Annabelle Chvostek is a Toronto-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose musical achievements range from folk to jazz to indie pop. She has composed music for dance and film, co-written songs with Bruce Cockburn, and was once in the band The Wailin' Jennys.
Annabelle's upcoming sixth album brings together her Canadian singer-songwriter tradition and the nostalgia of her East European heritage with a long-standing connection to Uruguay, which began over a decade ago through her Uruguayan spouse, Ximena. The songs were arranged and co-produced in Montevideo by long-time collaborator, composer and multi-instrumentalist, Fernando Rosa, who she met in 2008 and who recorded bandoneon parts remotely for her album Rise in 2012. On this upcoming album, Fernando gathered some of Uruguay's stellar tango and classical musicians to add to a contemporary sound that harkens back to the grittiness of 1930s tango, vaudeville and swinging hot jazz. On the Canadian side, long-standing bandmate Tony Spina is back on drums alongside members of Toronto's vibrant Jazz Manouche community, Debi Botos, Rachel Melas and Tak Arikushi. Award-winning producer David Travers-Smith (The Wailin' Jennys) works his magic in bringing together the Canadian and Uruguayan tracking to attain a uniquely diverse cross-cultural, cross-temporal sonic montage.
Born in Toronto, Annabelle began her career as part of Montreal's eclectic arts scene in the 90's and early 2000's, performing regularly at Le Boudoir, a queer, feminist 1920s-inspired cabaret series, and self-releasing four full-length albums between 1997-2003. In 2004 Annabelle joined The Wailin’ Jennys and wrote four songs on the multiple award-winning album Firecracker, which was on the Billboard Bluegrass charts for 69 weeks, peaking at #2. After departing from the Jennys, she released the album Resilience (2008), produced by the Grammy-winning Roma Baran (Laurie Anderson) and Vivian Stoll, Rise (2012), co-produced with Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith), and Be The Media (2015), co-produced with Jeff Oehler of Beehive Productions. Rise was nominated for a Juno Award in the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year category, and both Rise and Resilience were nominated for Contemporary Album of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Annabelle also co-wrote two songs with Bruce Cockburn for his Juno-winning album A Small Source of Comfort (2011).
In 2015, Annabelle was forced into a slower and quieter pace due to a series of health crises, including an ongoing struggle with severe hearing loss and tinnitus in her left ear triggered by a feedback blast during a soundcheck in England in 2008. Determined to continue her artistic practice, she began exploring new ways to create music while coming to terms with her late-deafness. Supported by Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, Annabelle became the artist-in-residence at Toronto's community-based Echo Women's Choir between 2016-18, where she developed her skills in choral arrangement, composition and conducting under the mentorship of choral directors, Alan Gasser and Becca Whitla. In 2017, Annabelle played her first gigs in Montevideo with Fernando Rosa on bass and Arturo Chilindron on drums. Annabelle's music was well-received by Uruguayan audiences, inspiring the newly-formed ensemble to deepen their collaboration from within Fernando's diverse musical community.
"String Of Pearls" is due out MARCH 26th, 2021. Pre-order it here.