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Songs Of An Other

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Dec 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ECM
  • ASIN: B001BOZ1PI
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 356,482 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sareri Hovin Mernem
2. Za lioubih maimo tri momi
3. Smilj Smiljana
4. Dunie Au
5. O Yannis kai O Drakos
6. Albanian Lullabye
7. Omar hashem leyakoyv
8. Radile
9. Sassuni Oror
10. Addio Amore
11. Perperouna
12. Ah, Marouli

Product Description

Product Description

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

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fergal Woods on 26 Mar 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This disc is not easy listening. These artists have made their name bringing Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean music to the world, with superb musicianship and a world class vocalist. I've 2 of their earlier recordings and I must admit to a huge sense of disappointment and anti-climax on hearing these songs.

This sounds like this Greek group have been told to strip down Eastern European folk songs and make them sound like something else. It's very stark and dark-hued, and in some cases degenerates into experimental vocal and instrumental sound effects, with hardly any of the joy or rhythms usually associated with this regions folk tradition.

Some of the music here is similar to Loreena MacKennett's later material but is nowhere near as entertaining. I don't understand any of the languages but that has not inhibited my enjoyment of Sephardic or Balkan music before. ECM is known for it's adventure (and, as often referred to, it's sound quality) but, as far as I'm concerned, this is one of the least likeable CDs I have ever heard.

Too many of the tracks are almost dirge-like, and the disc badly lacks light relief from the funereal pace of almost all the songs. Yannatou has a glorious voice but this is not her finest moment, and there are even a couple of spots with suspect tuning. Go for "Mediterranea" or the hard-to-get "Springtime in Saloniki" instead
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Jones on 25 Mar 2009
Format: Audio CD
Savina Yannatou is a household name in Corsica, and her recordings have been available through specialist shops for many years. Finally, thanks to the vision of Manfred Eicher's ECM label, she gets a worldwide release on an established label. As with all ECM albums, the production and sound quality is excellent, and this release finds Savina on top form. Her band, Primavera de Salonica, contains the finest traditional musicians in Corsica, and the result is an outstanding album from an artist with a superb pedigree. There's hints of jazz here, but it's essentially a traditional folk record. Fans of quality world music will lap it up, otherwise try to get a listen and hope that some enterprising promoter (WOMAD, are you listening?) bring the group over soon.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Ravishing 25 Mar 2009
By Marius Gabriel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
What can you say about this voice? Tender, caressing, sometimes almost fading to nothing, then swelling to great power, it is a magnificent instrument under the control of a singer with immense feeling. Savina Yannatou is a huge star who sings in several Mediterranean languages but seldom in English, something which may make her inaccessible to some US listeners; but for those prepared for new experiences, she is a whole paradise waiting to be discovered. I urge all lovers of the human voice to give this stellar singer a listen.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Steven H. Koenig - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Too often the term world music has a negative connotation, like jazz fusion had. The difference is, I feel, one of integration as contrasted with fusion- the sticking together of disparate parts. The strength of Songs Of An Other that the "otherness" here is actually a unity: of sound, of interplay, and universal sentiments.

Songs Of An Other contains folks songs from Serbia, Armenia, Macedonia, Greece, and Jewish Ashkenazy music. There are also compositions and/or improvisations credited to the band based on Greek tradition. Instruments include oud, accordion, ney, double-bass, violin, viola, guitar, unnamed percussion instruments, and qanun (Wikipedia says the "kanun is a descendant of the old Egyptian harp, and is related to the psaltery, dulcimer and zither"). Yet this doesn't sound like a hodgepodge nor a travelog. "Smilj Smiljana" is a Serbian lament for an uncertain love, but it could just as easily be a Child ballad. Each lyric is a tiny jewel, like a Schubert lied.

Yannatou has a tremolo which, in ECM's typical echo, resonates as if under a stone arch in a monastery. There is much use of breath, and vocal calls, sea-gull like sounds which one associates with the works of both Kate Bush and Shelley Hirsch. Sample, if you can, track 5: "O Yannis kai o drakos," which relates the tale of Yannis in a battle of wills with a dragon, Yannatou's haunting voice like a violin or bird call, at other times growling. Other songs use gutteral utterances and ghostlike, non-stereotypical throat-singing which at first sounds like an arco-bass, or is it indeed one of the instruments? Totally breathtaking.

The packaging is typical ECM: beautiful, arty cover photo, cardboard slipcase, booklet with session photos, notes on each song's heredity (all traditional; which nation) and song text summaries. Given the expensive look and feel, why not print full bi- or multi-lingual translations of each song? Highly recommended for tastes ranging from Hamza el Din to The Incredible String Band, Om Khalsoum to June Tabor to Sainkho Namtchylak. One of the best of 2008.

Steve Koenig, Editor, AcousticLevitation dot org, a journal of art, music and culture
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
a beautiful little corner of the music market 21 Jan 2010
By Wyote - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Savina Yannatou has a lovely voice, and anyone interested in beautiful music should hear Savina Yannatou Sings Manos Hadjidakis if you can find it (it must be brought back into production - it is simply too good to remain obscure). That album took me a few listens to get used to, but now it has ascended in my estimation: it is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard. Hadjidakis' songs are not naively romantic, but neither are they anything like avante-garde.

So although I thought I didn't have any expectations for this album, I was repeatedly startled, track after track. The intermittent conservative bass anchors the music in the jazz tradition, but bouyed by Yannatou's lovely vocals the rest of the music soars far beyond anything widely marketable as world or folk music. At times it sounds something like the most beautiful epileptic fit ever recorded, at times something like a psychedelic remix of southeastern European folk music, and at times like Native American inspired new age music played fast-forward. I want to say it's something like Conception Vessel meets Osvaldo Golijov: Ayre.

Besides all that, there is the occasional Tuvan throat singing, and accoustic instruments that sometimes sound conspicuously hand-made and sometimes like a cheap synthesizer keyboard from the mid-1980s. It is simply all over the place: each track offers something distinct, and there is no way to predict what you will hear next. Yet there is an obvious unity to the album, especially in its tone color and the progression of its moods (both are roughly the kind of thing expected from an ECM album.)

Above all, in case I haven't emphasized the word enough, it is beautiful. This has more to do with Yannatou than with the band, but their contributions are notable.

I'm the third reviewer so far, and I'm very surprised that all three of us have been unreservedly positive. A lot of listeners will hate this music - no matter what musical conventions you secretly cherish, this will at some point break them; there is no risk of the sort of popularity that Officium enjoys - but of course a lot will love it instantly, and it was for these latter (a niche that ECM knows how to exploit) that the album has created, recorded and marketed.

I suspect you can already tell what sort you are, and whether you should drop your cash for this music. I hope you will, for your own sake, but also because I hope that Savina Yannatou's career will continue with ECM for awhile. I think it could continue to be a very interesting, productive partnership.
Sublime. Most definitely not not background music, unlike ... 20 Dec 2014
By madaboutmusic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sublime. Most definitely not not background music, unlike some ECM recordings. With close attention, this is definitely capable of transporting the listener to an "other" world. It's more a collaboration than a vocalist with "backing' musicians and they playfully degrade structures, sometimes quite dramatically. In other words, at times, the music gets quite intense, moves outside and could, I suppose, be described as avant garde. Ms. Yannatou and her ensemble create a fairly unique sound-world and I for one, find it extremely enchanting. I won't attempt to describe music this distinctive in words. Newcomers should probably start with her Mediterranea CD, which is more straight-ahead.
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