Vania singing; Photo Credit: Katrina Klawe  



Vania Levans

Vania Levans grew up in Ottawa Ontario with a loving father who had many hidden treasures that were not easily drawn out. It was only in her teens that Vania unearthed one of the secrets of her father that would impact her for the rest of her life. She discovered hidden records kept safe from little fingers and with that her father’s great love and knowledge of jazz! Suddenly she stepped into the world of Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and others. She didn’t know what hit her. She was immediately hooked.

The beginning notes of Dave Brubeck’s Take Five played from a good sound system could summon Vania from any point in the house regardless of the project or activity she was engrossed in. Within seconds she would appear and seemed unable to possess the ability to remain still during the drum solo.

This love for jazz blossomed and, coming from a musical family where everyone played two or three instruments (except her dad who played the radio), there was no holding back. During her high school years the Levans trio hit town and began to make appearances, and when little sister Andrea finally hit grade nine, the Levans quartet was in full swing.

Interestingly enough Vania’s primary training up to that point had been classical piano and flute. Consequently, she enrolled at the University of Ottawa as a flute major and her jazz digressions for the most part slipped under the radar for awhile.

Halfway through this degree, Vania transferred to a school out in Regina, and became intensely engrossed in theological studies. Even though she played a lot of music the whole time she was there, the jazz giant inside her remained quite dormant. It was only after completing her Masters in Vancouver at Regent College that the giant awoke and said “Let me out!”

This awakening has produced an album named becomings which is like nothing you’ve ever heard before. But it will remind you of lots you’ve heard before. Nine original tunes with great lyrics, a fantastic band, this music pulls from a variety of styles, traditions and influences. The diversity contained in one CD is outstanding and yet every different genre is executed with finesse. Although it definitely has a jazzy feel you’re never quite sure exactly what style to call it or which jazz vocalist Vania sounds like most, Sarah Vaughn? Cassandra Wilson? Diana Krall? Aretha Franklin? Everybody hears something different and it changes with each song. Take a listen and see if you can come up with a verdict.

Photo Credit: Katrina Klawe


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