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Popular Swedish Jazz Singerby Stefan Wijkstr
Copyright © 2001 Stefan Wijkstr
Sonya Hedenbratt was one of Sweden's favourite jazz artists. She made her stage debut in 1948 at the age of 17, singing Ramirez's "Lover Man", which became sort of a signature tune for her through the years.
Her household gods were Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, both of whom she tried to imitate as well as she could in the beginning of her career, before she found her own style, characterised by a genuine sense of committment to the song, warmth, and a distinctive sense of humour.
Hedenbratt was not very fond of big bands. She preferred the traditional trio format of piano, bass and drums. She toured Europe with Svend Asmussen, and worked with Simon Brehm, Arne Domnérus, Jan Johansson, Bengt Hallberg, Nils-Bertil Dahlander (Bert Dale) and Lars Gullin, among others.
She performed on television as a revue actress, and had a small role in Ingmar Bergman's film Fanny and Alexander (1982). She was offered great opportunities in other places, including Stockholm, elsewhere in Europe, and the U.S.A, but always turned them down; she was simply too fond of her beloved Gothenburg.
She suffered from diabetes, and was ill for several years before her death from the disease, but continued to perform until 1999, when she decided to close her career as a professional singer. A big show in her honour, with lots of well known artists, was given at the Lorensberg Theatre in Gothenburg.
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