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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


Published April 19, 2006


Terra Nostra


Fire and ice—ECM’s latest from Savina Yannatou and Dino Saluzzi couldn’t be more different in style and substance. The great Argentinean bandoneon player Saluzzi turns in another beautiful recording with Responsorium. Ensemble members Jose M. Saluzzi (acoustic guitar) and Palle Danielsson (double-bass) create a soft palette for the leader to draw from. The result is a jazzy-yet-mellow meditation of yearning and sadness. The successor to bandoneon master Astor Piazzolla, Saluzzi offers fluidity and space as he gives accompanists room to roam. You’ll appreciate the effort instantly; a week later, you’re simply astounded. Avant-garde vocalist Yannatou’s Terra Nostra is a musical map of eclectic folk tunes, including those of her native Greece. Yannatou is an ambitious musical programmer as her stellar ensemble (oud, kanoun, nay, tamboura) tackles earthy folk tunes from the Arab world, Italy and Asia Minor, among others in this 20-track offering. There is no doubt Yannatou is gifted vocally; however, as an album Terra Nostra curiously misses the mark as her interpretations come off sounding sanitized and polished. Like an opera singer feigning Bob Dylan, her fabulous voice seems out of place with music thriving on imperfection.