Curaçaoan singer Izaline Calister resumes her recording career

Two years after the birth of her daughter, Curaçaoan jazz and world music singer Izaline Calister is resuming her recording career, as she explains in this (abbreviated) interview with Maarten Schakel of Dolfijn FM magazine. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for contributing this translation from the Dutch original.

Time flies and motherhood almost caused Curaçaoan singer Izaline Calister to forget what it is like to record an album.

It was surreal. Far away from her home in Groningen (in the north of the Netherlands), Izaline was alone in a hotel room in Eindhoven (in the south) in mid-November 2009. The following day she would be receiving an Edison Award [the Dutch equivalent of the US Grammy] in the category of jazz and world music for her CD Speransa. She was eight months pregnant. Then unexpectedly her water breaks, she is transported to a hospital by taxi, and she gives birth to a perfectly healthy daughter. The delivery goes so fast that her partner Victor is unable to arrive in time from Groningen. Their daughter Victoria is born at six o’clock in the morning. At five o’clock that afternoon, a cosmetician prepares Izaline to receive a camera team that will hand her the Edison while she lies in her hospital bed. In that 24-hour time span, Izaline’s life is completely transformed.

Now, two years after the Edison for Speransa, her new CD Di Fiesta has been released. It is an album with Christmas songs: a collection of covers, adaptations, and originals.

Izaline: “I think that every musician should do a Christmas CD once. I was a little fed up with songs about snow and white Christmas. ‘Roasting chestnuts on an open fire’ – nah, not for me. I wanted to sing about things like being homesick during Christmas season, as many Curaçaoan children reside in the Netherlands. Last year I was invited for a Christmas show in the Netherlands. There I sang American jazz classics. It was a nice concert, but also a little bit frustrating, because I wanted to do something with characteristic Curaçaoan songs. That’s when it started to itch.”

But why now, why not at some later time? “It may sound strange, but I had forgotten how to do it, i.e., making  a CD. Since having Victoria, I had not written a single song. Performing went extremely well, and one gets used to grandmothers and babysitting, but writing songs is something that I used to do in my free time, which I now prefer to spend with my daughter. A few times I sat in front of the piano thinking, ‘How does this go again?’ I had lost it a bit. This [the Christmas album] was a nice little project to get everything back on track. I have the hang of it again, and I will immediately continue to work on a new, regular CD.

On November 8, last, Izaline started a new theatre tour in the Netherlands called ‘Nomads’, with Julya Lo’Ko (of Moluccan-Indonesian heritage) and Lilian Vieira (Brazilian). They are singing in English, Spanish, Papiamentu, Moluccan, Portuguese, and Dutch. Next month, Izaline will be giving a few performances in India. What will be next?

Perhaps Brazil, where the popular MTV host and stand-up comedian Marcelo Adnet, since having visited Aruba and Curaçao, is crazy about Papiamentu, especially the music of Izaline and of Aruba’s Biggy Boy, because of the resemblance with Brazilian Portuguese. Izaline: “Recently he sent me compliments via Twitter. And now all of a sudden a lot of other Brazilians are ‘sharing’ my videos and ‘adding’ me. People are already saying that I should start to sing in Portuguese. Oh well, we’ll see what happens.”

Just when you thought that Izaline’s life seemed to be on track again, expect a new challenge to be awaiting her.

For the full interview (in Dutch), go to

For more about Izaline Calister online:

For Brazilian MTV host Marcelo Adnet’s references to Izaline (in Portuguese), see:

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