Lua Hadar with TWIST
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Lua Hadar with TWIST

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE | AFTRA

San Francisco, California, United States | INDIE | AFTRA
Band Jazz World


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"Lua Hadar with TWIST: Like A Bridge; Bellalua Records"

Singing in seven—count 'em, seven—different languages, Lua Hadar's rich voice and strong, commanding presence and overall musicality transcend language barriers quite well for those ready for some international flavor. We're rather out of our usual show music/cabaret/standards pool here, but since we first came across the California-based chameleon in cabaret circles, I wanted to cover this. The vocalist has proven her versatility and comfort level with an ever-widening range of material even before this; her earlier work from her days as one-third of a "girl group" to a recent album showcasing her rich tones and full sound don't make me overly surprised by Like a Bridge's variety. The album title is plucked from the opening number, Paul Simon's classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which is sung in English in a room-filling, dramatic fashion that is as much balm as it is empowerment exercise with a vocal performance that somehow encompasses a deepest-toned early section to a lighter conversational phrasing to something that melds operatic stance and earth mother. And just when you think the accompaniment is insistent and mantra-like, it begins to float and loosen up. "Help me to be like a bridge," she sings in a modification of the lyric as it concludes.
Lua's voice has the kind of intensity, beauty and dignity that make understanding the words secondary to the overall mood feel and pure pleasure in listening to her magnetic power. As someone who gravitates to lyrics and sometimes focuses on them and their interpretation/the phrasing so very much, first and often foremost, it's an almost guilty pleasure to switch gears when I don't speak the tongue, and I can just let the sound wash over me. (Lyrics or translations are not included with this minimalist-packaging item.) Here, that sound wash includes not only the compelling confident vocals, but intriguing instrumental work that also has great variety and power from track to track. One of the ten tracks is an instrumental, Billy Strayhorn's sinuous and haunting "Isfahan" from Duke Ellington's Far East Suite. It's a glorious jazz sojourn of well over five minutes. (I wonder why it was placed as the next-to-last cut instead of a midway breather/change of pace, but I don't find myself desiring a break from the vocals.)
Those not born the day before yesterday and strictly brought up in a limited musical cave will probably recognize some familiar melodies. There's Ravel's Bolero with the love theme from the film La Strada, Debussy's La Mer (which was the basis for the Bobby Darin hit, "Beyond the Sea" and here it's combined with the not-listed-on-the CD French folk tune, "Sur le pont d'Avignon"), and a Japanese item that was a surprise pop hit some decades ago: "Sukiyaki." This one is sung in both Japanese and English.
I'm also impressed with the Twist instrumentalists—especially the piano work of Lua's returning musical director/arranger/pianist Jason Martineau, and Larry De La Cruz, who plays not only flute, but sax (alto, soprano and tenor). They're joined by several other ear-catching musicians and Ian Dogole's work with the less common instruments to American ears (dumbek and udu, anyone?). Three "special guests" are listed without specifications as to what they play or on which tracks. Thinking biggish about the power of music, the universal language, perhaps the CD title can also, modestly, be like a Bridge connecting us to other cultures ... and to the past. But it's certainly beautiful and often hypnotic.
- Talkin' Broadway: Sound Advice by Rob Lester

"LUA HADAR WITH TWIST - “LIKE A BRIDGE” - by Paul Freeman, 2/11/13"

The San Francisco artist builds musical bridges across all boundaries. She has a gorgeous voice, which she channels through numerous languages, including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese. In any dialect, Hadar’s vocals are emotionally charged and meaningful. Pianist/music director Jason Martineau brings an appropriate worldliness to the impeccable arrangements. Fresh approaches enliven such numbers as 'Child of Man, San Francisco, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Jobim’s Imagina. - Pop Culture Classics' Recommended CDs, DVDs and Books

"Lua Hadar gives cosmopolitan jazz a Twist for Musically Minded Academy - by Carol Banks Weber"

Not a lot of jazz artists are trying to do what Bay Area vocalist Lua Hadar already does on a regular basis. She and her band Twist go global wherever they gig, taking world-wide influences to heart in jazzy, dishy remixes. - National Jazz music, 2/5/13

"Lua Hadar Fosters World Unity One Audience at a Time - feature by Shelley MacKay"

“We can, each one of us, be a bridge between a country and another country, or a person and another person, or an idea and another idea,” she shares. “We can create bridges and if we do that in our small world, then our small world becomes a micro-cosm for...the larger world and the goal is unity and harmony in our world instead of strife and terrorism.” - San Francisco Bay Times, 6/13/2013

"Indie Music Awards Nominates Like A Bridge DVD"

Cosmopolitan jazz ensemble LUA HADAR with TWIST joined more than 300 exceptional self-released and independent label artists, as well as former major label acts named by Music Resource Group as Nominees in The 12th Independent Music Awards. Representing the broad spectrum of today’s global independent music scene, the Nominees in over 80 Album, Song, Music Video and Design categories were culled from thousands of submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Greenland and Europe.
- Independent Music Awards

"Indie Music Awards Nominates Like A Bridge DVD"

Cosmopolitan jazz ensemble LUA HADAR with TWIST joined more than 300 exceptional self-released and independent label artists, as well as former major label acts named by Music Resource Group as Nominees in The 12th Independent Music Awards. Representing the broad spectrum of today’s global independent music scene, the Nominees in over 80 Album, Song, Music Video and Design categories were culled from thousands of submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Greenland and Europe.
- Independent Music Awards

"Lua Hadar is special guest “castaway” - SF Bay Area’s renowned jazz radio show"

KCSM Desert Island Jazz with Alisa Clancy – 3/8/2013. As special guest “castaway” on the Bay Area’s most renowned jazz radio show, Lua brought selections from a dozen divas who have influenced her as a vocalist, in tribute to International Women’s Day. Hear these selections as Alisa and Lua talk about them and what their influence has been on the development of Lua’s style. Full one-hour program with songs in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew plus a cut from the new CD, Like A Bridge. Click here for the playlist. - KCSM Desert Island Jazz with Alisa Clancy


…first call band of international talent with an innate gift of swing and the ability to reinvent tunes without disrespecting the originals or themselves…incredibly intriguing hybrid… delightful world flavor…extreme talent. A true winner! - Brent Black, Critical Jazz

Singing in seven different languages, Lua Hadar's rich voice and strong, commanding presence and overall musicality transcend language barriers… pure pleasure in listening to her magnetic power… compelling confident vocals… intriguing instrumental work… great variety and power… certainly beautiful and often hypnotic. - Rob Lester, Sound Advice, Talkin' Broadway

Hadar is a well known advocate of world peace and “Like A Bridge” encourages people to be like a bridge to each other; to promote bridging languages, culture, ideas….impressive…brilliant… an international group of superb musicians …an extraordinary achievement. - Joe Regan, Jr, Times Square Chronicles

…And not only could she pull off the French with due charm, but her voice offered the full roundness and savor of a vintage Bordeaux…the tiny stage [at New York’s Cornelia Street Café] blossomed forth each time Hadar took to the mic…we were transported to a place beyond language, beyond words—pure yearning, perhaps…
– MS Nieson, All About Jazz

She makes the other side of the world seem just a stone’s throw away…
- Michael Arens, Jazz Dimensions, Germany

This review only needs one word really – WOW! … Hadar spreads a rainbow of passion across the musical landscape… fire power spicier than any dish in a local cabana… simply amazing.
- J. Edward Sumearu, The Metro Spirit, Augusta, Georgia.
- … a stunning evening…sheer beauty… she rocked… her physical presence and body language remind one of the great Latin, Abbe Lane, at her peak…pure pleasure! - Joe Regan Jr. Cabaret Scenes Magazine, New York City

…a real vocalist with some long range and power…Clear and vibrant…beautiful… - Ray Redmond, Jazz USA

…seamlessly bridges the culture gap with her delightful and thoughtful new show…Her beautiful mezzo soprano combined with a superb collection of musicians creates the sound and atmosphere of a Paris music hall… I felt I understood the content without speaking French…
- Steve Murray, Cabaret Scenes, San Francisco

The “French Connection” is a part of her worldly charm. – Carol Banks Weber,
…astounding command of [her] voice…her name should be spotlighted worldwide.
- Nicolo Furmankiewicz, Department of Virtuosity Magazine, Warsaw, Poland

…vivacious brand of jazz…inspired…swinging…cool - Luna Kafé, Sweden

…seductive… polished vocal phrasing… irresistible - Blast Radio 1386, UK

…a rich and sophisticated mixture. - John M. Peters, The Borderland Magazine, UK

A sexy lady from New York who swings it internationally. It’s a high-octane release, something new and unexpected. - Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap, Lake Zurich, Illinois

…instantly accessible and truly exotic. - LMNOP Magazine. Chattanooga, Tennessee

…elegance and dignity… a mix of funkiness, sultry, art song, jazz, and Latin…
- Rob Lester, Sound Advice, New York City

…well-crafted jazz with high soulfulness and spirit… - Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation, Hawaii

…a sultry voice with hints of Piaf…. – Albert Goodwyn, San Francisco Bay Times

…able to make the familiar sound fresh… - Les Traub, Cabaret Scenes, Los Angeles

…beautiful...truly original... - Enrico de Angelis, L’Arena, Verona, Italy

RADIO TOP 10 Ratings: KZSM in Santa Cruz, KAFM in Colorado, WEFT in Illinois, WMTU in Michigan, on lists with Charlie Parker, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, Joshua Redman, Jacqui Naylor, Jane Monheit and Elaine Elias.
AIRPLAY ABROAD: France, Sweden, Britain, Germany, Poland.

- Lua Hadar with TWIST

"Like A Bridge reviewed by Brent Black, Critical Jazz"

An admitted "language geek" fluent in French, Spanish and Italian - just for starters. Hadar is a unique and incredibly intriguing hybrid of say cosmopolitan jazz with some delightful world flavor but is driven by pop, funk, Latin and the international cabaret singer. Last time I checked out someone claiming "cabaret" as an influence the results were not even as close to the extreme talent and delightfully entertaining release Hadar pulls off with Like A Bridge... Hadar's band is Twist which naturally pays homage to the cultural diversity the collective brings to the table. While her stated objective is to create world unity through music one audience at a time, she takes the non-polarizing approach by letting the politicians handle politics and the musicians handle the music. The eclectic influences that permeate her sound include experiences in places as diverse as Bali, Russia, Switzerland, and Japan just to hit the high notes which I might add Hadar does with ease.

An effervescent swing, a dynamite range with passionate phrasing, Hadar is nothing if not the consummate entertainer. Recorded live in the legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley California finds Hadar and her first call band of international talent with an innate gift of swing and the ability to reinvent tunes without disrespecting the originals or themselves. A more world music vibe on "Bridge Over Troubled Water" comes off effortlessly and without some of the more obvious pitfalls a lesser artist could find themselves hitting. One of the better tunes is the classic cover of the Bobby Darin tune "Beyond The Sea" but given a slightly more French twist with jazz accordion adding a delightful texture and stellar reinvention of a timeless classic. "Child Of Man" features the Israeli-born, American bred singer-songwriter Noa. This joyous celebration steeped in the global percussionist work of Ian Dogole on the udu is sheer perfection. Only the last line is in Hebrew, "I wish I were a flower or a tree."

Lately I tend to shy away from the global oriented one world sonic philosophy that certain artists attempt to bring to the table simply in an effort to make a quick buck. Lua Hadar is different as she is the musical and cultural by product of her own experience and is simply attempting to share that with the world. What we do with our experience is up to us. A breath of fresh air at a time the world in general and music specifically are in dire need.

A true winner!

Tracks: Bridge Over Troubled Water; Beyond The Sea; Raha Mbola Misy; San Francisco; Child Of Man; Imagina; Sukiyaki/Ue O Muite Aruko; Ojala Que Llueva Cafe; Isfahan; Stregata Dall'amore/Ravel's Bolero.

Lua Hadar: multilingual vocals; Jason Martineau: piano, music director, arranger; Dan Feiszli: acoustic & electric bass; Celso Alberti: drums; Ian Dogole: udu, dumbek, shakers, cajon; Larry De La Cruz: alto, tenor, soprano sax & flute.

Special guests: Dave Miotke; Emil Miland & Fumiko Ozawa.

Like A Bridge reviewed by Brent Black, Critical Jazz
July 12, 2012
- Critical Jazz

"CD REVIEW – Lua Hadar with TWIST—Like A Bridge"

I’m late with several of my reviews but I want everyone to know what an extraordinary achievement Lua Hadar’s new CD is. I reviewed Hadar’s show at the Iridium in 2008 and was impressed with her vocal range and the fact that she sang several songs in several languages but you understood the emotion and meaning of the songs even if you did not know the language. My review, at the time, was translated into Thai when she appeared at the Bangkok 10th International Festival that year. Personally, I can understand French and Spanish very well, and have knowledge of Italian and Portuguese from travel in those countries.
Hadar’s new CD, “Like A Bridge,” was recorded live at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California, USA this year. She appeared a month ago in New York with her musicians but I had a prior commitment that night and could not attend. Two years ago she had two sold out performances at the Cornelia Street Café, a jazz club in the village.
Hadar’s musicians in Twist are an international group of superb musicians and I will list them here: Jason Martineau, piano, music director/arranger; Dan Feiszli, acoustic and electric bass; Celso Alberti, drums; Ian Dogole, udu, dumbek, shakers, cajon; Larry De La Cruz, alto, tenor soprano sax and flute; and special guests Dave Miotke on jazz accordion, Emil Miland on cello on Jobim‘s “Imagina“ & Fumiko Ozawa on koto.
Hadar is a well known advocate of world peace and “Like A Bridge” encourages people to be like a bridge to each other; to promote bridging languages, culture, ideas. It takes a water theme to promote world peace. Opening with a Latin rhythm on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” she gives new meaning to the well-known lyrics when you hear her sing this standard in this rhythm. Similarly, Trenet’s “Beyond the Sea” is sung in French with several key changes and brilliant accordion support. At one point Hadar actually does a duet with the accordion.
She sings in French, a beautiful melody I had never heard before, Maxine Le Forestier’s “San Francisco,” about a blue house in which it sounds like hippies resided. It is memory song about where are they now and what harmony lived there, the long-haired ones, big beds and music, peopled with light and peopled with crazy people. Everyone was always there at 5 PM; they never knocked, those who lived there had thrown away the key. She sings in Spanish “Ojala que Llueva Café,” a meringue by Juan Luis Guerra from the Dominican Republic which translates as if it would only rain coffee in the fields and the impact it would have on the poverty of the farmers so their government would not ignore them.
Hadar sings a strong international peace song in English “Child of Man,” by Achinoam Nini and Gil Dor. The song is almost five minutes long but Hadar’s vocal range builds and builds it to a heartbreaking climax. The Japanese selection, “Ue O Muite Arukou/Sukiyaki,” which features Fumiko Ozawa on the koto, is a serious torch song which Hadar sings in Japanese and English.
The band Twist does an almost six minute solo on Strayhorn’s “Isfahan” from Duke Ellington’s Far East Suite and it’s impressive to hear this piece played by these extraordinary musicians.
One of the most brilliant selections on the CD is the final piece, a blending of Nino Rota’s well-known theme from La Strada, “Stregata Dall’amor” with Ravel’s “Bolero.” Hadar sings the lyrics in Italian which translate “You who do not know how to love/You who cannot love/You are bewitched by love. There are your eyes/Colder than ever/but what fever in your heart.” Hadar’s rendition is sexy and sad and the “Bolero” sections contribute to the mood of the song, a relentless sadness, and you will recall the unforgettable performances of Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart, and Guilietta Masina from the film and, if anything is a reason to buy this CD filled with treasured performances, this selection would be the one.
Hadar and Twist will have a CD release performance on June 3 at 4:30 PM at the Jazz School in Berkeley. For tickets go to and her website is
- Times Square Chronicles

"Lua Hadar with TWIST - Jazz with a Twist of Français"

Lua Hadar with TWIST
Jazz with a Twist of Français
Cornelia Street Café New York, New York
April 24, 2010

Say chanteuse and what comes to mind? A smoky Parisian cellar? A rain-slicked side street in Montmartre? Edith Piaf poised before a thick microphone, spilling her ever-rallying soul for romance and La Resistance?

Well, if you were fortunate enough to catch Lua Hadar with TWIST at the Cornelia Street Café Cabaret on the night of April 24th, you'd have sworn you were in Gay Paree. Hadar sashayed into NYC from San Francisco with French Connection, one of her "jazz without borders" multi-lingual, multi-swingual cabaret acts. And not only could she pull off the French with due charm, but her voice offered the full roundness and savor of a vintage Bordeaux, flowing like the velvet Seine at night, at turns swift or silken, and always suggestive of further sensual depths.

Hadar and her pianist/Music Director Jason Martineau arranged a familiar and eclectic jazz set ranging from ballad and bossa to rumba and waltz, swing, funk, and cha-cha. Their two sets included tasty treatments of standards from Cole Porter, Blossom Dearie, and Frank Churchill as well as French originals from such luminaries as Hubert Yves Giraud, Maxime Le Forestier, Charles Trenet, and Michel Legrand. The mix proved marvelous.

Martineau's playing was top-shelf, as bold and inventive as his arranging. He also assembled a high-octane group of NYC session players to round out TWIST's tang and punch. Ron Oswanski's jazz accordion proved the perfect accompaniment and touch for the evening's mood and melodies. Dave Riekenberg's varied reeds took it up yet another notch, his soprano sax solo soaring on "No Borders." And bassist Tom Hubbard and drummer Vince Cherico finessed the frequent tempo shifts while adding sweet solos of their own. As an ensemble, TWIST truly found its rhythm in Martineau's own composition, "Floating Where I Have Never Been," and an intriguing number that wedded the melodic structures of Bronislaw Kaper's "Hi Lilli Hi Lo" and "Les Chemins de L'amour" by Francis Poulenc.

Yet the tiny stage blossomed forth each time Hadar took to the mic. Even her intros to songs were endearing, and she displayed her theatrical range and comic timing in David Frishberg's hilarious "Another Song about Paris," which offered particular reprieve to those audience members without a sou of French to their name. Of course there's no way to do a French show without paying homage to Mlle. Piaf, which by necessity can be a double-edged sword. Ms. Hadar, however, more than filled the tall order, swinging Piaf's signature "La Vie En Rose" into an upbeat cha-cha, and truly making it her own. TWIST's driving backbeat equally held sway, with Oswanski tiptoeing down the jazz accordion beside Hadar's throaty mezzo.

Another highlight of the evening was a guest performance by cellist Emile Miland, sitting in for a poignant duet with Hadar on "Someday My Prince Will Come (Un Jour Mon Prince Vendra)." Between the slow quiver of his bow and her voice, we were transported to a place beyond language, beyond words—pure yearning, perhaps. The late show then ended with a medley of Michel Legrand's "I Will Wait for You" and the 1938 standard J'Attendrai. Members of the audience felt the same sentiment. We can hardly wait for Lua Hadar with TWIST's return to Cornelia Street next October. She quickly made expats of us all.

Photo credits
Marc Nieson - All About Jazz

"Lua Hadar - Twist"

Lua Hadar
Iridium Jazz CLub
New York, NY

What an exciting evening San Francisco based jazz vocalist Lua Hadar treated us to at the Iridium in a performance celebrating her new CD Twist. When Hadar sings in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or French, you don’t have to know the language because she communicates dramatically what she’s singing about, and makes the listener as involved in the message of the song as she is. Here is a big voiced, classically trained singer who has lived all over the globe and knows how to interpret lyrics in several languages.

The program presented Hadar with her music director and pianist Jason Martineau and a jazz group of New York’s finest: Tom Hubbard on bass, Scott Latzky on drums, Joe Passaro on Latin percussion, and Dave Pietro on reeds. After a samba rhythmed "Soon It’s Gonna Rain," Hadar sang a funky "Floating Where I Have Never Been" in both French and English and then switched to a bossa nova version of the legendary Italian song "Estate" which included a stunning sax solo by Pietro.

A stunning highlight of the evening was the anti-war "No Borders," an original song written by Hadar, Candace Forest and Hadar’s music director Jason Martineau. She also sang another original by Forest, a ballad entitled "Your Face Flew By My Window" which was sheer beauty. Every selection was dramatically on the nose, including a Latin version of Joni Mitchell’s "All I Want" and a beautiful blend of "Hi Lilli Hi Lo" with the Francis Poulenc theme with lyrics by famed French playwright Jean Anouilh "Chemins de l’Amour." Later she did a stunning version of "Siboney" by the Latin Gershwin, Ernesto Lecuona, with wild work on the bongos by Passaro. She rocked on the closing number, the Pink Martini "Una Notte A Napoli (One Night in Naples)."

She is also a gorgeous redheaded woman and her physical presence and body language remind one of the great Latin, Abbe Lane, at her peak. The evening was pure pleasure!

Joe Regan, Jr.
Cabaret Scenes
May 10, 2008

- Cabaret Scenes Magazine

"Lua Hadar - French Connection"

Rrazz Room
San Francisco, CA

Lua Hadar, a die-hard Francophile, seamlessly bridges the culture gap with her delightful and thoughtful new show. Maintaining an audience’s attention through a set of mostly foreign language material requires a commitment to the music’s intent, an emotive delivery of either drama or comedy, and Hadar succeeds on all accounts. Her beautiful mezzo soprano combined with a superb collection of musicians creates the sound and atmosphere of a Paris music hall. "Sous le Ciel de Paris (Under Paris Skies)," a jazz waltz, set a spectacular tone with the Dave Miotke’s lilting accordion and musical director Jason Martineau’s clever piano accompaniment. Hadar incorporates smart, French-English medleys that shined, like "Azure Te" with Nat King Cole’s "L-O-V-E," and a set highlight of "Hi Lili Hi Lo" (from the movie Lili ) combined melodically with "Les Chemins de L’Amour." "San Francisco" written by French pop star Maxime le Forestier after spending some time here, is delivered beautifully and I felt I understood the content without speaking French. Hadar hit all angles from comedy songs to ballads, waltz to bossa, and it all works tres bien!

Steve Murray
Cabaret Scenes
September 13, 2009 - Cabaret Scenes Magazine

"Lua Hadar’s “Jazz without Borders” criss-crosses continents musically"

There’s a little bit of the Broadway, the cabaret and exotic French to jazz singer and San Francisco Bay area vocalist Lua Hadar’s intimate, engaging performances. She and her TWIST band just thrilled audiences in San Francisco’s downtown Nikko Hotel-Rrazz Room last Sunday, while debuting their new show, “French Connection.”
The “French Connection” is a part of her worldly charm. The native New Yorker and her band have done gigs in Paris, New York and Bangkok – hence, the “Jazz without Borders” theme – to much acclaim, slowly but steadily gathering even more of a loyal following. Hadar’s background is as varied and as interesting as her versatile performances (she’s equally comfortable in jazz clubs or on-stage, whether she’s doing a gig or a play).
Her TWIST band is made up of solid, experienced musicians: Dave Miotke-jazz accordian, Tony Malfatti-saxophone, Daniel Fabricant-bass, and Jim Zimmerman-drums. Backed by such pros, Hadar managed to again enchant fans with her smooth, bi-lingual, continental vocal stylings. Writer Robin C. Evans is one such long-time fan who got to enjoy Hadar’s classic French/American gig at the Rrazz Room recently.

Evans fondly mentioned the effortless manner in which Hadar translated French standards (“Under Paris Skies”) and American classics (“My Heart Belongs to Daddy”), as well as original material by music director/arranger/accompanying pianist Jason Martineau. Hadar even managed to show off her Broadway and comedic leanings with “Do We Really Need Another Song About Paris?”
Explained Evans: “Their brand of crossover jazz is built on Hadar’s eclectic background and Martineau’s experience composing for orchestra, solo piano and chorus, as well as a full-length musical and multiple film scores.”
Hadar also performed a duet with special guest artist Professor R.J. Ross, a founding member of the legendary Detroit funk band, Brainstorm. Ross just completed his own debut solo album.

Despite her worldly glow, while singing “Someday My Prince Will Come,” a 1937 Disney classic from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Hadar revealed her American roots—and perhaps, her philosophy to life. “I grew up in Long Island watching Disney films, where I learned that the perfect man would come along and solve everything. Life’s not like that,” she told the Nikko Hotel-Rrazz Room, San Francisco audience. “We have to make our own destiny. But it’s important to hope and wait for the right life condition to come along.”
Hadar and her band, TWIST, will gig again in New Orleans, LA on November 13 at the Westin, opening for Powerful Women International (PWI), a San Francisco-based organization founded – post-Hurricane Katrina – by New Orleans native Valeri Bocage to help women live their dreams.

And then it’s back to San Francisco for a special November 21st Fairmont Hotel Cirque Room gig. This isn’t just a regular gig spotlighting her and her band. It’s a presentation and performance for Hadar’s vocal-master-class students and other teachers, as part of their eight-week fall class.

A quick peek at Hadar’s artist bio reveals a schooled, studied resume: Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and the Dalcroze School of Music, coached by Metropolitan Opera’s Joan Dornemann, off-Broadway, five-year residency in a Verona Italian theatre company, subsequent tours in Italy, Spain and Switzerland, further memorable stays in Bali, Japan, Russia, Thailand, four produced CDs, jazz collaborations, teaching stints, acting, comedy… Sounds like she does it all.

For more info: Visit Lua Hadar's website. -

"Lua Hadar with Twist - Bellalua Records"

Rob Lester, October 2008

For her second solo album, Lua Hadar (once one-third of a female vocal group called The Kitchenettes who recorded a cool CD before going their separate and distinct ways) does music with a twist—unexpected approaches and song selections all over the map. The album title literally refers to the band—which goes by the name Twist. Showing her wide range, vocally and stylistically, and singing in a few different languages, Lua and her album are full of surprises and satisfying trips to musical landscapes bordering on opera and pop and folk. Like the pacifist one-world wish celebrated in the convincing song "No Borders," she also makes a good case for music having no borders as she easily drifts from one genre to another like a chameleon. That song is one she co-wrote with album producer Candace Forest and her skillful musical director Jason Martineau, who plays piano and udu on the album as one of six musicians. His fine piano work throughout is a major attraction, especially on the final cut, the album's longest (over six minutes), "Vorrei."

Styles and sensibilities make for interesting, cross-pollinating musical bedfellows. One track blends the song of love (it's a sad song) from the 1953 movie Lili, "Hi-Lilli, Hi-Lo," with Francis Poulenc's setting of text by playwright Jean Anouilh, "Les Chemins de l'amour." Another interesting pairing is the well-covered Schwartz/Dietz standard "Dancing in the Dark" (whose profile this year is increased as it became the title song of a musical featuring their catalogue) with a much lesser-known number, "Twilight World" with a Johnny Mercer lyric and a melody by pianist-composer Marian McPartland. Lua brings an elegance and dignity to both numbers—qualities she seems to come by comfortably and easily. She brings a mix of funkiness and classical approach to Dan Fogelberg's hit "Longer," and elsewhere dips into settings that could be called sultry, art song, jazz, and Latin ... and there are only nine tracks total!

If your musical tastes don't cover a broad swath, you might not find all tracks your cup of internationally flavored tea, and some might find the foreign languages and formal singing style in spots distancing. However, it might also broaden some horizons seductively with an open mind and some time (I like it more with each listen, as I did with her prior album.)

This month finds Lua Hadar performing in Bangkok, Thailand —like Christiane Noll, she's a native New Yorker, but she's more often found in the city where she's been based for quite a while: San Francisco. Her performances show not only serious classical and world music influences, but a flair for theatricality: she's also been on stage, such as work with the California 42nd Street Moon company and the new musical Emma. You can find her mostly back in the City by the Bay where she is an active part of its cabaret community, too. Expect the unexpected from Lua Hadar.

- Sound Advice

"The French Connection: Lua Hadar"

Written by Maxwell Chandler
Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Lua Hadar is a vocalist, actress, comedienne and cabaret artist who heads the ensemble TWIST, based in the Bay Area. Hers is "jazz without borders," spiced with elements of Latin, pop, funk, and international cabaret. Maxwell Chandler interviewed Lua for Jazz Police.

Maxwell Chandler: You come from a musical family, your father being a saxophonist. What was the music you heard growing up and how did it influence you?

Lua Hadar: My father played both classical music and what at the time was popular music, the Great American Songbook. He played in bandstands, he played casually, and he played at Roseland Dance Hall in New York. He also played symphonic music. Around the house he really only played symphonic music and some opera. We heard classical music at home but when I sang with him at the piano we would sing popular songs. I had a great deal of classical influence as a foundation.

Every summer I would see my father play in these big hotels like Brown’s and Grossinger’s. It was the “Borscht Belt”, that’s what they called the Catskills. Once or twice a summer we would get to dress up and go see him perform and see the stage show. I would see him in these bands and I would see all the singers and the comedians. Afterwards the Latin bands would play, I would see people start to come onto the dance floor and I would love the Latin rhythms. I think all of that had a great influence on me.

MC: Had you always known you wanted to be a singer and when did you start singing professionally?

LH: When I was tiny I said I wanted to be an actress when I grew up but I always sang as well. I think those two things were always linked for me

MC: You graduated summa cum laude with a B.A in Theater Performance. Had you at this point seen a connection between singing and theater?

LH: I went to college at Albany State University in New York. I have a degree in theater from there. But even during that period I performed The Fantastics and I performed in a number of musical things. Actually I did a French music concert in the context of my French minor at school as well. I graduated from college when I was 21 and then went to acting school for about a year. Then I went out into the New York audition circuit with my picture and my resume. So I would say probably from the age of 22 or 23 I started getting little gigs off Broadway, sometimes way,way off Broadway; it was music and theater.

MC: You continued your studies at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and The Dalcroze School of Music, also studying with Metropolitan Opera coach, Joan Dornemann. Where you actively touring and performing outside of school by this point?

LH: After college I sang in an off-Broadway show and somebody told me I should study. I was put in touch with a teacher who eventually put me in touch with a coach, Joan Dornemann at the Metropolitan Opera. When I met her, she chose her words very carefully and said to me, “You have the kind of voice and the kind of sound and tone color and the big voice and the small body and you can act; it seems that you could do opera.” She was very, very careful but then she took me under her wing. She set me up with people and coaches and for seven years I studied opera.

They wouldn’t let me sing out professionally while I was studying because they didn’t want me to sing any of my potential repertoires. They didn’t know what type of a vocal type I was going to be because the voice starts to change in your late twenties (at the time I was in my mid twenties) and we didn’t know if I was going to be a lyric soprano, a dramatic soprano or a mezzo soprano. So they wouldn’t let me sing anything that a woman would sing. They only let me sing tenor arias.

MC: Sometimes life within the universities/ schools can be a little insulated, creating a sort of disconnect between expectations and realities of what it will be like on the outside for a working artist. Did you experience any type of reality shock upon leaving your studies?

LH: Absolutely! The University, with all the theater history and theater practicum, provided a sort of high-minded view of what theater could be like and was like in the real world. I graduated college wanting to be a reparatory actress and then I got out into the real world in New York and started auditioning. You are given half a minute to sing eight bars and you have to come in looking like the thing they were casting for or else you didn’t even get to sing your eight bars. That was a great surprise to me. Really, each one of us, we are all small business owners and we are our own business. No one taught us how to publicize ourselves or how to run a small business.

I think that things have changed now in the schools, like at UCLA where they are teaching the business of entertainment. We really need to learn how to put ourselves out there. Half a lifetime later I’m beginn - jazz Police

"Arts & Entertainment"

Lua Hadar With Twist is the name of the award-winning CD and the name of the evening - a CD release party celebrating the new CD. Selections from Hadar's 2005 It's About Time were also featured. Jazz At Pearl's hosted the two shows so late in May it was nearly June when the evening ended. Jazz At Pearls is literally in the shadow of Larry Flint's Hustler Club, billed as "The Home Of The Hustler Honeys." Only in San Francisco....

"Soon It's Gonna Rain," the wistful ballad from The Fantasticks opened the show - as a double-time samba. "Fasten your seat belts," Hadar might have said, "it's gonna be a rockin' night." "Soon," the George & Ira Gershwin classic, started quietly and then turned into a swing outing. "No Borders," a "funky art song" by Hadar and two others, rocked the popular club.

Quieter moments featured "Estate (Summer)," a lovely song popularized as a bossa nova by Joao Gilberto, "Hi Lilli, High Lo" from 1953's Lili and "Two For The Road," the Henry Mancini favorite from the Hollywood classic of the same name. A guest accordionist joined the five-piece band for several numbers.

Three knockout numbers ended the set - "Siboney," the famous "Afro-Cuban montuno from the Latin composer known as "The Cuban Gershwin," "Vorrei (I Would Like)" a rarely recorded Italian pop ballad and "One Night In Naples (Una Notte a Napoli)" written and recorded by Pink Martini, the indescribable Portland-based band that combines Latin rhythms and percussion with horns, violins and a harp.

It was a high-energy show that sometimes overpowered the intimate club, but it was a night to remember. Hadar, a vision of energy and vocal talent, in a smashing red/pink outfit, was wonderful in every song, with every gesture. The show will be repeated "as often as possible" throughout the year. For upcoming performances, often booked with short notice, check out

- Milton W. Hamlin - SGN A&E Writer

- SGN Seattle

"Lua Hadar ... with Twist"

AUGUSTA, GA - This review only needs one word really – WOW! Lua Hadar opens a fresh new scene with her band Twist. With a powerful voice booming from the Latin heavens, Hadar spreads a rainbow of passion across the musical landscape in this one.

Smooth, swinging jazz built on a 4-octave range complimented by Hadar’s powerful delivery, this record is packed with fire power spicier than any dish in a local cabana. With their sights set on the horizon, this talented group of performers brings forth the release of "Lua Hadar…with Twist."

The most honest way to describe this record is that it is simply amazing, and that played as a whole it will provide a fascinating experience. Songs of particular interest and display include “All I Want” in English, “Siboney” in Latin styles, and the smashing chords of “Vorrei” in an Italian croon. Within this web of multicultural mastery, Hadar and Twist offer a glorious ride into the passions hiding behind the hearts of everyday.

By the time listeners embark upon the power of “Hi Lilli Hi Lo / Les Chemin de l’Almour,” the hooks of this heartfelt construction will have landed deeply within their innermost emotions.

12/4/8 - Metro Spirit, J. Edward Sumerau


Lua Hadar with TWIST: Like A Bridge (CD and DVD)
Lua Hadar with TWIST
Unexpected Broadway, solo with pianist Sheldon Forrest
Dining at The Banquet, with The Kitchenettes vocal trio
Lo Shomano, Italian National Comic Song Festival CD
It's about Time, solo with The Jason Martineau Jazz Trio
Under the Radar, with The Aquamarines

CD's available at:
Medium Rare Records, San Francisco, CA
The Groove Yard, Oakland, CA
iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, and many other digital venues.



Video: Like A Bridge Official DVD trailer

Hi-Res photo download:

More info:


2008: Lua Hadar with Twist - CD
2008: Iridium Jazz Club, New York City
2008: Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music
2009: Swan Bar, Paris, France
2009: Rrazz Room, San Francisco
2010: Cornelia Street Café, New York City
2010: Théâtre Les Tisserands, Lille, France
2012: Yoshi's Jazz Club, Oakland, CA
2012: Like A Bridge - CD
2012: Somethin' Jazz, New York City
2012: The Jazz School, Berkeley
2013: Like A Bridge - DVD
2013: Independent Music Awards Nominee
2013: Swan Bar, Paris, France
2013: Yoshi's Jazz Club, Oakland
2013: Society Cabaret, San Francisco (November)


About Lua Hadar:
Lua Hadar is a multi-lingual vocalist and actor, a teaching artist and an independent producer. She has a lifelong commitment to cultural exchange and has enjoyed collaborations in Bali, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and Thailand. The mission of her band, TWIST, is to create world harmony through music.

A unique and original vocalist with a soaring range, Lua interprets lyrics in several languages with a charming, swinging delivery, as well as passionate commitment and humor. She has appeared at Yoshi’s Oakland, The Fairmont Hotel, The Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco’s Rrazz Room, The Plush Room and Jazz at Pearl’s, New York’s Iridium Jazz Club and Cornelia Street Café, the Swan Bar in Paris, Theatre Les Tisserands in Lille, France, and at the Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music. In 2012, she released her 3rd CD, Like A Bridge, recorded at Fantasy Studios.

Hadar delivers Master Classes in interpretation and style of The Great American Songbook, part of her heritage as a native New Yorker and daughter of a musician. Her San Francisco-based Studio NPG has provided professional development for performing artists and salon concerts and events for the community, featuring teaching artists such as Broadway-TV-film star, Faith Prince, among others.

About TWIST:

Lua Hadar with TWIST performs international standards with a different 'twist' on style; they also present both original and rarely performed songs, in several different languages. 

About the BRIDGES PROJECT and Like A Bridge:

The new CD and DVD, Like A Bridge, is the centerpiece of the 3-year Bridges Project, which will also include education and international exchange. Hadar sings in seven different languages (including Japanese and Malagasy) in this new recording, which uses the Bridge as a metaphor for the connections we can make with each other to foster world unity and harmony. Each song represents a part of that bridge in language or theme.

Guest performers on the new CD include cellist Emil Miland (who made his Carnegie Hall debut in 2010), koto player Fumiko Ozawa and jazz accordionist David Miotke. The core band is comprised of Music Director Jason Martineau on piano, Dan Feiszli on bass, Celso Alberti on drums, Ian Dogole on global percussion and Larry De La Cruz on reeds.

The New York CD release of Like A Bridge took place on April 14, 2012, at midtown Manhattan's SOMETHIN' Jazz Club. And TWIST celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge this year, with a West Coast release at Berkeley’s Jazzschool on June 3. The Official DVD Release of Like A Bridge will take place at Yoshi's Jazz Club, Sept. 30, 2013.

About the DVD:

The Bridges Project includes broadcast-quality video, which was also recorded at Fantasy Studios and directed by Lawrence Jordan, who has directed for Tony Bennett, Eddie Izzard, Sting, Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, George Michael, Vanessa Williams and many more. The video features Lua Hadar, the full band and guest performers, including South African singer Gideon Bendile and his group, Kalahari Experience, singing in Zulu on a French language world beat song written by French pop star, Maxime Le Forestier. The DVD is slated for release at the San Francisco Bay Area's top jazz venue, Yoshi's, on Sept. 30, 2013.


LUA HADAR, voix, productrice
Chanteuse originale, au registre très vaste, Lua interprète avec swing, charme et humour une liste de chansons éclectiques, influencée par des échanges culturels dans des pays aussi variés que Bali, la Russie, la Suisse, le Japon, la Thaïlande, la France et l’Italie. Depuis sa création en 2007, Le groupe de Hadar, TWIST est reconnu pour son interprétation originale des standards internationaux, qui expriment notre humanité commune à travers des chansons dans 7 langues différentes. Lua a char

Band Members