Posts Tagged ‘eva quartet’

Top of the World: Belonoga – Through the Eyes of the Sun

Posted on March 11th, 2014 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

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Words by Kim Burton

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Bulgarian singer Gergana Dimitrova will be familiar to many as a member of the women’s vocal ensemble, the Eva Quartet. For this solo project, she has retained the Bulgarian singing style, sensibility and harmonic language developed over the second half of the last century, while setting it in a floating, impressionistic sonic space, cunningly combining and confusing acoustic sounds with electronic ones, her affecting voice emerging from flickering sonic backdrops of animal-like moans and whines, chiming keyboard sonorities and instrumental flurries. It’s a contemplative music that takes its time; even when a groove takes hold, the music never hurries, and Dimitrova and her collaborator Aleks Nushev set fragmented accordion and gadulka (bowed lute) lines against lush, sometimes grandiose textures, developing slowly and surely over the duration of the piece.

The musicians are unafraid to mix styles, native and otherwise. ‘Shopski Yenge’, for example, juxtaposes fragments of rural song, typified by grinding close harmonies and piercing drones, with didgeridoo, the dark boom and rattle of a frame drum, and fluttering sampled nonsense syllables spun into a sequenced line. Each level of the music moves at a different speed. It’s a highly effective, beautifully imagined and refreshing recording, and a worthy successor to previous releases by this pioneering label.

TRACK TO TRY: ‘A Wedding at the Camel Caravan’

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Click here to buy the March (#98) issue of Songlines or download the free Songlines app from iTunes or Google Play.

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Top of the World: Eva Quartet & Hector Zazou – The Arch

Posted on April 19th, 2013 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words by Kim Burton
 
A fond farewell from tireless French producer 

This collaboration, only released recently, may have been the last work of the respected French musician, producer and remix specialist Hector Zazou, who died in 2008. It is a fitting crown to his life’s work, successfully melding many forms of folk and popular musics into a long, contemplative journey through timbre, colour and emotion. The core of the musical material consists of familiar arrangements and compositions based around Bulgarian folk song or Orthodox church music, beautifully sung by the Eva Quartet and backed by the virtuosos of the Diva Reka group. But the driving force and the sonic imagination are unmistakeably Zazou’s. Around the vocal arrangements, an extraordinary array of guests from the worlds of jazz, rock, electronica, classical and experimental music have layered their contributions, mediated by Hector Zazou’s electronic treatments, soundscapes and acoustic spaces. 

The sonic world of this album is stunningly beautiful, from the opening of ‘Lazaritsa’ to the chiming guitar and spectral musical saw preceding the quiet dissolution of the closing ‘Kadóna.’ The slow development of the music over the 12 tracks leads the listener from ritual to reconciliation, shadowed by instruments, haloed by bell-like reverberations, and privy to all kinds of strange and inspiring meetings. Hear how in ‘Dostoino est’ a sacral Marian chant fuses with the sounds of an Indian raga and shimmering synthesizer chords, to end in a slow, expansive dance of joy. A wonderful, endlessly absorbing masterpiece. 

TRACK TO TRY: Minka 

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Jocelyn Pook’s playlist and the 10 best new releases in the new Songlines issue

Posted on March 16th, 2013 in News, Recent posts by .

The April/ May 2013 issue of Songlines is on sale in the UK from tomorrow. It includes our regular Top of the World CD with ten tracks from the finest new releases from around the planet. The CD also includes five tracks selected by British composer and viola player, Jocelyn Pook.

The Top of the World CD features tracks from Malian cover star Rokia Traoré; charming young Mancunian Irish fiddler Emma Sweeney; American old-time duo Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott; brilliant balladry from Alasdair Roberts & Friends; Columbian psychedelia from Los Pirañas and expertly executed Bulgarian folk from Eva Quartet & Hector Zazou, amongst others…

Pick up your copy here on the website, at selected WHSmith’s and at all good record retailers. Feast your ears on these all-new tracks:

* Rokia Traoré ‘Beautiful Africa’ on Nonesuch Records
* Los Pirañas ‘Lambada de Oceanía, África y América (eran un mismo continente)’ on Vampisoul
* Emma Sweeney ‘The Singing Kettle’ on Sweeney Records
* Queen Biz ‘Wallou’ (from Teranga! Senegal) on Sterns Music
* Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino ‘Aremu an me ‘Gapa’’ on Ponderosa Music & Art
* Airileke ‘Wanchef’ on Wantok Musik
* Derek Gripper ‘Kaounding Cissoko’ on New Cape Records
* Alasdair Roberts & Friends ‘The Laverock in the Blackthorn’ on Drag City
* Eva Quartet & Hector Zazou ‘Razvivay, Dóbro’ on Elen Music
* Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott ‘Climbing Up a Mountain’ on Full Light Records

Plus Jocelyn Pook’s playlist:

* Ashkhabad ‘Bayaty’ on Real World Records
* Boban Markovic ‘Samanta Cocek’ on Piranha Musik
* Natacha Atlas ‘Hayati Inta Reprise (Hayatak Ana)’ on World Village
* Luiz Gonzaga & Miguel Lima ‘Dança Mariquinha’ on Buda Musique
* Esma Redzepova ‘Ciganka Je Malena’ on World Connection

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