1 April 1983 (age 35)
Reykjavík, Höfuðborgarsvæðið, Iceland
There are 3 artists named Hera
* Icelandic singer/songwriter
* Polish free jazz band
*Turkish alternative rock band
Icelandic singer/songwriter Hera has been living in New Zealand for about 10 years whilst cultivating and carving out a very successful career in her native land on the opposite side of the world. Not an easy task but one that was deservedly rewarded in 2002 when HERA was named Best Female Singer at that year’s Icelandic Music Awards, a major achievement for the young artist given that for the previous 10 years that category had been almost completely dominated by Bjork. Nominated in two categories a delighted HERA claimed the coveted Female Singer Award at the ceremony in Reykjavik on 23rd January 2003.
2002 had been a good year for the talented young lady. Just 18 years of age Hera’s song “Itchy Palms” was chosen as the title track in the Icelandic produced film “Hafio (The Sea)” and she performed the song live at the film’s premiere in September. “The Sea” went onto win 8 Edda Awards that year (the Icelandic film industry version of the Oscars) and has since been distributed in over 30 different countries. The music video with clips from the movie features on the DVD film release of “The Sea”.
2003 continued where the previous year had ended off with her song “Makebelieve” becoming the 3rd most played track on Icelandic National Radio, another major achievement as the station has a very strong and varied international play-list. “Makebelieve also became a finalist in the USA song writing competition that year. The release in summer 2003 of Hera’s Icelandic album “Hafið þennan dag” went on to achieve Gold sales status through Iceland’s major record company, Skifan (now Sena Records).
Taking her talent on the road, Hera played 37 dates around Iceland in 2 months with local hero Buddi Morthens becoming the first ever woman to tour Iceland as a solo musician. A European Roadworks music project concert tour followed (featuring UK musician Adam Masterton and Fiamma from Italy) visiting Italy, UK, Iceland and Holland. She also played an independent solo show in Belgium.
The live shows continued both at home and away in 2004 & 2005 supporting Australian music legend Nick Cave on 2 sell-out concerts and then as support for worldwide superstar Joe Cocker in Iceland’s biggest concert arena. In summer of 2005 Hera played at the famous (but rain-drenched) Glastonbury Festival in UK and ended off the year with a concert event in one of the most remote places on the planet – Ammassalik in Greenland creating yet another unique milestone for the adventurous performer!
Her latest album “Don’t Play This” was released in Iceland in summer 2005 supported by her first national solo tour. By the end of the year the Icelandic music website (www.tonlist.is) had 8 of her songs on their Top 10 Most Played List simultaneously.
Now 22, Hera has returned to her “other home” once again to spread her beautiful musical wings over the southern lands. She has been taking part in the New Zealand Music Industry Commission Mentoring Program, helping children gets started in music to hopefully map out their musical careers to other parts of the world in between performing solo club shows.
Iceland has given the musical world some diverse and wonderful musical success stories in Bjork, Mezzaforte and Sigur Ros to name a few. Hera is the next in a very talented and uniquely gifted line of artists from the Opposite Side of the World.
HERA was initiated by a clarinet player Wacław Zimpel, known for his collaboration with leading modern jazz improvisers: Ken Vandermark, Joe McPhee, Michael Zerang, Steve Swell, Bobby Few, Perry Robinson or Mikołaj Trzaska, to name but a few.
HERA is conceived as a subjective comment on reality proposed by the clarinet player and composer Wacław ZImpel and other musicians invited to take part in his project: sax player Paweł Postaremczak, double bass player Ksawery Wójcinski and percussionist Paweł Szpura.
Wacław Zimpel, one o f the most remarkable Polish jazz musicians, has consistently remained faithful to improvised music, and his successive projects have been received with growing interest both in Poland and abroad.
"Emotional polyphony' is a rudimentary principle that shapes the form of all pieces performed by HERA. It presupposes independent and egalitarian rendition of emotions in often clashing instrumental structures.
In his compositions Zimpel derives inspiration from traditional sacral and folk music of different cultures and gives them contemporary context.
HERA is barely a musical newborn. Its life is measured in months only, and it has already risen in revolt on stage like a teenager. Reminiscent of a rebel it defies fossilized jazz music patterns and leaves no trace of them through very efficient formal deconstruction.
Fascinating orchestration ideas, impressive musical craftsmanship, the power of youth and a fresh approach to musical matter-all this makes them one of the most characteristic and most talented young jazz bands in Poland. Doubtlessly, number one on Polish modern jazz scene!
Hera, founded in 2012, is an alternative rock band from Ankara, Turkey.
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