Sanem Kalfa - vocals & electronics
Joachim Badenhorst - clarinet & live electronics
George Dumitriu - acoustic & electric guitars, viola & effects
Recording: Sinan Sakizli at Hayyam Studios, Istanbul, Turkey
Mixing: Chris Weeda in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Mastering: Gert Van Hoof at Cochlea Mastering, Berlaar, Belgium
Executive Production: Rogé for el NEGOCITO Records
Artwork: Johanna Overmeir. She explores the possibilities and limits of communication and interpersonal relationships. The cover is inspired by her Heart In Fact work.
Available on CD
release August 18, 2021
Available on Vinyl
in spring, 2022
The trio brings their creativity and unique sound to old traditional songs from the culturally rich area of the Black Sea.
Blue-green or blue-grey are colors we associate with the sea. But black? There is, no doubt, a longer story behind this name-giving. Regardless, for many ‘Black Sea’ will not trigger a clear image, will not be immediately familiar. Somewhere in the east, somewhere between Russia and Turkey, somewhere between Bulgaria and Georgia … slowly a more accurate picture might emerge. Coastal cities such as Varna, Constanța, Odessa, Sochi, Batumi, Trabzon might make it more palpable. The Black Sea shore stretches along Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine in the west, Russia and Georgia in the east, and Turkey in the south. It forms a varied interconnected cultural space with access to the Sea of Azov to the north-east (Strait of Kerch) in Russia, and the Marmara and Aegean seas to the south-west (Bosporus, Dardanelles) in Greece.
Odessa was a famous melting pot in the past with its own Mediterranean flair. The Crimean Peninsula on the northern coast is a more widely known place. Sochi is well-known as the Russian Riviera, and Constanța and Varna, its Romanian and Bulgarian counterparts, are populated by Western European tourists as well. Finally, Turkey’s northern coastline, with its Pontus Greeks and Lazi people, is the least known area from a Western perspective, while the Tatars in the Crimea might be better known due to their striking appearance and colorful customs. It is certainly a rich space for songs filling the air and peoples’ souls.
Music exists in various forms and gradations of presence and there are manifold ways of emergence and projection and sedimentation, of persistence and endurance with all its volatility and elusiveness. When music is in the air (and it always is), when archetypal songs or echoes of it surface, when voices from afar keep reaching our attention, magic can happen. The crackling and rustling when playing a scratched old vinyl record is just one of numerous sonic habitats music manifests itself in. It might also be against the background of a barking dog, rushing waters, traffic noise, slamming doors, a leaking, dripping faucet or amidst murmuring voices where music merges in, or floats up from.
In this album a Turkish female vocalist/cellist from coastal Trabzon, a guitarist/violist from Bacău in the Romanian inland and, as a wild card, a Flemish clarinetist/saxophonist from Antwerp, three true characters with a longer conjoint musical practice, met in the urban delta of The Lowlands to work on a variety of songs originating from the Black Sea. Jointly Sanem Kalfa, George Dumitriu and Joachim Badenhorst scraped out their own essences form the oscillations of various sonic edges and folded interiors, thereby joyously inscribing richly morphing forms into the ether.
Clearing up the air to give breath to ten of these old songs they feel close to, these three musicians let emerge a selection of Turkish, Georgian, Lazi, Pontus Greek and Tatarian origin to receive illumination and shine. Far from delivering newly polished up versions, they draw us into the process of their momentary discovery of these long-lived songs. They catch them on the edge of emergence, in their transient volatility, at their merging and fading sides as well as in their full brightness and at their most playfully prancing and bouncing character.
Kalfa, Dumitriu and Badenhorst form a complementary trinity of a special kind. Kalfa, the dedicated ‘she, who sings’, is the extravert, outgoing part. By snake-like introduction of her enlivening impulses, she initiates and imbues wild, soft and whispering wanderings. Dumitriu, with his atmospheric sensitivity, his vigilant awareness of form and shape, sets prudent accents as well as slightly puckish vectors at surprising moments. Badenhorst, then, is the wild card: attentively present, he is all ears and serves as a grounding force enshrouding the rising florescence and merge of the frequencies. May it open and enjoy listeners’ ears, connect to their inner melody and enrich it beyond the known and beaten track.
Henning Bolte, Amsterdam, July 9, 2020
"In één woord; adembenemend."Rinus Van Der Heijden, Jazz Nu (23/02/2022)
"This entire disc is a pure delight, one of the most enchanting discs I’ve heard in a long while."Bruce Lee Gallanter, the Downtown Music Gallery NY (18/02/2022)
"de levensvreugde spat er van af."Ken Vos, Jazzism Nederland (17/02/2022)
"Étonnant, touchant, dépaysant…"Jacques Prouvost, Jazzques (13/01/2022)
"Een van de mooiste platen van 2021."Gerrit Valckenaers, de Keuze van Klara (10/01/2022)
"Een juweel" Mischa Andriessen, Trouw (12/11/2021)
"Juist door het prachtige spel van Dumitriu en Badenhorst en de magische zang van Kalfa openbaart zich een muzikale wereld die nog zoveel interessanter is als dat we de Zwarte Zee in onze gedachten hebben. Black Sea Songs is een album dat je wegtrekt uit je eigen wereld en je laat wegzweven over mystieke landen en eeuwenoude tradities. Black Sea Songs biedt muziek om volledig in te verdwijnen." Dick Hovenga, Written in Music (20/07/2021) ****1/2
1. Babamın Atmalari
S. Kalfa - 06:25
2. Vertskhlis Tasadamts Maktsia
traditional song - 06:03
3. Nani Nani Oy
traditional song - 03:02
traditional song - 02:24
5. Ayna Ayna Ellere
traditional song - 04:44
6. Cântec de la Marea Neagră
E. Chirică-Teşa - 06:36
7. Oy Benim Sevdiceğim
traditional song - 04:36
traditional song - 03:20
traditional song - 05:36
10. Ay Dolayım
traditional song - 04:17
total time - 63:07
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