Over Leoni Jansen
Leoni Jansen is a Dutch singer and stage director. She started out as TV personality: anchor woman on Dutch national television for the daily Children’s News. After that she hosted various art and music programs on television and ended up with her very own television show: Jansen & Co.
Wishing to devote more time to singing and the theatre she said goodbye to TV and produced a number of music theatrical productions. She has made a range of programs such as a Pyjama night in the Concertgebouw and an Opera party for children in Vredenburg and she directed theatre shows for pop bands like Room Eleven, Sensual and Giovanca.
Over the past few years she has been busy, mainly creating music programs which bridge different cultures. She was, for instance, co responsible for the theatre hit: Female Factory, a show in which 13 female top stars from 10 different countries presented themselves simultaneously. A show that also has been seen in Moscow and Madrid, following a week when the Carré theatre was completely sold out. Leoni produced the series Wereldwijven, that featured a Dutch singer with a singer from a different continent. She produced the show She got game (three versions!) with amongst others Astrid Seriese, Lucretia van der Vloot, Rocq’E Harrell, Izaline Callister, Ricky Koole and Nurlaila Karim, which attracted capacity crowds throughout the country over four seasons. And she created the multicultural show Made in Holland, in response to 11 September, to be seen in Carré and in which 45 artists from 22 different cultures took over the space for one week.
She sang at the wedding of prince Willem-Alexander and princess Maxima in the Arena in Amsterdam. And she was responsible for the music production of Faranani, a homage to Nelson Mandela from the Koninklijk Theater Carré in 2002, which was broadcast live in dozens of countries.
She has worked with many international musicians from the world music scene over the past few years, including: Busi Mlongo, Toumani Diabate, Rosi Flores, Angelique Kidjo, Les Frères Guisse, Sibongile Khumalo, Mohammud Ahmed, Annie Grace, Karin Polwart, Lilian Vieira, Kine Lam and Tshala Muana. She performed with Youssou N'dour, singing his worldwide hit 7 seconds at the IDFA festival in Amsterdam.
Companion of the Order of Orange-Nassau
She was honored by queen Beatrix as a Companion of the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2006, for her contribution to world music and for empowering women in music.
She directed four large African productions: The African Mama’s in 2005, Daughters of Africa in 2010 (12 young African women from 8 African countries), in 2013 The African Mama’s sing Mama Africa, a tribute to Africa’s most famous singer, the late Miriam Makeba and in 2016 Graceland with The African Daughters on the world famous CD by Paul Simon. In the latter show she herself performed too.
social issues and women's rights
Recurring themes throughout her career are social issues and women’s rights, especially in African countries. In Senegal she directed a play which was a complaint against Senegalese fishing laws.
In 2014 Leoni directed MasterPeace in Concert. A huge peace concert in Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam. During this concert artists from conflict areas all over the world shared the stage to spread their message of peace and unity, accompanied by the Metropole Orchestra. Leoni also performed a song together with the Senegalese Baaba Maal and a Kenyan Choir.
CDs and Ja Gesê
Leoni has a number of solo CDs to her name: Three magic little words, Heartstrings and Loose Ends, Second Wind and Third Road. Her album Nina is a joint project with Les Frères Guisse from Senegal. In 2015 she made the album Santiago with renowned Flamenco guitarist Eric Vaarzon Morel, with which she also toured the Dutch theatres. Her album Storyteller contains songs from the theatre production Geheim (Secret), in which she traces her fathers war history. He fought on the German side in WW II. She also wrote a book on this, which was well received by literary critics. In 2015 and 2016 she also made the theatre show Barricade on famous protest songs, with singer Izaline Calister. In 2016 - 2017 she is on tour with the South-African singer-songwriter Chris Chameleon. They present the show Ja Gesê on a song by Chameleon.