“... and one small hour on the M1
with Christine in the back seat of the car
giving it Spring Can Really Hang You Up
two inches, then one inch from my right ear
so long and low and sad and slow and hip
I was paralysed down one side
till Watford Gap.”
from Don Paterson’s poem The Last Waltz in his collection Landing Light
The Dublin born and raised, multi-award winning vocalist and composer, has been an integral part of both the New York City and London scenes for many years. She returned to Ireland in 2020 and is now based in Northwest Co. Roscommon. Within her kaleidoscopic musical palette that draws on the folk and European art song traditions, she can be junkyard blues philosopher, snappy beat seductress, a conduit for exquisite zen-like harmonies and reflective Americana.
Her authentic sound was described by The Guardian as “Tobin’s 24 carat voice” while praising her both for the poetry of her compositions and the warmth of her golden voice. Her style, although rooted in jazz, is eclectic and draws on a broad range of influences. MOJO Music Magazine said of her “Christine Tobin really transcends glib genre-fication. Her expressive range acknowledges finely acquired folk, jazz and 20th-century classical influences, which already sets her apart. And everything is shot through with an unmistakable refinement, free-spirited earthiness and giddy romanticism, this singer-songwriter is in a field of one.”
She has led various projects and in 2012 “Sailing to Byzantium”, her settings of WB Yeats poems featuring actor Gabriel Byrne, won a British Composer Award. The following year she won a “Herald Angel Award” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for her show “A Thousand Kisses Deep”, her imaginative versions of Leonard Cohen classics. In 2014 she won “Jazz Vocalist of the Year” at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Earlier in her career Christine won “Best Vocalist” at the 2008 BBC Jazz Awards. Her last album PELT was Tobin’s musical interpretations of Pulitzer Prize winning Paul Muldoon’s lyrics and poems. Tobin was also a regular guest in his hit series ‘Muldoon’s Picnic’ in NYC.
Her vivid interpretations of Bessie Smith were featured in film director Mike Figgis' “Red White and Blues” docu/film in the ‘Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues’ PBS series. Christine has also presented special features for BBC Radio 3’s cutting edge program Jazz On 3 and appeared regularly on Jazz Library also for BBC Radio 3. She has contributed to programs about Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Joni Mitchell and Carmen McRae. The special documentary program she presented for RTE Lyric FM “Out with Paganism”, was a Silver Radio Winner at the New York Festivals - 2013 World’s Best Radio Programs.
In New York City she created, co-curated and performed in the highly successful series “Tobin’s Run On 51” at the Irish Arts Center with guitarist partner Phil Robson. These were themed, mixed media shows which featured slideshows, film clips, storytelling and invited guests who comprise of some of the greatest musicians on the NY scene today including Ingrid Jensen, Steve Wilson, James Genus, Dayna Stephens, Billy Drummond, Jed Levy, Craig Handy, Dezron Douglas, Janis Siegel to name just a few as well as renowned authors such as Ashley Kahn.
Tobin has played at iconic venues in NYC such as Birdland, The Jazz Standard, Mezzrow, National Sawdust, Symphony Space etc as well as in concert halls, clubs and international festivals around the world. Since returning home she has performed at venues including the NCH & The Workman’s Club in Dublin, Triskel Arts Cork, Glor Ennis, The DOCK, Carrick on Shannon, Ionad Culturtha Bhaile Bhuirne, The Hawkswell Sligo, Dolans Limerick. She was invited by Martin Hayes to play at the legendary Masters of Tradition festival at Bantry House and also performed at the 2022 Borris Festival of Writing & Ideas where she invited poet Paul Muldoon to join her as a special guest. She played a nine date nationwide album launch tour of Ireland in March 2023. For Christine’s full back catalogue see her old website www.christine-tobin.com
“A masterclass in songcraft. One of the most gifted and original singer/songwriters in today’s jazz world.” BBC Music Magazine
“Tobin has followed a studiously personal path as a singer and songwriter that has won her the kind of accolades bestowed on only a few. This rare and thoroughly personal artist is, a one-off.”
The Irish Times
“What sets her apart is her intensity and the sheer beauty of her voice, a deep soulful thing that she seems to summon from somewhere deep inside…”. Time Out Magazine
Tobin’s vocals, veering from acrobatic to sultry, are tailored perfectly for the material, her evocations of time and place precise. Classy and lovely.” The Observer ****
“There’s a thrilling, dark timbre to Tobin’s voice that moves you like no other singer." The Guardian
“…..songs with emotional impact, melodic hooks and ecstatic refrains. …. by turns yearning, bucolic, elegiac, apocalyptic and deliciously romantic, and draws on the folk and European art song traditions as much as Tobin’s jazz background.” Herald Scotland, Sunday Herald
“The voice is a killer” fRoots Magazine