Sevda Alekperzadeh
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Sevda Alekperzadeh

Band World Jazz


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"A Flower in Boolm" - Network Medien 2005
"Worlds Of Love" - Network Medien 2009



Is that a husky blues tone we hear in this voice? Or a yearning lament reminiscent of Mugham? Or perhaps the ecstasy of the Arabic mawwal? The soft gliding intonation and the guttural, almost Celtic sounds cover an incredibly wide range. Yet Sevda Alekperzaheh’s singing is undoubtedly rooted in the tradition of Azerbaijan, albeit powered by a very modern laid-back force, charged with direct emotionality, and reaching a high level of carefully-conceived virtuosity. It is actually difficult to say what genre this music might belong to.

In the age-old debate about the extent to which music may bow to the zeitgeist, Sevda takes a clear position and pleads dedication to her art. She sings what she has to sing with determination, never stopping at any particular point and shattering out-dated notions. She weaves finely transparent ornamentations out of unimagined supple patterns, which she then lays over the sounds of her childhood.

Sevda made a name for herself in her home country in the 1990s with surprisingly innovative interpretations of folk songs. Since then, she has been refining the ingredients and recipes so as to create wonderful new delights. While some may believe that she has finally discovered the secret, she herself sees things differently, insisting that she has in no way arrived at any end point in her art. She is constantly extending her capacities and her knowledge, learning the traditional Mugham singing, exploring jazz, and mastering the special breathing technique of bel canto. Sevda effortlessly soaks up the experimental aspect of the Azeri music scene.

For centuries, the Azeri tradition has been integrating foreign influences, allowing itself to be enriched by new styles. In the early 20th century in particular, jazz, folklore and classical music there were also inspired by western tendencies. The renowned pianist Vagif Mustafazadeh stands for an imaginative and innovative intermingling of intense jazz melodies with the flexible modal structures of Azeri Mugham. Sevda Alekperzadeh keeps a close watch on his work. After Vagif Mustafazadeh and his daughter Aziza, clearly Sevda represents the third generation from this musical melting pot in the Land of Fire, Azerbaijan.

When this music resounds outside its cultural surroundings, it is not easy for listeners to distinguish which elements are part of the legacy of tradition, and which are added by the individual musician. The internationally-targeted CD Gul Achdi (A Flower in Bloom), which was addressed to the music lover keen on hearing the boundaries of the genres stretched, quickly drew the attention of European audiences to Sevda’s astonishing vocal capacities – which extend beyond “ethno” or “world music”. While that project was aimed at portraying Sevda’s wide range of expressive possibilities, these new recordings concentrate fully on the tension between the traditional and the modern, Mugham and jazz. A wild dance between the bright sky and the dark earth.