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Tena Palmer: bio

Tena Palmer bio

Nova Scotia native, composer/vocalist Tena Palmer; graduated from St Francis Xavier U. with performance diplomas in baritone sax and flute and a B.Mus. in voice.  With Celtic/Jazz group, Chelsea Bridge, she recorded three critically acclaimed cds, toured nationally, internationally and won several awards: Grand Prix du Jazz: best Canadian Band & the SOCAN award for best jazz composition @ Montreal Jazz Festival, Best Jazz Vocal Group- National Jazz Awards. During six years immersed in Reykjavik’s hot bed of new music, Palmer recorded her first solo cd, Crucible, as well as appearing on compilation cds with the arts collective, Kitchen Motors. She has made extended tours/residencies in Scandinavia, Holland, Prague and Central Europe, performing roots, jazz, Brazilian, minimalist electronica, Celtic, spoken word and experimental music. 2005 saw the release of her second solo cd, North Atlantic Drift.  Palmer's voice and writing is featured on more than ten critically acclaimed cds. Dubbed, "the most creative vocalist in Canadian free improvisation", by Stuart Broomer, Toronto Life Magazine, Tena has performed with Hilmar Jensson, David Tronzo, Barry Guy, Johann Johannsson, Pierre Tanguay, Lori Freedman, Gino Robair, Justin Haynes and Jean Martin. Current band T.I.N.T: has just released it debut cd of original alt folk/pop songs with creative improvisers Hilmar Jensson, guitar/electronics, Matthias Hemstock, percussion /electronics and an international ensemble of all-star players. Palmer is a frequent performer of improvised music with artists from across Canada and abroad.

With Chelsea Bridge, Tena has played at NYC's Blue Note club, Montreal’s Salle Wilfred Pelletier and with other groups, prestigious venues in more than a dozen countries. Her North Atlantic Drift Trio's last 2 concerts at Montreal Jazz Fest. were listed in “Best of the Fest” by Gazette critics. Feature documentaries of her work have been presented on BRAVO and Sweden's P2 national radio ( where her CD, Crucible topped the new music charts for six months.) Palmer is also featured in an article in “The Jazz Singers: The Ultimate Guide”, by Downbeat magazine critic, Scott Yanow, Backbeat Press, October 2008


Tena Palmer bio - Leader

Tena Palmer established herself at the forefront of jazz vocal improvisation in North America during five years fronting the Celtic/free bop quartet, Chelsea Bridge. After living in Europe from‘96 -‘03 (Iceland: 6 yrs., Holland, Prague) the award-winning singer and composer now resides in Toronto. Her voice and writing are featured on a dozen critically acclaimed CDs, seven making critics' annual top ten list. Called "the most creative vocalist in Canadian free improvisation" by Stuart Broomer in Toronto Life Magazine, Tena tours and records in many styles: avant pop, roots, experimental, Brazilian, jazz, minimalism, electronica, Celtic, and spoken word. Performance highlights include New York ’s Blue Note Club, Montreal’s Salle Wilfred Pelletier, Molde Jazz Fest. Norway and Festival International de Musique Actuelle, Victoriaville amongst memorable festivals and venues in more than a dozen countries.

Her works have been featured in theatre, film, TV and varied performance ensembles in N. America and Europe. In international composer’s residencies Tena has created and concertized with Abdullah Ch’haddeh - Syria, Benoit Delbeq - France, Andy Milne - NYC, John Gzowski, Andrew Downing, Michael Occhipinti, Mike Murley, Reg Schwager - Toronto to name a few. Other significant collaborators include:Grammy-nominated composer/ bluegrass flat-picker, Slavek Hanzlik (Bela Fleck, Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas), slide guitar innovator, David Tronzo, British composer/ double bassist Barry Guy, award-winning film composer, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and T.I.N.T. bandmate, composer/guitarist, Hilmar Jensson (Jim Black’s Alas No Axis) core contributor to Tena’s newest CD, holy heart of me.

Previous awards include the Prix SOCAN for jazz composition and with group, Chelsea Bridge, the Grand Prix du Jazz at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the National Jazz Award: Best Group w / Vocal. Winner of more than a dozen arts grants from all levels of Canadian government and the Nordic Council, Tena Palmer has been invited to adjudicate arts juries, JUNO awards and has participated in various expert panels at music industry and arts conferences and for CBC radio. In his book listing the greatest jazz singers of all time, Tena Palmer is featured in Downbeat critic, Scott Yanow’s, The Jazz Singers, the Ultimate Guide (Backbeat Press, 2008). A 30 min feature film and two audio documentaries of her work have been presented on BRAVO TV: (Chelsea Bridge Tentet) and on Sweden’s P2 and Iceland’s Ràs 2, national radio.

As a music educator, Tena Palmer has served on staff at Humber College, Carleton University, the Oslo Music Academy, Ingesund Conservatory, Arvíka, Sweden, and F.Í.H. (Iceland). While touring she also teaches voice, composition and improvisation workshops at festivals and schools across Canada and abroad.  In 1999, Tena Palmer was commissioned to write the jazz voice syllabus (post-secondary to graduate level) for Tónlistarskóli F.Í.H., Reykjavík and is proud to have designed the Vocal Section of the Rhythmic Music Syllabus for the Icelandic Ministry of Education.
Tena Palmer                                        p.2
Tena is a frequent player in Toronto’s new music community, performing regularly with AIMT members, as well as the Element Choir, and most recently, improvising scores for silent  films with electro-acoustic ensemble, Red Lantern. She also maintains long-standing collaborations with east coast groups, Upstream Orchestra, Aperture Trio - touring Canada 2015, and her primary singer/songwriter vehicle, tena palmer T.I.N.T. [ there is no them].
Their newly-released CD, holy heart of me, combines lyric-driven songs with textured acoustic and electronic settings by creative improvisers featuring Hilmar Jensson, guitar/electronics, Matthías Hemstock, percussion/electronics and an international ensemble of all-star contemporary musicians. This latest step; from the fringes of experimental to alt. pop/folk /electronica sees Tena Palmer heading out on tour again in 2015 in her fan’s favourite role: “a powerhouse vocalist who seems to put her life on the line in every tune”- Peter Hadekel, Montreal Gazette

Hilmar Jensson - guitarist / electronics

Hilmar Jensson (b.1966) first picked up the guitar at the age of six but started studying formally at age eleven. Graduated from FIH School of Music in 1987. 
BM degree from Berklee College of Music in 1991.  Private lessons with Mick Goodrick, Jerry Bergonzi, Hal Crook and Joe Lovano. 
 Performed and recorded in a wide variety of settings and appeared on over 50 records including 8 as a leader or co-leader.

Performed in 35 countries with his trio "TYFT",
Jim Black’s AlasNoAxis, Trevor Dunn's MadLove, Mogil, Outhouse, BMX and others.
One the founders of Kitchen Motors, an Icelandic record label, think tank and art organization.

Recorded and/or performed with Tim Berne, Andrew D’Angelo, Jim Black, Chris Speed, Skuli Sverrisson, Trevor Dunn, Herb Robertson, Eyvind Kang, Marc Ducret, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake, Cuong Vu, Tom Rainey, Peter Evans, Matt Garrison, Briggan Krauss, Ben Perowski, Jamie Saft, Ches Smith, John Zorn, Ted Reichmann, Ben Street, Wadada Leo Smith, Arve Henriksen, Terje Isungset, Per Jörgensen, Per Oddvar Johansen, Anders Jormin and many others.