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Crazy Horse Joan (Federica Nardella is the artist's real name) is a London-based singer-songwriter, guitarist, oud and flute-player. She started performing at the age of 17 in an Allman Brothers cover band in Italy, touring the south of the country. At 18 she left her country to study and keep working on her music in England, graduating in English Literature from Royal Holloway University in 2009. During this time, she kept singing blues and performing at blues and jazz venues such as Ain't Nothin' But and The Spice of Life. She grew up on a Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Sam lightnin' Hopkins diet, but she lists Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Debussy, Mendelssohn and Iraqi oud player Nasseer Shamma as some of her biggest influences. Reading poets Rimbaud, Verlaine and Baudelaire, and novelists Dostoevskij and Borges had a major impact on Joan's music. The result of her promiscuous music-listening and reading is her first album 'Babylon Mood', recorded, mixed and mastered by engineer Vasken Arslanian at Brixton's Iguana Studio. A gypsy in spirit, Joan was born to knock down geographical, emotional, linguistic and musical barriers. Her music is a map without borders, where hundreds of universes, languages, experiences, nations and visions meet, each song a unique spirit travelling from her world of madness and love to this reality. In her own words: 'My music is a chronicle of my last five years' journey through life and death. In each of these songs, flowers bloomed from the seeds of solitude, disease, loss, redemption, forgiveness, restless love, returned, unreturned, forgotten, generate a cobweb of astral connections which brought me to this present day, to this precise moment. In each of these songs, there is the person I was and the one I have become. I understood no light exists without its darkness, no loss without gain.' In December 2009, Joan performed at one of the hugely popular 'Ruby Sings' showcase nights taking place at the famous Ronnie's Bar. She introduced the audience to her personal, soulful blend of folk, jazz, bossa-nova and blues. In November the same year, she was offered a residency at the Troubadour, home to the performances of artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. Joan focused on writing and arranging 'Babylon Mood' for most of 2010 and 2011. This fascinating debut is best described as a mixture of jazz, folk, blues and middle-eastern music, and sees Joan performing on guitar, flute and oud as well as vocals. In 2011, she was interviewed by Italian national channel RAI about her work, and reviews of her music have often featured on southern Italian newspapers.
Joan will be releasing an extract from 'Babylon Mood', 'Ishtar', in March 2013.
After a personal experience with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at 20 years old, Joan decided to donate part of the earnings from 'Ishtar' and, later, 'Babylon Mood', to Beating Blood Cancers. You can find out about her fundraising activity on http://www.facebook.com/beatingbloodcancers as well as on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/crazyhorsejoan.
Written & Arranged by Crazy Horse Joan
Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Vasken Arslanian @ Iguana Studio, Brixton
Crazy Horse Joan: Vocals, Guitar, Oud, Flutes
Kate Plane: Trumpet
Mercedes Carroll: Double-bass
Harpal Mudhar: Drums
Dan Clark: Keyboards
Cover: detail from 'The Fall of Babylon', Angers castle tapestry series (Anjou, France), XIV century