Patricia Tondreau Musician, singer and composer I am a woman of the south. I was born in Chile and since childhood my mind has been inhabited by melodies, rhythms and harmonies. At an early age my father gave me a guitar, but no one in my family at that point guessed that music was to be so important to me. The first time I sang in public was of my classmates in 1st grade under the guidance of my teacher. I was six years old and I still remember the pleasure I had in singing. Time went by and I played the guitar more and more, alone in my room. I searched for the right chord patterns for the songs that I liked. Thanks to a good ear and the patience God gave me, I easily found the chords despite my meagre musical knowledge. My audience were my friends whom I met in order to sing and flirt in the warm Chilean evenings. I also performed for my family for dinner guests and for my mother's card playing friends. I hated being made to perform and always attempted to escape these ordeals, As a teenager I began my university studies. Although there was no career that fully grabbed my attention, I decided, so as not to anger my parents, to enrol in Industrial design because I thought it sounded vaguely artistic. Big mistake! In any case, I had no alternative given that I was still legally & financially dependent on my parents. A few years later the country fell into a period of profound social change. Salvador Allende the first democratically elected socialist president of Chile came to power. Do you remember? During that time I had many opportunities to sing. I also became active with a far left wing organization, and continued my university studies. In 1973 many things happened that radically changed my life. It was the year of the Coup d'Etat which brought chaos, torture, death and despair to thousands of people. I was expelled from university by military decree and was forced into exile with my son & my husband. I was only 21 years old and had never imagined I'd have to abandon everything from one day to the next. From the time I left Chile until I arrived in Switzerland, the country I've lived in for a long time, so many things transpired that I could write a whole book. So I'll prefer silence. In 1975 I established myself in Switzerland and I was finally able to begin studying music. I bought an electric bass guitar, Gibson. It was red just like my fist guitar. A friend who played the bass initiated me and I was quickly in raptures with the instrument's rhythmic possibilities. I acknowledge that I've been very lucky having met many beautiful people amongst those musicians who've crossed my path. I'll take this opportunity to thank them deeply: Yves, Horacio, Raul, Eduardo, Alicia, Evariste, Sylvie, Bob, Jean-Yves, Christine and particularly Michel Bastet with whom I've had such pleasure to play and who so generously encouraged and showed confidence in me when I was just a beginner. I then returned to my first love: singing and improvising. I sang jazz, Brazilian & Latin music and I had a really good time. At the same time I continued playing the bass. In 1989 I formed the group ALONDRA (Swallow) with the French guitarist Sylvie Canet. A short time later the pianist Evariste Perez, of Spanish origin, joined the group. Thus was created the nucleus of the band. For a few years we basically interpreted Brazilian & Latin standards. Then I began to compose my own songs and so did Sylvie & Evariste. Thus we began playing our own music. With this new repertoire we recorded our first record Humus. The lyrics for my songs are generally in Spanish. The music is soft, melodious and rhythmical. Brazilian music has been a huge influence, as have Latin music & jazz. For me it's basic that in my songs, musicians can improvise and thus leave their personal imprint on the music. All my life I have really enjoyed the work of artists such as Elis Regina, Nelson Ayres, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Ivan Lins, Chabuca Granda, Astor Piazzolla, Violeta Parra, Milton Nascimento, João Gilberto, Nana Vasconcellos, Egberto Gismonti, Gilberto Gil, Sarah Vaughn, Billy Holiday, Sheila Jordan, Rachelle Ferrell the list is long. In 1998 I met the Theatre Spirale, a theatre company based in Geneva and co directed by Patrick Mohr and Michèle Millner. I worked on a number of their shows as a musician, composer singer and even actress until 2004. Until the end of 2003 I worked as co director of the Choeur Ouvert (Open Choir). This choir was created in 1998 by Mark Dunbar & Michèle Millner and works intimately with the Theatre Spirale. At the moment I run a singing workshop in the AMR (the Association of Improvised music in Geneva). My latest composition have been inspired by a book of poems Penumbras (twilights) written by my grandfather the Chilean poet Narciso Tondreau. In this new project I sing my own compositions accompanied by the superb musicians and friends of Alondra and with our guest Michèle Millner, with whom we recorded our second record Yaravi. Today I can say that I love music more than ever. My life without music wouldn't have any swing. And so I follow my path... singing, like the cicada. I'd like to finish with a few words inspired by the book Women who run with wolves (C. Pinkola Estès) that I address to myself and to my sister women who would like to make music, or follow any other creative path. Don't listen to the saboteur who lives in your unconscious. That little voice who says endlessly 'you have no talent', 'you won't make it ', you can't create when you're married with children', 'you'll never have time', 'You're too tired' or whatever other negative argument. Let's persevere and let's live and grow our profound feminine intuition, inside ourselves, because it is ancestral and precious, wild and totally justified, full of life and an endless fountain of creative energy. OK sisters? Patricia Tondreau.