Both members worked a lot in other projects in the years before. Conny played the violin for more than ten years and performed in many orchestras. She also sang in some classical choruses and as a soloist, and is familiar with baroque and romantic compositions like G.F. Handel, E. Grieg or Pergolesi.
Olaf was in his childhood a member of the "Stadtsingechor Halle", the oldest chorus of the world. Later, he played in many musical projects and bands, and also composed for TV. He studied musicology and philosophy.
In 1994 the second album, "Porta VIII" (Hyperium), was released. It has a concept based on the fairy tale "Ariadne et Barbe Bleue" by Maurice Maeterlinck, but "Porta VIII" is a continuation of the original fairy tale. This album too was selling more than 10 000 copies worldwide and climbed the Mexican charts.
Since 1997 there was a new line-up. Conny left sToa to follow her classical career, and the new singer was Antje Buchheiser. Buchheiser had been playing violin for more than eleven years, and had been singing in the classical chorus "Hallenser Madrigalisten". She performed a lot in classical music, in, among others, Germany, Japan and Cuba.
Another new member since 1996 was Christiane Fischer. She plays cello and is singing the second voice at live concerts. sToa signed to the German publisher Alster Musikverlag. In 1997 the band left their old label Hyperium for various reasons.
sToa performed sporadically at special places or events. They played for example at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in a one hundred years old and eighty metres high monument in front of more than 1 000 people, at the “Zeche Carl” in Essen, in the Netherlands and several times in Mexico (inter alia with the Goethe-Institut).
In 2001 they finished their album "Zal". It was released worldwide, but first in Mexico at "Samadhi Musik". sToa signed to the German label "Alice in ...", where they released "Zal" for the rest of the world and re-released "Urthona" and "Porta VIII". The singer on "Zal" was Antje Buchheiser.
In 2008 sToa returned with international line-up. The new album "Silmand" was released on September 26th. "Silmand" means soul month. With it the month September is titled in an almost forgotten German dialect. The female voices on the album belong to sToa's new main-singer Mandy Bernhardt and the Australian multi-instrumentalist Louisa John-Krol. Furthermore, the Dutchman Pieter Nooten (Ex-Clan of Xymox) could be engaged as well as the Leipzig-based Ralf Jehnert (Love is Colder than Death). One of the songs on "Silmand" was already used as film score ("Tacitum"). The title of the song "Hanuz Nist" comes from the Persian lyrics written by Hassan Dehlawi at the 14th century.
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The song "Nubibus Atris" by sToa is a beautiful and haunting piece that speaks to the turbulent emotions that can often come with the onset of darkness and uncertainty. The first stanza speaks of the ocean whipped up by the tumultuous southern winds, churning and frothy. What was once a peaceful and calm sea, reflective of the serene days past, is now covered in murky sediment, obscuring vision and preventing peaceful reflection. The second stanza alludes to the darkness represented by the black clouds, covering the sky and obscuring the light of the stars.
Line by Line Meaning
Si mare volvens turbidus Auster
If the turbulent South wind rolls the sea
misceat aestum, vitrea dudum
and mixes the waves, glass-like just before
parque serenis unda diebus
the calm waters of serene days
mox resoluto sordida caeno
soon become cloudy with dissolved mud
blocking the view.
The stars are hidden
buried with no chance
to shine through
by black clouds.
Contributed by Jayden W. Suggest a correction in the comments below.