156

Dragana: I Still Feel You

Roger Crane By

Sign in to view read count
Dragana: I Still Feel You Dragana has a last name, of course. But we folks in the States have trouble with a pile of consonants, so she is simply “Dragana,” a unique name for a unique singer. This lovely and talented young lady was born in Belgrade (former Yugoslavia) and her interest in music was realized at the early age of four. When she was eight her family moved to Novi Sad, where she studied music at the University of Art. Dragana graduated and received her Degree in Composition in 1993. She moved to the United States in 1994, arriving with only a single suitcase and broken English. Shortly after arriving, Dragana attended the Musician’s Vocal Institute of Technology in Hollywood and won the “Outstanding Vocalist” award. That original suitcase probably has a few cousins by now, the English is near perfect and Dragana is performing with various well-known jazz musicians in the Los Angeles area—including pianists Howlett “Smitty” Smith and Daniel May, who is also a noted music producer and composer. He, in fact, co-produced and plays piano on I Still Feel You, Dragana’s excellent debut recording.

I Still Feel You is a very personal, compelling and beautiful statement of Dragana’s journey from a child to a woman. The overall feeling of this CD is sadness, from Daniel May’s heartbreaking song, “One More Day, One More Night,” about a homeless man waking from his “newspaper bed” to Dragana’s “Endless Tears” (“lonely nights and empty roads are here again.”) Of her eight originals the strongest is probably the title song, “I Still Feel You,” which, somewhat surprisingly, is not about a long lost lover, but about her father, whom Dragana lost at too young an age. It is a poignant and most loving remembrance. Mention should be made of Howlett Smith’s song, “Discover Me”. Although this song is not new (“Smitty” has been singing it for decades), it could have been written for Dragana and perfectly fits the sad theme of her debut CD. As far as I know, this is the only recorded version of Smitty’s exceptional ballad. The sadness of Dragana’s songs is not only the woe of “girl losing boy” but also larger issues, such as autumnal reflections on misunderstandings, and the small shifts that separate people or the unexpected epiphanies that make you aware that you don’t know yourself, much less others or the world around you.

The musicians are stellar and give Dragana wonderful support. As mentioned, Daniel May is on piano, Gary Gibbons is at the drum set and Dan’s brother, Benjamin, is at the upright bass. This trio appears regularly at the Loew’s Santa Monica Beach hotel and thus works as a tight unit, knowing how to stimulate and coax the best music from each other.

Dragana is not just a dilettante who has simply thrown together a few originals because it is expected. She is, in fact, an accomplished writer with an excellent sense of prosody. As singer/trumpeter Anna Callahan has noted, “Dragana’s songwriting (and singing) are haunting and her own joie de vivre mingle with an eastern-European sadness that she cannot deny. You won’t find a singer/songwriter with more candor. Her debut is a wonderful album that is straight from the heart.” I agree and recommend Dragana’s I Still Feel You.

Visit Dragana’s website at www.dragana-music.com .


Track Listing: 1. Dance 2. Never Late 3. Discover Me 4. One More Day, One More Night 5. What Do You Do 6. You 7. Rainy Days 8. Endless Tears 9. Rano je za tugu 10. Demons from the Past 11. I Still Feel You

Personnel: Dragana, vocals Daniel May, piano Benjamin May, bass Gary Gibbons, drums

Year Released: 2002 | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read "Light The Early Years 1975-1989" CD/LP/Track Review Light The Early Years 1975-1989
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2016
Read "Beginning of A Memory" CD/LP/Track Review Beginning of A Memory
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 15, 2016
Read "Life" CD/LP/Track Review Life
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Equal Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Equal Crossing
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Man Made Object" CD/LP/Track Review Man Made Object
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Find Your Wings" CD/LP/Track Review Find Your Wings
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!