[Note: This article was first published in Music & Literature, a North American magazine dedicated to promoting artists worthy of wider attention] Iva Bittová is a rare talent. She has developed a personal idiom and vocabulary that is almost entirely her own. Her sound, her very personal language, forged from the union of violin and voice, cannot be categorized yet is immediately recognizable. Bittová is, quite simply, inimitable. Though she is not the first artist to create a hybrid language that draws from different roots, nobody has forged quite the same path as Bittová. Her ...read more
The catch-all term avant-garde is often used to describe singer/violinist Iva Bittová's music, but in truth her musical language--kaleidoscopic in color and unique in presentation--is essentially unclassifiable. A well known actress, Bittová expanded her horizons to music in the early eighties, since when she's bounced from Bartok to experimental rock, and from folk-influenced jazz to her collaboration with innovative New York ensemble Bang on a Can. Bittová's eclecticism is evident on her debut as leader for ECM, an intimate solo performance where her voice blends with violin and kalimba in an intoxicating brew that is both ethereal and invigoratingly rootsy.read more
In its four-plus decade career, ECM Records has done more to blur, stretch and dissolve musical boundaries than any other label on the planet. With the world becoming a smaller place it's also become a fertile breeding ground for cross-cultural, cross-genre cross-pollination, with ECM on the vanguard of the inevitable consequences, having released countless examples of a fearless rejection of anything but the idea that music is simply music. Yes, there are delineations, but only for the purposes of trying to pigeonhole the music, something many musicians steadfastly reject.Iva Bittovà is clearly one of those musicians. Her first ...read more
Over some twenty years of recording, the Czech violinist and singer Iva Bittova has done folk, classical and new music, recording with guitarist Fred Frith among others. What she hadn't done, by her own admission, was venture into jazz. That changed when she began working with her countryman, bassist George Mraz. Mraz worked with both the Stan Getz quartet and Czech pianist Emil Viklicky in the 1970s, and has continued to be a sought-after player in the decades since. In 1997, Mraz and Viklicky's paths crossed again and they started planning an album of interpretations of music ...read more
George Mraz & Iva Bittova Moravian Gems CubeMetier 2007
The United States is a large country and anything but culturally homogenous. Americans routinely make geographical distinctions among themselves, politically (red state vs. blue state), religiously (Southern Baptist vs. New England Baptist), and of course, musically. All three of America's indigenous musical art forms draw such lines: Southern rock is considered a distinct subgenre of rock'n'roll; Chicago blues is distinguished from its elder Mississippi cousin; and the West Coast jazz style has long been contrasted to that of New Orleans or New York/Philadelphia. ...read more
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