"Savina Yannatou has an indescribable soprano voice which captures the sounds and emotions of the Meditarranean people whether Italian, Greek, French (Corsica), Hebrew or Turkish (I may have missed a country or two present on the CD). The wedding song from the Greek island of Kalymnos and the Turkish "aman" song are my favorites. All the songs are so beautifully sung, it is hard to say that one is better than another ... I have heard these two songs before and am familiar with how they should sound: her singing is traditonal with a tenderness and sincerity that is a uniquely her own. Savina's voice is ethereal and "other worldly" - totally living up to her name, after a saint from the Meditarranean, Italy, I think.
I first heard Savina Yannatou on Mondo Greece and knew I must have one of her CDs. I discovered this one and was compelled to buy it. It is filled with the music of Primavera de Salonika, playing kanun, santouri, lyra, and other authentic intstruments that complement Savina's voice. Her voice is beyond description ... totally captivating, exceptional, without comparison. Listen and be amazed - then buy the CD!!! Erika Borsos (erikab93)"
Gecmis Guzel Gunleri is actually Armenian
Erika Borsos | 09/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My professional background is in ethnomusicology. I am not Greek, Turkish or Armenia so I have no axe to grind. One reviewer below, apparently of Turkish background, seems to take offense that Gecmis Guzel Gunleri is not listed as "Turkish Traditional." there is a simple reason for that, it isn't orignially a Turkish song. It is a well known Armenian song, with the same melody for hundred of years. Indeed this rendition is in Turkish, but to call it "Turkish traditional" would be innacurate.
Inded it belongs to, adn illustrates, a whole body of non Turkish music from Turkey which actually speaks to the ethnic cleansing that occured the in the 1900-1920's period.
Few people in today's Turkey, which has been purged of knowledge of the roots of its own tradional music, are aware of the multiethnic roots of its music. It was for years criminal to even suggest that many songs were orignially Greek, Kurdish or Armenian.
So I am glad that my Turkish friend likes the Armenian ballad Gecmis Guzel Gunleri ("The Beautiful Past Days") and am only sorry that he never heard the original recordings by an long dead artist now know in Turkey as Udi Hrant, but whose non stage name was Udi Hrant Kenkulian. His family was murdered in the Turkish Genocide against the Armenians, which makes his song more ever poignant - as the title suggests.."
Comment on "Gemēis Güzel Günerli" and more
escn | USA | 05/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, this is the best Savina Yannatou CD I've heard to date -- her voice is in terrific form here. (Though you'll get to hear a lot more of the band on her latest release, Sumiglia.)
Second, track 11 ("Gemçis Güzel Günerli") *is* a Turkish song, written by an Aremenian citizen of Turkey, Hrant Kenkulian, or "Udi Hrant," as he's often known -- this is mentioned in the liner notes to Mediterranea. ("Udi" is an honorific prefix meaning that he was a master player of the ud, a Middle Eastern lute.) If you're interested in exploring his music further, there are several recordings of his work (voice, ud, and violin) on the Traditional Crossroads label. (Type "Udi Hrant" into the search engine on this site and you'll find the CDs very easily.)
Turkey was -- and still is -- an ethnically mixed country, which is a legacy of the Ottoman Empire. There were Armenian Turkish composers and musicians at the courts of the Ottoman sultans, and there were those who also excelled at light classical and popular song. Hrant Kenkulian was a master of classical and popular music -- if you explore further, you'll find out that he's one of many 20th-century Armenians who were involved in the development of Turkish music.
Yannatou is an inheritor of Turkish tradition, too. Modern Greece was occupied by the Ottomans for many centuries, and there is a very strong Turkish tinge to much of the Greek music she performs. (And vice versa, as she performs Pontic Greek music from the Black Sea coast of Turkey; also songs from Smyrna -- now called Izmir -- on Turkey's western coast.)
What I love most about her work is her peerless way with all of the songs she chooses. Many people have tried to come up with pan-Mediterranean discs, but Yannatou is one of a handful of people who has succeeded at it."
Maxim | New York, NY USA | 07/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I listen and search for, what I imagine to be, "authentic" music from the whole Medditeranean area. This CD is truly excellent: A beautiful woman with a beautiful voice singing beautiful songs. I am in love!"
Admirable...a holiday (in its original meaning) for...
xenia | NY | 11/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"the senses and the intellect alike. Once again, I realized how rare and precious good music is... turning away from PJ Harvey, Bjoerk and U2, I ran into this treasure. Savina Yannatou sings not only in Greek, but also in Turkish, Arabic, Ladino, Spanish, Sardinian, Corsican, Provancal, Hebrew, Albanian and Syriac! Her voice is pristine and almost too beautiful. The last song is particularly interesting, being a mixture of a Thracian mourning song for the lost Constantinople and a North African love song in Arabic. Its innovative spirit reminds me of Enrique Morente's version of a poem by San Juan de la Cruz (embellished with Le mystere des voix Bulgares). The only criticism I dare to voice: as a former Yugoslav, I wish a Bosnian or a Dalmatian song had been included instead of only mentioned within the introduction."