Violinist Sophie Solomon is going to Stop The Parade

Sophie Solomon

Sophie Solomon - Credit: Archant

Violinist and songwriter Sophie Solomon talks ahead of the launch of her new album, Stop The Parade, inspired by Soviet stories

At an age when most of us were toddling around, proud of the fact that we might one day be potty trained, Sophie Solomon was already playing the violin. Two years later, at the age of four, she performed for Yehudi Menuhin.

Now established as one of the most significant violinists of a generation, thanks in part to her founding of band Oi Va Voi, Solomon is now a solo artist releasing her latest album.

As artistic director of the Jewish Musical Institute (JMI), Solomon is “passionate” about her role.

“I feel very strongly about the idea of bringing the super rich musical culture of Jewish people to as many as possible.

“It’s the kind of music that everybody recognises and it feels familiar. You hear those tunes and it makes everyone want to dance or cry. It brings a certain spirit.

“A big part of my mission at JMI is about really invigorating the creative community to make new music that has Jewish themes at its heart.”

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The daughter of a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father, Solomon grew up listening to the traditional folk songs he used to sing.

Though she started playing classical violin at a very early age, she didn’t become truly involved in klezmer music until she began reading History and Russian at Oxford University.

“I became more interested in eastern European, gypsy and Balkan music and klezmer fits neatly into that sound world. I really discovered my own Jewish heritage as part of that journey.”

Her latest album – Stop The Parade, which she will launch at the Jazz Café as part of the JMI Jewish Arts and Music festival, is inspired by stories from Eastern European and Soviet states.

“There’s a song called Microscope Man which is inspired by a book I read by Orlando Figes about life under Stalin. There was this chap who wrote his stories on the back of postage stamps using a microscope so they could be smuggled out of Russia.”

The album has been produced by long-time collaborator Marius de Vries, who has worked with the likes of Bjork, Rufus Wainwright and Davie Bowie.

“He brings a very exciting filmic but also contemporary pop and alternative music aesthetic.”

De Vries isn’t the only one with impressive collaborations under his belt. On Solomon’s list are Ludovico Einaudi, Richard Hawley, Paul Weller and the London Symphony Orchestra.

“On my first album I worked with other people such as KT Tunstall and Ralph Fiennes who did the vocals for me. But on this one it became clear that I needed to sing the songs, so I’m singing for the first time, which is scary and interesting but it’s a big milestone for me.”

Sophie Solomon’s Stop The Parade launches at The Jazz Café in Camden on September 14 at 7pm.

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