29th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 13-16 October, 2016

Tamara Obrovac Transhistria Ensemble

Croatia

Tamara Obrovac - voc, fl, composer
Uroš Rakovec - g, mandolin
Žiga Golob - db
Fausto Beccalossi - acc
Krunoslav Levačić – dr

Dynamic and melodious. Loud as much as gentle, warm and sophisticated. Not pathetic whatsoever. Occasionally ferocious but not aggressive. These tags describe the Croatian Transhistria Ensemble and its leader – vocalist, flutist and composer Tamara Obrovac. Their workmanship, attractive solo jaunts and a unique combination of jazz with the elements of Istrian and Mediterranean folk music and many elements of modern music make it unforgettable.

Tamara Obrovac is one of the most impressive Croatian musicians. According to Jazz Podium, she is one of the leading ethno-jazz singers in Europe. She has garnered 8 Porin Awards (Croatian national music award) for the best world music albums and the best female vocal performance.

In 2003, she received Zlatna Koogla Award given to the best Croatian female artist. In 2009, President of the Republic of Croatia awarded her with the Order medal Danica Croatia for contributions to culture.

Her music was acclaimed internationally: she was nominated for BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music and received the European Music and Audience Awards. Her music is admired internationally.

Obrovac also composes for theatre and film.

Where the magic of Obrovac music lies? The composer has created her own unique musical expression. She finds inspiration in musical and cultural heritage of her native Istria (a beautiful Croatian region, a North Adriatic peninsula). She writes lyrics in a local dialect and sings in an ancient dialect, which is not spoken any more – the Istriotic dialect. She blends the ethnographic and modern music elements with jazz improvisations in such a natural and spontaneous way, that one would never question her having it in the blood.

This creative musician has become known for her highly aesthetic performances; her interpretations are suffused with spontaneity, inventive improvisation, freedom and humour. Her voice is equally impressive when she sings lyrics and when she improvises thus turning itself into an additional instrument. Thanks to their experience and enviable musical skills, every member of Transhistria Ensemble is always ready for shifts and unexpected changes inspired by the atmosphere and by the mood of the moment.

The success of this merger is certainly due to Obrovac’s incredibly fine-tuned sense of the Istrian melody and dialect, combined with jazz craft, but also due the artistic expression of this group of top-ranking musicians, which does not rely on existing jazz clichés, but on their acute sense of intuition for each particular composition.

According to Jazzthing, Obrovac’s music embraces the Mediterranean treasures: the melancholy of Fado, the lightness of Tarantella and Croatian poetry combined with Faust Beccalossi’s accordion passion.

Transhistria Ensemble’s music is an intriguing crossroad of East and West, Mediterranean and Balkan plateaus.

These musicians were applauded in Morocco, Japan, the USA, Israel, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, etc.  

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