All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

240

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

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Misirlou

Misirlou

Self Produced
2011

buy

Related Articles

Read Murals CD/LP/Track Review
Murals
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Language CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Language
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley CD/LP/Track Review
Jubilation! Celebrating Cannonball Adderley
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Earth CD/LP/Track Review
Earth
by Chris May
Published: May 20, 2018
Read Vegir CD/LP/Track Review
Vegir
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 19, 2018
Read "Scratches Of Spain" CD/LP/Track Review Scratches Of Spain
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 9, 2017
Read "From Outer Space" CD/LP/Track Review From Outer Space
by Thad Aerts
Published: March 11, 2018
Read "Solo Violin" CD/LP/Track Review Solo Violin
by Ian Patterson
Published: May 18, 2018
Read "Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the Art Zoyd Box Set" CD/LP/Track Review Art Zoyd - 44 1⁄2 At A Glance: Selections from the...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2018
Read "Italy 2016" CD/LP/Track Review Italy 2016
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2017