Cigdem Aslan: Mortissa (2013)
Aslan recorded most of Mortissa with aces from North London's Greek and Turkish musical communities, including kanun (plucked dulcimer) master Nikolaos Baimpas; She'Koyokh backs up the rousing sing-along "Trava Vre Manga Kai Alani (Away With You, Manga)" and head-spinning clarinet jam "Ferece (Veil)."
"Kanarini (Canary)" sings a beautiful vocal and instrumental melody nourished by Middle Eastern percussion and strings. Like an impending storm, "To Dervisaki (Little Dervish)" grows more intense as violin, guitar and clarinet twist and bow in a dance with Aslam's vocal, so overwhelmingly mysterious that it sounds a bit dangerous.
"Nenni (Lullaby)" will stop you dead in your tracks. Aslan's unaccompanied vocal introduction is so perfect it's bewitching; beautiful, mysterious, vibrant, haunting, evocativeher voice is all these and more. Starkly illuminated by the backup of a solitary acoustic guitar, Aslan's vocal leaves in its wake the sense that "Nenni" is a vocal incantation passed down from voice to voice, from person to person, from generation to generation
Mortissa is more than music: It is an open window into different cultures and histories. "What I'm doing is adding details and highlighting the similarities between the cultures," Aslan concludes. "Even something like a double bass in there makes it more modern. It's adding your personality. What I'm doing is putting my feelings into the songs, trying to reflect what they make me feel."
"It shows there are no cultural boundaries in music."
Track Listing: Aman Katerina Mou (Oh My Katerina); Vale Me Stin Agalia Sou (Take Me in Your Arms); To Dervisaki (Little Dervish); Bir Allah (One God); Pane Gia To Praso (Out for Leek); Trava Vre Manga Kai Alani (Away With You, Manga); Ferece (Veil); Nenni (Lullaby); Ҫakici; Sto Kafe Aman (At the Café Aman); Usakli Kiz (Girl from Uşak); Kanarini (Canary); S’agapo (I Love You).
Personnel: Nikos Angousis-Doitsidis: clarinet; Çigdem Aslan: vocals; Matt Bacon: guitar; Nikolaos Baimpas: baglama, kanun, mandola, mandolin, santouri, vocals; Makis Baklatzis: violin; H. Cahit Baylav: violin; Pavlos Carvalho: bouzouki; Philippos Demetriou: bells, finger cymbals, spoons; Odysseas Elia: bouzouki; Susi Evans: clarinet; Meg Hamilton: violin; Sevtap Isik: vocals; Vasilis Lemonias: cello; Paul Melas: guitar, vocals; Tahir Palali: baglama, davul, fretless guitar, oud, vocals; Vasilis Sarikis: finger cymbals; Guy Schalom: bendir; She'koyokh; Paul Tkachenko: double bass, mandolin.
Record Label: Asphalt Tango