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   Fjoralba Turku Quartet: Joshua: Presscuts

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Release Date: 29.01.2010
EAN/UPC: 705304453322
TT Catalogue No: 4533
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  • "One usually writes about a singer who has just brought out her first album that she holds a promise of things to come. Fjoralba Turku has already fulfilled that promise. It could well be that this young Albanian is the real discovery among those jazz singers who have begun to make a name for themselves in 2010. This petite woman is in her mid-twenties, but looks even younger; on first seeing her one might assume that she would have a likewise graceful if not downright fragile voice. But as soon as her voice rings out, she delivers one of those “aha” moments, something the listener is absolutely not prepared for. Yes, this voice is perfectly suited for the gossamer fairy-like subtlety that we had actually expected. Even the name Fjoralba Turku conjures up something delicate and ethereal. It could be the botanical name of some exotic flower from the Near East that blossoms slender-supple at dawn’s first light. But her voice is anything but weak or thin – her sound is delightfully sweet, soft, warm, and unexpectedly deep. Her art is that of the fire that is tamed – that gives out a pleasurable warmth but doesn’t burn. It is a fire as sensuous as motherly love (the song “Joshua” is for her son), a fire without fever or all-engulfing flames. Energy and maturity is tucked into the singing of this girlish-looking phenomenon – there is an intensity that has nothing to do with volume. Indeed, one always has the feeling that she could “turn it all the way up” if she really wanted to. She doesn’t exhibit all of her temperament; it works in the background as an inexhaustible reservoir of strength. She controls and concentrates it, uses it specifically to build up the drama in the songs’ interpretations. She proceeds discreetly, understanding that less is sometimes more. And what a debut! A vocalist – and this really should not be kept secret – with the band “Tabla & Strings” recording alongside the unforgettable Charlie Mariano. This exceptional talent was almost lost to the theater arts. Fjoralba comes from a musical family. Her father and brother are violinists, and so was she – and this influenced her singing style. “When I sing I always think how I would articulate it on the instrument. I sing, so to say, like a violin.” On her album she sings pieces written by two treasured jazz giants; one is Charles Mingus’ brilliant “Eclipse” which her quartet underpins with a completely new rhythm. Two pieces have to do with pianist Mal Waldron: his lyrical gem “Seaguls of Kristiansund, and “Ode to Mal”, composed by Brazilian bassist Paulo Cardoso, who often worked with Waldron. Cardoso is Turku’s partner in life, and is heard here in duo with Fyoralba. On the other pieces, Andrea Hermenau (piano), Benjamin Schäfer (bass) and Johannes Jahn (drums) make the group a real quartet, not just a singer with a back-up trio. The Jazz standards (under which “Estate”, a summer elegy from the pen of Bruno Martino, can be categorized – of all the Italian song writers, Martino would have the most success in jazz) are contrasted by three rather animated, rhythmically intricate songs from Turku’s Albanian homeland. They balance out the occasional melancholy of, for example, Nick Drake’s “Riverman”. Why would an Albanian jazz singer put a song that has so little to do with jazz in her repertoire? It would be easier to answer the question why Albanian singers are so polyglot. Albanian is one of the phonetically richest languages in the world. The language abounds with foreign vowel and consonant equivalents. This is a godsend for someone with such impeccable diction as Fjoralba Turku. By the way, you don’t have to understand the words of the Albanian songs. Fjoralba could sing newspaper ads and sales slips backwards and forwards and still move and delight us."
    hifistatement.net, Marcus A. Woelfle, 11.11.2010


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