Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico - Songs of an Other
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Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico
Songs of an Other
ECM

Since 1993, singer Savina Yannatou and Kostas Vomvolos (qanun, accordion, musical direction) have stood at creative core of Primavera en Salonico (nay, oud, guitar, violin, viola, double bass, percussion). While rooted artistically in Thessalonica, for Yannatou and Primavera, their Greek and Sephardic roots are only a jumping-off point in a project that covers the Mediterranean waterfront and ranges far beyond.

Manifesting the spare sonic acuity so characteristic of the Manfred Eichner-ECM production aesthetic and the arranging talents of Vomvolos, Yannatou and company are equally versed in Ashkenazi tradition; folk songs from Italy, Greece, the Balkans, Armenia, and Kazakhstan; the historic and contemporary Levant; European early and classical music; and jazz improvisation.

Recorded in Athens, Songs of an Other comprises a dozen varied settings for Yannatou to conjure her delicate yet commanding vocal instrument, confirming the power and primacy of the human voice throughout her work. With a mournful, pensive yearning, this music transcends the particulars of native language and text (notes include English-language summary translations). With respect to dramatic effect, these matter far less than the sheer vocal poetics of each unique individual performance.

Yannatou's is a voice that haunts the paradoxical terrain between beauty and terror. Behold the call-and response between her haunting ululations, the nay-string exchange, and the percussive drive of "Za lioubih maimo tri momi," from Macedonian Bulgaria; the spiraling ascent and ghostly Greek exhalations, cries, and whispers of "O Yannis kai o drakos"; the soothing balm of "Albanian Lullaby"; or the evocative Armenian strains of "Sareri hovin mermen." - Michael Stone

The artist's web site: www.savinayannatou.com

CD available from cdroots

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CD available from cdroots

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