Release: May 12, 2023
At the age of two, Bosnian-Slovenian vocalist Mirna Bogdanović had already faced more hardship than most, forced to flee her country with her parents at the hand of war. Now firmly established on the Berlin scene, she’s made a name for herself as an emotive songwriter, award-winning vocalist and performer. Her introspective sophomore album ‘Awake’, is set to release May 12th on Berthold Records.
Produced by celebrated London multi-instrumentalist/producer Chris Hyson (Snowpoet), the album follows on from her 2020 debut which won Deutscher Jazzpreis’s “Debut Album of the Year”.
The sound is rich, varied and modern. Layers of vocal harmonies, synth textures, and effects are woven into the already-complex sound of her expanded ensemble.
The regular line up of Peter Meyer (guitar), Povel Widestrand (piano), Felix Henkelhausen (bass) and Philip Dornbusch (drums), are expanded to feature guests Asger Nissen (saxophone), Paul Santner (ukulele) and the Rothko String Quartet.
This rich palette of colours is perhaps best explained by Bogdanovic’s musical upbringing. Raised with her father’s taste in Balkan rock, she played classical piano as a child and student, before diving deep into the world of jazz. Studies with the likes of Kurt Rosenwinkel, Greg Cohon and Judy Niemack at the Jazz Institute of Berlin proved an important stepping stone, and saw her receive the ‘Downbeat Student Award’ for outstanding performance.
Having split up with her partner in 2019, the melancholic, poetic lyrics in ‘Awake’ deal with the complex sea of emotions Bogdanović has since had to navigate. ‘Clocks’ deals with her sense of existential crisis, and the feeling that time is passing her by. ‘Moving on’ looks back at the relationship, hurting and feeling the sadness, but slowly letting go. May, an instrumental written during her favourite month, has musical references to her time as a classical pianist.
“I was playing a lot of Debussy and Chopin. The piece is dissonant but with a pretty sounding harmony. Debussy creeps in though not intentionally.”
Meticulously composed and arranged, Bogdanović’s compositions bridge the gap between contemporary jazz and art-pop, providing nuanced complexity, energetic improvisation and exemplary musicianship within song-like structures. With her powerful voice and songwriting in the spotlight, each piece draws the listener into an immersive world of Mirna’s innermost thoughts and feelings, working through them together until the euphoric release of the final track, ‘Finding Closure’.
Mirna Bogdanović | Voice, kalimba
Povel Widestrand | Keyboards
Peter Meyer | Guitar, efx
Felix Henkelhausen | Bass
Philip Dornbusch | Drums, percussion
Paul Santner | Ukulele
Asger Uttrup Nissen | Alto saxophone
Rothko String Quartet
Wish I Didn’t Miss You
On My Own
Dancing in The Dark
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