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Savina Yannatou

Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico

  • Savina Yannatou, voice
  • Kostas Vomvolos, quanun, accordion
  • Michalis Siganidis, double bass
  • Yannis Alexandris, oud, guitar, tamboura
  • Kostas Theodorou, percussion
  • Haris Lambrakis, ney, recorders
  • Kyriakos Gouventas, violin

Sponsored by Ashlin Coleman Architects

"A Greek goddess on a mission…Yannatou’s voice is astonishingly pure and endlessly adaptable ”- BBC Music Magazine

Throughout its history, jazz has always reached out to vernacular forms inspired by humanity’s endless capacity for musical expression, and as it moves into it’s second century, this dialogue becomes ever more stimulating. In the hands of Greek singer Savina Yannatou, it becomes an intimate embrace.

With the Mediterranean, The Balkans and Eastern Europe as their muse, Yannatou and her group Primavera en Salonica offer a sound world that transcends narrow definition, where the rigours of traditional authenticity are happily reconciled with jazz spontaneity. Sumiglia, their second opus for ECM, collects songs from Greece, Corsica, Italy, Sicily, Galicia, Palestine, Albania, Bulgaria, Armenia, Moldavia and the Ukraine, illuminating all points on the European compass. Rallying around Yannatou’s shimmering voice, these seven virtuoso musicians reveal a deep respect and empathy for their repertoire yet follow their instincts when liberated improvisation becomes inevitable.

It’s an eloquent statement on their shared Greek ancestry and the culture that down the millennia has mediated the oriental and occidental worlds. Here, Eastern modalities and asymmetric rhythms bond with their Western equivalents, melismatic vocals of Persian influence cohabitate with European polyphony, and the regal oud, ney and quanun are mirrored by guitar, recorder and accordion.

Throughout, Yannatou’s radiant voice marshals these powerful forces into a cohesive whole, as she moves uninhibited between dialects and idioms, evoking the spirits of songs past in a vocal and linguistic tour de force. As our 2005 journey into the achievements of Europe’s leading label for jazz and contemporary music reaches its final leg, she’s a fitting torchbearer.

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