2012: Azra Sings, LLC
Azra on Vocals
Petar Teodosijev on Accordion
Valerie Brown on Background Vocals and Percussion
Vincent Chavez on Flamenco Guitar
Meg York on Clarinet
Ivan Dojĉev on Tapan and Pipe
Boris Kaplanskiy on Piano
Michael Ginsburg on Trumpet Solo
“Zlatne Uste” on Balkan Brass Orchestra
James Hoskins on Cello
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 29, 2013
This CD, dedicated to refugees worldwide, is performed by Azra, as an homage to the country of Yugoslavia, which no longer exists. The songs are rooted in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Russia. The musical instruments played by her expansive ensemble are exotic and ethnic, such as Flamenco guitar, tapan (a regional folk drum), and pipe. Azra happens to have an exquisite voice, which matches the intoxicating tones of her thirteen tracks. This is truly music that the listener will keep next to the stereo and download to all media. This CD is among the best I’ve heard in this genre.
#2 – Koliko Je Prijedor Polje – Composed in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This song is a cross between a lullaby and a serenade, sung in languid silkiness, with her overlapping refrains. The featured instrument is the accordion, played with elongated and fluid eloquence. The song is performed with serenity and surreal tonal imagery.
#3 – Vehni, Vehni, Fijolica – Composed in Croatia. Azra harmonizes with Valerie Brown, on background vocals. The effect is that of choral, surreal, mezzo tones, only in ethnically imbued rhythms and undulations. The featured instruments are secondary, seeming to be accordion and stringed instrument.
#7 – Otvori Mi, Belo Lence – Composed in Serbia. The musical motif of this track with the Balkan Brass Orchestra and its percussion is one of a street marching band or wedding dance. Its lively, swirling refrains are inviting and intriguing, beckoning the listener to absorb its ambient aura.
#11 – Ochi Chyornie – Composed in Russia. I was wishing my Ukrainian grandmother could have heard this song, as Azra sang it with such reverence and resonance. The piano and accordion accompaniment, and it seemed a bit of clarinet, were spellbinding to hear, with Azra’s clear vocals exuding compelling dance rhythms.