Title - 'Dallėndyshe' [ECM]
Artist - Elina Duni Quartet
For those not knowing, the delightful, the uber-talented Elina Duni is a Swiss-Albanian jazz singer and composer who left Albania at the age of ten. She went on to study classical music and jazz in Switzerland, but after 2004 Albanian folk music became a prime influence.
From then on the Tirana-born and Swiss-raised singer has become an exceptional musical storyteller, embodying the songs narratives in a way that transcends genre definitions and language limitations.
On the brand new Dallėndyshe (The Swallow), her second ECM album, Elina Duni sings songs of love and exile. The troubled history of the Balkan regions has inspired many such songs and the pieces here, primarily from Albanian traditional sources, are interpreted with intensity and insight by Elina and her band.
This time there is a sense of lightness to the feeling and energy of the album, says Duni. Even though we are dealing with tragic themes of exile it is not as dark as Matane Malit [Dunis ECM debut]. In its sense of drive, Dallėndyshe opens up a different groove, a different momentum. It's become more rhythmic. Sometimes its almost a trance-like propulsion.
Her choice of quartet mates also connects her music to the greater jazz continuum. Pianist Colin Vallon and drummer Norbert Pfammatter have been with Duni since her 2008 debut, Baresha (Meta), while bassist Patrice Moret-also a member of Vallon's trio, which released its own ECM debut, Rruga, in 2011-is the quartet's newest member.
In truth, Dallėndyshe is stunning, a true musical masterpiece. Recorded in July of 2014 at Studios La Buissonne in Pernes-les-Fontaines in the South of France, and produced by Manfred Eicher, the abum also nods to the Albanian diaspora. Indeed, the last two songs on the album, 'Ti ri ti ti klarinatė' and the title track itself, are, respectively, from the Arvanitas and Arberesh communities of Greece and Italy.