All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Mia Theodoratus: Misirlou

Florence Wetzel By

Sign in to view read count
This is an exciting time to be an artist. The digital revolution is providing new tools daily and, at the same time, old forms have not completely disappeared, allowing artists who are so inclined to mix and match as they please. Harpist Mia Theodoratus's EP, Misirlou, is an intriguing mixture of old and new. To record the two tracks, Theodoratus did it old school, foregoing Pro Tools and instead setting up microphones and playing straight through. The EP is available as a vinyl record album, with the cover photography done on real film and untouched by Photoshop—but for those whose turntable is collecting dust in the attic, the EP is also available for download.

The music reflects this sensibility as well. Theodoratus has taken two songs with long histories and created them afresh. Although best known as surf songs, each tune has a unique backstory. "Misirlou" (Greek for "Egyptian girl") was first performed in 1927 by a Greek rebetiko group. Arranged as a jazz tune in 1941, The Beach Boys recorded it for its classic Surfin' USA (Capitol) in 1962 and, in 1994, surf guitarist Dick Dale's version popped up on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack. "Apache," which was inspired by the 1954 Western of the same name, was first recorded by The Shadows and became popular with many instrumental groups, while The Incredible Bongo Band's 1973 version later became a staple sample for rappers and hip hop groups.

It's probably safe to say that no one has recorded these songs on harp, and the wonder is how well they translate. Theodoratus has created two pieces of uncommon beauty, full of grace and strength. Each tune is a cascading river of sound, with touches of dissonance that add intriguing accents. She is a powerful player, able to sing the strings with formidable energy, and yet she is able to drop back and display a sweet gentleness as well.

There's a reason these songs have been reinvented afresh by successive generations: the melodies are undeniably catchy, and in Theodoratus's talented hands, they become positively exquisite. In addition to providing lovely music, Theodoratus offers an example of how artists today can negotiate the new, without necessarily abandoning the old. It will be interesting to see what she does next.

Track Listing: Misirlou; Apache.

Personnel: Mia Theodoratus: harp.

Title: Misirlou | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles


Self Produced


Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Clareia" CD/LP/Track Review Clareia
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 9, 2018
Read "This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017
Read "Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 23, 2017
Read "Live at Kolarac" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Kolarac
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 18, 2017
Read "Mist. Moss. Home." CD/LP/Track Review Mist. Moss. Home.
by Jim Olin
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Unfamiliar Surroundings" CD/LP/Track Review Unfamiliar Surroundings
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 10, 2017