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Toka Incognita

Toka Incognita

Eda Zari

Label: Intuition
Format: CD
Barcode: 0750447343627
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Catalog number: INT 34362
Releasedate: 12-01-12
Toka Incognita is an impressive witness to a living "world music", which also is deserving of this name. It combines different cultures in music, which can otherwise be very different. This is something, which probably only a person can achieve who has experienced both as intensively as Eda Zari.  You should reserve superlatives for really extraordinary works. You may certainly use them for Toka Incognita.
  • Eda Zari, born and raised in Tirana, Albania, is today a star in world-jazz music - the only from her country
  • She toured the world, including performances in the U.S. (Blue Note NYC and more).
  • Her line-up is international, including Sting-guitarist Dominic Miller and Rhani Krija (percussionist, also Sting)
Great things can be created in art when diligence and effort meets passion and skill. In Toka Incognita (Toka = Albanian for Terra/world), all ingredients are combined to create something great: time for compositions: most of them are by Eda Zari; a sense for melodies and songwriting; solid knowledge of one's own music roots as well as openness to current trends; intelligent arrangements specifically for the hand-picked musicians for this project; and recordings without time pressure in an excellent studio with just as outstanding technicians.  The overriding feature encompassing the 12 songs is formed by Eda Zari's most important source of inspiration: the iso-polyphonic art of singing in her native home Albania as it is cultivated above all in the south till today. However, the special and unique feature is produced by Zari's adaptation of the material into her personal world of music, in which there is also a lot of room for jazz and other popular trends as well as for various rhythmic structures in addition to those typical for the Balkans. A world of music is created, which is probably "Toka Incognita" like the native country of the musicians. But that is precisely what makes this music so exciting and challenges our curiosity! Together with an excellently trained voice, which is never "oversophisticated" but instead full of individual charisma and a high degree of emotional intensity, Toka Incognita is an impressive witness to a living "world music", which also is deserving of this name. It combines different cultures in music, which can otherwise be very different. This is something, which probably only a person can achieve who has experienced both as intensively as Eda Zari. 
Born in Tirana, as a child Eda Zari experienced the last years of the paranoid dictator Enver Hodscha before she came as young woman to Germany. Music was already her passion when she was a child. "I sang long before I could speak," she disclosed. The foundation for her passion was laid early enough with that. Her studies in classical singing in Cologne refined her technique, but could not drown out her love of the music of her native country. However, she also discovered a new passion: jazz with all of its rhythmic and harmonic possibilities as well as its freedom of articulation and phrasing, the epitome of a lucky coincidence of a fine mixture. As a result, a few recordings were already made (e.g., "Statement", Intuition 2004), which received outstanding reviews and justified Eda Zari's reputation as the most important German-Albanian voice.  She has performed since then in places ranging from New York (Blue Note, among others) to Sao Paolo, from Cologne (Philharmonic) to Algeria, and from Cyprus to France. And of course time and again in her native city of Tirana. She has performed on the stage with numerous international stars, and she still has contacts today with members of Sting's band. Dominic Miller, guitarist from Sting, among others, can be heard on the acoustic guitar on three songs, and the percussionist from Sting, Rhani Krija, can even be heard on all pieces. Gert Kapo plays piano and also contributed his own compositions and arrangements as well as acting as co-producer. No one less than Sebastian Studnitzky, the "sound esthete" (FAZ), plays trumpet, who created a sensation with his own band, but also alongside of Nils Landgren, among others, and in "Jazzanova". The contrabass is played by the whiz kid of German bass players, Martin Gjakonowski, which he handles in his usual manner: with composure, precisely and a lot of sensitivity.  The Siberian player of many instruments Vladiswar Nadishana adds the unusual sounds of bansuri flute, futujara, dzuddahord and a few others. Hayden Chisholm (saxophone) can also be heard on one piece, and Fatmir Ilamaj (clarinet), Jochen Vogel (harp), Mark Joggerst (piano), Marc Oberländer (guitar) and Ahmed Eid (bass) enhance the sound worlds on other pieces. Finally, you also hear a good string quartet in three songs.