Ellen Radka Toneff (25 June 1952 – 21 October 1982) was a Norwegian jazz singer, daughter of the Bulgarian folk singer, pilot and radio technician Toni Toneff, she was born in Oslo and grew up in Lambertseter and Kolbotn. She is still considered one of Norway's most outstanding jazz singers.
- 1 Career
- 2 Honors
- 3 Discography
- 3.1 Solo Albums
- 3.2 Collaborative works
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Toneff holds a very special position in the Norwegian jazz history. With her moderate, but intense expression and her discerning musicianship, she made a deep impression on many people. Her highly personal and original qualities, where she combined influences from her father's musical heritage in Bulgaria, with a range of influences from, among other jazz and rock, led her to become a beacon for singers both in Norway and internationally.
She studied music at Oslo Musikkonservatorium (1971–75), combined with playing in the jazz rock band «Unis». She also had her own Radka Toneff Quintet (1975–80), with changing lineup. including musicians like Arild Andersen, Jon Balke, Jon Eberson and Jon Christensen, among others. From 1979 she cooperated with Steve Dobrogosz. In 1980 she participated in the Norwegian national final of the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Parken by Ole Paus.
Toneff was awarded the Spellemannsprisen 1977 in the category best vocal for the album Winter Poem, and she posthumously received the Norwegian Jazz Association's Buddypris in 1982. The Radka Toneff Memorial Award is based on afund created with royalties from the albums Fairytales and Live in Hamburg.
She lived with bassist Arild Andersen for some years, though she was involved with jazz drummer Audun Kleive at the time of her death. She committed suicide. A biography of Toneff was published in 2008.
Toneff had roots in Bulgaria, she grew up on Lambertseter and Kolbotn in Oslo, and left deep traces in Norwegian jazz. In a poll of Norwegian musicians conducted by the newspaper Morgenbladet in November 2011, her 1982 album Fairytaleswas voted the best Norwegian album. Her life flame burned short and intense, she left the world by her own hand at a young age, and was found dead in the woods of Bygdøy, with an overdose of sleeping pills in her blood, the autumn of 1982.
- Spellemannsprisen 1977 in the class Best vocal for the album Winter Poem
- Buddyprisen 1982 posthumously
Solo Albums Edit
- 1977: Winter Poem – with the Radka Toneff Quintet
- 1979: It Don't Come Easy – with the Radka Toneff Quintet
- 1982: Fairytales – with Steve Dobrogosz
- 1992: Live in Hamburg – with Steve Dobrogosz, Arild Andersen, and Alex Riel (recorded in 1981)
- 2008: Butterfly
Collaborative works Edit
- 1971: Svartkatten, Nationaltheatret
- 1971: Slutt opp, kamerat, «Fronteatret»/«Visegruppa PS»
- 1975: Lise Madsen, Moses og de andre, with Ole Paus
- 1978: Leve Patagonia, with Ketil Bjørnstad