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Kuljanic, Astrid Transatlantic Exploration Company: Riva

Here's something a little different from Croatian born singer Astrid Kuljanic and her new project billed as the Transatlantic Exploration Company titled Riva. The disc combines Balkan folk music and jazz and is quite a unique exploration of the genre. Kuljanic recorded her first album as a band leader in 2013 titled Manhattan Dream of Music. She has also released another album this year with the Asaran Earth Trio called Foreign Lander. The artist is certainly keeping herself busy. Ok, on to the music.

What really stands out to me is Kuljanic's somewhat unique voice, a little sultry with a traditional Croatian feel and the use of accordion as a main instrument. The band members diverse musical backgrounds plays a large part in what you will hear. The band's name is quite accurate in that regard.

Snappy percussion is a major element in the album opening "Oj Vi Mlade", a mixture of jazz, Caribbean grooves and Eastern folk music. The melody is uplifting with pseudo reggae rhythms led by accordion. "Show Me" is more in line with traditional jazz with Kuljanic's jazzy vocals and an excellent accordion solo being highlights. It's only vocals and bass on a rendition of Charles Mingus' "Portrait" making for a uniquely different sound in a more ethereal vein but still very much jazz. The vocals are slow and thoughtful respecting Mingus' genius arrangement. Another classic standard is covered in the form of Dizzy Gillespies' "A Night In Tunisia" featuring urgent accordion and vocals which are quite possibly her strongest on the disc. The drum work is also noteworthy. The album ending "The Very Thought Of You" is much more dreamlike and ethereal including Kuljanic's intoxicating jazz vocals.

For an eclectic take on the jazz genre Riva should fit the bill quite nicely. For more information click on the link below.

Track Listing:
1. Oj Vi Mlade (3:25)
2. Show Me (3:30)
3. Portrait (3:12)
4. Kamo Je Fini Ov Dan (5:28)
5. Upa Neguino (4:55)
6. Divojcice Rozice (2:56)
7. Wild Is The Wind (6:15)
8. A Night In Tunisia (5:25)
9. Bonus Track: The Very Thought Of You (4:55)

Added: November 9th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1612
Language: english

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