Savina Yannatou's previous ECM albums, the live 'Terra Nostra' and the studio-recorded 'Sumiglia' hit the 'world music' audience with the force of revelation, and also excited the interst of the jazz audience. Under the double guidance of singer Savina and accordionist Kostas Vomvolos, Primavera en Salonico celebrates traditional music while also taking risks with it.
The collaboration was launched in 1993 with a project based on Sephardic songs from Salonica, soon expanding to deal with music of the Mediterranean and, then, the wider world. Savina herself, with her broad background which has touched on everything from renaissance music to free improvising has encouraged the ensemble to stretch out and the arrangements of Kostas Vomvolos, best known in Greece as a writer of theatre music, encourage this expansive tendency, his arrangements drawing new qualities from the playing of a band whose line-up incorporates highly respected traditional musicians Kyriakos Gouventas (violin, viola) and Yannis Alexandris (oud, guitar) as well as musicians of jazz and experimental proclivity including bassist Michalis Siganidis, and percussionist Kostas Theodorou.
The press on 'Terra Nostra': "A Greek goddess on a mission...Savina Yannatou is an amazingly versatile singer. The power of the performance lies in the cool delivery of an astonishingly pure and endlessly adaptable voice." - BBC Music Magazine
The press on 'Sumiglia': "Yannatou's choice of material takes in the whole of the Mediterranean from Spain to Albania and Yannatou delivers the emotion in each song as if it were her own. Her musicians swing like a jazz group, dance like a folk ensemble and have the soul of a blues band and this is a lovely record." - Jazzwise
Savina Yannatou - (voice), Yannis Alexandris - (oud, guitar), Kyriakos Gouventas - (violin, viola), Harris Lambrakis - (nay), Michalis Siganidis - (double-bass), Kostas Theodorou - (percussion), Kostas Vomvolos - (quanun, accordion)
Ravishing...what gives Yannatou's music a special resonance is her improvising jazz background...the sound of cultures talking to each other. -- The Wire, (John Gill), December 2008
Yannatou's voice is as fresh and versatile as ever...taking in hymnal lyricism, stirring folk balladry and a freer, essentially instrumental approach. -- Jazzwise, (Geoff Andrew), October 2008