Polina Skovoroda & Fanfara new CD is a collaboration that is special and exciting. Under Polina’s guest direction, the Brighton based group mix their Romanian Gypsy Brass tunes with new material that pushes the boundaries of traditional Russian and Yiddish song.
From the opening track, Igrai Truba (Play Trumpet) we hear Polina’s improvised, weaving and fluid vocal style coming head on with the powerful sustained brass chords, then leading to a fast, pulsing, astonishingly danceable Russian song, tasting like the best Romanian slivovitz. The tracks go on, each one giving us a characteristic and unique slice not only of Polina’s amazing range of voice (4 octaves), composition and emotion, but of Fanfara’s passion, fire and power. The journey continues to surprise from start to finish.
We hear small groups within the ensemble and even duets with Polina singing and playing piano, joined by Merlin Shepherd on a Turkish G clarinet, and a song telling the story of a soul’s journey through it’s reincarnation, sung in old Russian style, unaccompanied.
As the album closes with Polina’s signature wordless song Ay–yay–yay we are led into a world when east Europe hosts the Jewish and the Islamic, as Polina was brought up in Tartastan. At the start of the final piece, she calls the faithful lovers of Music to prayer in a style that is reminiscent of the Muezzin that she heard as a Jewish child growing up in an Islamic Republic.
Most of the lyrics are written by Polina who is a decendant of the 18th Century Cossak Hryhorii Savych Skovoroda, a famous Ukrainian poet and philosopher. An impressionist journey across the Steppes, Civilization is an excursion into wonders, joy, beauty and sensitivity but also fierce dance rhythms and driving, pulsing, passionate beats of Eastern Europe. Not to be missed!