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Pina Kollars was signed by Peter Gabriel but where is she now?
What has happened to Pina Kollars?
Q magazine used to always run a "Where are they now?" feature, which looked at what famous acts that had vanished from the public arena are doing today. The Austrian singer-songwriter I am writing about comes into this category and I have been trying to find out where she has disappeared to.
But let me explain how I first discovered the amazing voice and music of Pina Kollars and why Peter Gabriel and I share a very high opinion of her singing. I discovered Pina at Glastonbury Festival in 2003 and became an instant fan. I was walking through the Green Futures field on the Sunday morning when I heard this incredible voice and the sound of a band coming from across the field where the Jazz Stage was and I just had to investigate further. My ears guided me to the source of the music, which I found to be Pina, who was fronting her band and performing songs all of which were totally new to me.
When she finished her set and I had joined with others shouting enthusiastically for more, she made an announcement to say that she had an album on Real World Records if anyone was interested. I most certainly was and scribbled the name down on a scrap of paper
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Peter Gabriel signed PIna
When I got back to Wales after the festival had ended I lost no time in finding the website for the label and ordering her debut album Quick Look. The story goes that Peter Gabriel had heard Pina's voice doing backing vocals on a track on the Afro Celt Sound System album and, like me, was instantly hooked by it that he got in touch and signed her to his label.
I wanted to get in touch with Pina too, and having found her then management company Head On in the sleeve notes of her album, I sent an email saying that I had been at Glastonbury Festival as a compere for the Avalon Stage and asking if they could either pass my mail on or send me her email address. I was delighted to get an email back from Pina and this set up an ongoing correspondence by email and letter.
Pina, although from Austria originally, had split up with her husband Helmut and moved to Cork in Ireland where she was living with her new partner Andy Hogg, who is also in her band, and her little girl Luise.
I was making plans to leave the country of my birth too at the time and in December 2004 I relocated to Tenerife, but before this I got the chance to see Pina live again and to meet her. She was playing at Moles Club in Bath and promoting new songs for a forthcoming second album on Peter Gabriel's second and new label Pre Records. It was wonderful to meet Pina and have a chat at long last backstage in the dressing rooms.
Pina's voice reminds me very much of Melanie, who had hits many years ago with folky pop songs like Brand New Key and Look What They've Done To My Song, Ma. Her vocals reminded me of Melanie but there was a harder folk rock sound to her songs.
The new songs Pina played with her band went down well with the crowd and I ended up writing a review of the gig for the Moles Club message board. I was looking forward to getting her second album Guess You Got It but it wasn't being released until the following year of 2005. By then I had settled into my new life in the Canary Islands but was thrilled to get an email from Pina saying she was getting ready for the new record's release and was going to send me a pre-issue copy, which she would like me to review, if I would be so kind, as well as a DVD of the gig I attended.
Unfortunately, the recordings must have got lost in the post but I thought it would be wise to wait a while because mail here often takes a long time. Pina's parcel for me never did arrive and not wanting her to send it all again after this I sent for a copy of Guess You Got It from her label.
I only heard from Pina a few times by email after that and I assumed all was going well - she had been playing in Spain and I thought that once the reviews of her new album started to appear in the music press things could only get better. But then the time went on and I began to wonder what the news was on PIna and her new release. I tried writing and emailing but never got any reply and I noticed that her new website on Pre Records was not getting updated. There was hardly any information on her anywhere online but I found an excellent interview and reviews by Scott Gianelli so I got in touch with him to ask if he had heard anything more of her but he hadn't.
So it has become a real mystery as to what has happened and I have even been contacted by an American fan of Pina's at Myspace to ask me if I knew anything about what she is doing. I have tried emailing the record company but have had no reply and the email I originally had for Pina no longer works. It's as if she has suddenly vanished from the world of music just after her second album came out. The last references to Pina on websites were back in 2005 and 2006 and then nothing. I can only hope she is OK and that one day I will find out what happened to the musical career of PIna Kollars, a singer-songwriter who is so brilliant that her voice could call me across two festival fields?
Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.
UPDATE - THE MYSTERY IS SOLVED:
At last I have found out what happened to PIna and it is all good news.
She emailed me and has explained that she had a baby girl in 2006.
In 2007, Pina finished her studies of nutritional therapy and has continued her academic study since so that she is now ready to enter a dissertation on postnatal depression for a masters degree course.
Also in 2007, Pina moved back to Vienna from Ireland, and is very glad she did but naturally it has taken a lot of time getting everything sorted out and getting settled.
Pina tells me that she has written some new songs and still has a deal with Realworld but cannot say any more at present.
Pina and Andy got married in July 2009.