Cristina Donà started her songwriting career at the beginning of 1990 after graduating from the Academy of Arts of Brera in Milan. After a couple of years of intense activity she was able to develop her own singing style that she continued to refine through experience and study.
A remarkable co-operation took place between Cristina and Manuel Agnelli of the rock band Afterhours, when the latter, friend and artistic partner, became the former’s producer and arranger.
Cristina started writing her own songs and, in June 1995, she was selected out of 300 participants, and she came third out of six winners for the Premio Ciampi, an important Italian Award.
During the following summer she continued her soloist activity by occasionally supporting La Crus. In November 1995, she performed in Livorno at the first edition of the Premio Ciampi among other Italian artits such as Nada, La Crus, Casino Royale, Afterhours, during which she was accompanied by the electric cello of Bruno Briscik (one of Lucio Dalla’s session men).
The appreciation of the jury went to her voice and lyrics which give space to melodious tones, by underliningthe contrasts and contradictions that Cristina Donà feels close in her inner world. The melodic line development of these tunes is the basis for a totally different way of singing that distances itself from the typically Italian.
She has been working with Mescal since the end of 1995 and between February and March of the same year she started working at the Junglesound Recording Studio in Milan where, with Agnelli as artistic producer, she realised her debut album, Tregua (Truce), released in January ’97 by Mescal label and distributed by Polygram in Italy only.
The press and public’s regard gained through the work of the past years, has led her to the collaboration with various players of different experiences out of some of the most important bands on the Italian scene. As well as with Agnelli and the other two Afterhours Giorgio Prette e Xabier Iriondo, Cristina performed also with La Crus’ Mauro Ermanno Giovanardi, Marco Barberis (Ustmamò, Mau Mau), Ferdinando Masi (Casino Royale) and Maurizio Raspante (Santa Sangre) who, as well as playing the bass, took an important role in the preproduction of Tregua. In November 1996 one of her tunes Terra Blu (Blue Earth) was included in the compilation Matrilineare (CPI/Polygram).
Her live activity performing both as a soloist and with La Crus never stopped not even during the spring and summer, when Cristina performed in Livorno with Andrea Chimenti, in Bergamo with C.S.I. and in the La Crus’ and Afterhours’ summer tour.
Her first release, was received enthusiastically by specialised critics, and was awarded with the Tenco Award as best debut album of the year and the Max Generation Critic Award.
Cristina Donà kicked off her Tregua tour with her band: Pasquale De Fina guitarist, Marco Ferrara bass and Cristian Calcagnile drums and percussion.
Lately Cristina performed for the Frontiers Festival in the charming and magical scenary of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. While writing the lyrics to her new album, she performed with her acoustic set at the Frammenti Festival in Saarbrucken, Germany .
Robert Wyatt. While visiting the Music Exposition in Turin ,Robert sees Cristina perform. They meet and he congratulates her,although he’s not a rock fan.
A few months later he quotes “Tregua” as one of his 1997 favourite albums on Mojo magazine.
Also Charlie Gillet (a famous producer ,radio speaker and music journalist) falls in love with “Tregua” and plays it on one of his BBC radio shows. When David Byrne appears on Gillet’s show he says he appreciates “the girl”.
Cristina had already recorded(with Ginevra Di Marco from C.S.I.) a version of Robert Wyatt’s “Maryan” to be released on The Tribute Album “The Different You”.
Cristina and Manuel send him some of the new songs and he decided to ‘appear’ in that masterpiece that “Goccia” represents.With this new treatment, “Goccia” become a real precious jewel. Cristina told Robert that his new arrangement “seems a real perfect dress” and he answered : ‘’ yes, I like to be your perfect dress!”
She then makes “Goccia” video,starring Robert Wyatt ,released on “Goccia” e.p.
“Nido” (Nest) is her second album released for Mescal on the 15th november 1999, produced once again by Manuel Agnelli, while other ‘friends’ become special guests: Morgan (of the rock band Bluvertigo) piano in “Volevo essere altrove” ; the songwriter Marco Parente guitar in “Brazil” ; Davide Rossi ( Mau Mau, Afterhours, and then musician with Robert Fripp) in the titletrack “Nido
Following the release of her new album,Cristina starts off her winter tour with great expectations and it turns out to be very successful . Again, another track from “Nido”, “Cosi’ Cara” is released on EMI Emisphere World Music Compilation (compiled by Charlie Gillet) and this gives her great international visibility, as she also appears on New York Label Niche Music with “Goccia”.
In October she wins the prestigious “Premio Tenco” and plays as opening set on Ani Di Franco Italian tour. On June she plays in London for the famous Meltdown Festival at Royal Hall.
This summer she plays as supporter on Patty Smith’s Italian Tour dates.
Tregua (Mescal), CD, MC, 1997
Nido (Mescal), CD,MC, 1999