And this is precisely what is at stake in Vesna Pisarović’s Songbook. For this “songbook”, as its title already ironically announces, is a translation of songs from the past of Yugoslavia and not their repetitive memory. This difference is essential. Artworks of the past are not simply given, left as they are in the moment of their nascence to future generations in order that these could consume in permanence. Quite the contrary, in order to be able to persist at all, artworks necessitate a labour of translation, their constant creative transformation
A upravo je o tome riječ u Pjesmarici Vesne Pisarović. Ona je prijevod songova iz prošlosti Jugoslavije, a ne repetitivno sjećanje na njih. Razlika je ključna. Umjetnička djela prošlosti nisu naprosto dana, ostavljena takva kakva su bila u trenutku svoga nastanka budućim generacijama na permanento konzumiranje. Naprotiv, da bi uopće opstala, nužan je rad prevođenja, odnosno njihova konstantna kreativna transformacija.
The Great Yugoslav Songbook is an ironic exploration of the heritage of Yugoslav popular music from the 1950s and 1960s. Big-band style ballads and Eurovision hits, French chansons and Italian Schlagers in covers, catchy twist melodies and experimental rock tunes, alongside the Latin rhythms of the Mediterranean – this project gathers all while submitting them to a patent procedure of deconstruction: by stripping apart, twisting and manipulating, and reassembling in an peculiar musical montage. In this sense, instead of alonging for the old, what we find here is an entirely creative take on the past. Vesna Pisarović and her distinctive voice, as well as an ensemble list of musical partners, such as Greg Cohen, Tony Buck and Chris Abrahams, dieb13, as well Francesco Bigoni and Gerhard Gschlößl, effectively bring to life a collection of impracticable “standards” – which do not exactly amount topopular music – but are rather an imaginative vehicle for jazz improvisation and experimentation: for an interplay between form and the informal, between the melodious and the discordant, between the authentic and the hybrid.
Vesna Pisarović was immersed in music from an early age: through formal education in flute, through youthful experiments in punk-rock, through a rigorous study of vocal techniques, and, even more distantly, through a degree in phonetics and linguistics at the University of Zagreb. And yet her route to jazz and improvised music seems quite circuitous. At the age of twenty, Vesna embarked on a path of stardom in the popular music industry in Croatia, releasing five commercial albums which reached golden or platinum sales, performing uncountable concerts, appearing in numerous live broadcasts. Vesna even competed at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2002. However, an encounter with the music of the free jazz artist Peter Brötzmann in a Berlin club would turn this experience around. Enchanted by such intensity and expressive freedom, Vesna decided to devote herself to the study of jazz, enrolling at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague and earning a Master’s degree in musical performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 2012 she released her debut jazz album With Suspicious Minds for the well-known German label Jazzwerkstatt. She currently resides in Berlin where she performs with many renowned musicians such as Greg Cohen, Tony Buck, Chris Abrahams, Zeno de Rossi, Chris Dahlgren, John Betsch, Gerhard Gschlößl, Steve Heather, Clayton Thomas, Dieb 13, Martin Sasse, Frederick Köster, Francesco Bigoni and many others.
a native of Los Angeles and a resident of Berlin, and one of the most distinctive voices on bass in jazz in the last three decades, he has amassed a almost interminable list of musical collaborators, including John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Dave Douglas, but also Lou Reed, Tom Waits and Laurie Anderson, as well as the Rolling Stones. While teaching at the Jazz Institute Berlin, he has also composed for the Lincoln Center Theater, among others, and collaborated on film music for “Ed Wood” and “Fried Green Tomatoes”.
one of Australia’s most creative and adventurous drummers, he has been involved in projects in a diversity of genres, crossing the boundaries between jazz, electronic and improvised music: from The Necks, to the Peril, and through his numerous collaborations with artists such as John Zorn, Tom Cora, Phil Minton, Keiji Haino,The EX, Peter Brotzmann, Roy Chowdury, Clifford Jordan, Han Bennink, Shelley Hirsch, Wayne Horvitz, and many others.
a native of New Zealand but a mainstay of the Sydney jazz scene, as well as indie rock scene. One of the founding members of The Necks, he has collaborated withmany contemporary improvising musicians at both the Australian and European scenes, including Burkhard Beins, Mike Cooper, Tobias Delius, Alessandro Bossetti. He has composed and arranged music for the film “The Tender Hook”, nominated for the “Best Original Music Score” at the AFI awards.
born in Ferrara, Italy, he is one of prodigious products of Italian experimental jazzscene, sharing the stage with the likes of Enrico Rava, Stefano Battaglia, Gianluca Petrella and Greg Cohen. Experimenting with strategies of collective production since 2005, he is a member of the El Gallo Rojo collective. He is currently based in Copenhagen.
Dieb13 a.k.a. Dieter Kovačič
a native of Vienna, he has been attempting, since the late 80’s, to render cassette players, vinyls, cd’s and harddisks into instruments. He collaborated with Matts Gustafson and Ken Vandermark, Paul Lovens, Burkhard Stangl, eriM, John Butcherand many others.
one of the most intriguing voices of the Berlin’s jazz and avant-garde scene, he performed and recorded with numerous artists such as Albert Mangelsldorff, Sam Rivers, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Barre Phillips, Aki Takase, Karl Berger and many others.
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