melody, and a confident bandleader. Moving from sambas to more straightforward jazz, she possesses a genial tone and a skillful, imaginative delivery. The steady rolling of "I Love New York," her tribute to her adopted city (she worked at the World Trade Center), is sung in a spirited manner devoid of somberness, while the Brazilian-originated material -- including the deliciously breezy "Doralice," which she heard sung by João Gilberto, and the scatted "Casa Forte," borrowed from Elis Regina -- leave no doubt that this European with Brazil in her blood has thoroughly carried out her dream.
-Jeff Tamarkin, Summer 2006 - AllMusic.com


"Lazy Afternoon" - debut album on Blue Toucan Music.
Can be heard entirely at www.elinmusic.com.
Currently playing on national jazz radio.
22+ weeks on JazzWeek World Music Chart.



"Zeal, ambition and musical ESP fire Elin's 'Lazy Afternoon'...a debut that has all the wonder of a magical discovery...like a Frank Sinatra devotee, she controls the song's tempo and demeanor through her lush phrasing and luxurious delivery, each word flowing like liquid chocolate." - Down Beat Magazine, Jan 2007

"Brazilian jazz celebrates that which is radiant and joyous and moving and in this regard, Elin more than matches the material she sings." – All About Jazz, June 2007

“Elin proves a skillful improviser, a clever manipulator of melody and a confident bandleader...this European with Brazil in her blood has thoroughly carried out her dream.” –AllMusic.com

Brand new rising star, Elin (pronounced EE-a-leen), has reached astonishing heights this year on the NYC music scene by selling out Jazz at Lincoln Center—Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, and performing at other prestigious venues such as Joe’s Pub, Sweet Rhythm, Smoke, The Kitano, Zinc Bar, and now the Blue Note Jazz Club. Her star is also steadily rising in other major cities such as Miami where she performs regularly at the Arturo Sandoval Jazz Club. Outside the U.S., Elin already has bookings lined up in Europe and South America for 2008.

Born and raised in Sweden by Peruvian and Irish parents—and fluent in five languages—Elin is the embodiment of multiculturalism. Her debut album, Lazy Afternoon, released in 2006 to rave reviews by jazz radio and critics alike, is a genre-bending mix of American & Brazilian standards combined with fresh new originals. Singing in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, she’s a polished jazz vocalist with a pop sensibility who showcases an ardent vocal style and an uncanny ear for melody.

Lazy Afternoon placed extremely well on the JazzWeek charts after its release: On the World Music Chart, it debuted as the #1 most added album and then peaked at #6. On the Traditional Jazz Chart, it debuted as the 6th Most Added CD, and on the College Jazz Chart it peaked at #4. Elin was also featured on PRI's "The World" which aired on NPR.

"I played her right out of the box, and received 14 calls! She's a singer who can masterfully paint portraits using a simple lead-sheet, great musicians, and her inborn talent. Elin is in immediate heavy rotation." Dennis Woo – KTEP El Paso, Texas

"Lazy Afternoon is on its way to being one of my favorite discs of the last six months." John Ziegler – KUMD Duluth, Minnesota

"Elin's fantastic! What a voice, what style, timing and phrasing! I'm wild about her. You can be sure I'll welcome this in my on-air rotation." Fritz Byers – WGTE Toledo, OH

"I love Elin's CD! I was blown away by the Luna song." Stu Grant – WLVE Miami, FL

"You're absolutely right! Elin is special. The title tune fits my program perfectly. I also like Aquarela Do Brasil. I think this is going to be one of my favorite CDs." Roger Boykin – KKDA Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

"Thanks for hipping me to this great vocalist!" Rusty Hassan – WPFW Washington, D.C.

"I found great pleasure to hear an accomplished vocalist singing in different languages, and saying to myself, this I could listen to completely, and easily find several tracks for frequent spins. A fine release." Bruce Tater – KETR Texas A&M University – Commerce, TX

Elin grew up in three distinct cultures and continents - Europe, North and South America. She's the oldest of six children, fluent in five languages, an eight-year resident of New York City, instrumentalist and student of music since the age of seven, and utterly obsessed with Brazilian music! This should give you a start at understanding the colorful complexities and remarkable adventures from which Elin draws her inspirations and expressions.

It all began one lazy summer afternoon in Sweden when Elin was 15, in a moment she says altered the course of her life forever… “School was out for summer break and I’d entertain myself, among other things, by going through my parents’ huge record collection.” One day, she randomly picked one out and played it, not really knowing why, only to become mesmerized by a sound she had never heard before. It was João Gilberto and Antônio Carlos Jobim. She assumed that this was jazz. Right then and there, she knew she was meant to sing this music. “I’m going to be a jazz singer!” she proclaimed. “Someday, I’m going to go to Brazil, learn to speak Portuguese, learn to play the guitar like that, and learn to sing this music!”

Although Elin had been studying music and playing instruments since she was seven, she never liked jazz nor considered being a singer. But after this, she started buying jazz albums of all the great female vocalists including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan, and got heavily into American jazz, without realizing it wasn’t exactly the same as the music that had originally put her on this path. It would be another seven years before Elin finally got back to her first passion—Brazil