Release: April 14, 2023
Based in Basel with Japanese-Polish roots, acclaimed Swiss singer, composer and producer Yumi Ito is no stranger to travelling.
Her latest offering, Ysla, takes its name from the Old Portuguese for “island” and invites the listener on a journey across both a metaphorical ocean and a stylistic vista which takes in jazz, art-pop and neo-classical music.
Mixing an intricate jazz technique with hints of great singer-songwriters including Bjork and Joni Mitchell, ‘Ysla’ deals with the themes of loneliness & separation, the world ending, and rebirth, linked with metaphors from nature, psychology, and sociology, as well as current contemporary history.
The seven original compositions are closely connected to Yumi Ito’s personhood and tell of her path of reflection and self-discovery. In this process, Ito has also developed her vocal improvisation into a “universal” language that can be understood anywhere.
“In recent years, I’ve worked on new music in Iceland, Galicia (Cies) and Greece (Milos), which – like my father’s country of origin, Japan – are all islands. Travelling there has generated distance and time to get to know myself better.”
Seamlessly bridging the gap between student at Switzerland’s prestigious Jazz Campus and vocal professor at one of the country’s leading music schools, Yumi has already worked with a host of modern greats (Mark Turner, Al Jarreau, Becca Stevens) and in constellations from solo through to full orchestra.
For this trip, she retains long-time colleagues (and key features of the Yumi Ito Orchestra) in Kuba Dworak (double bass) and Iago Fernández (drums), alongside Chris Hyson (synths) and Szymon Mika (guitar). Here, for the first time, she recorded all the piano parts herself, with the complex keyboard patterns that ring out under layers of vocals, conjuring an other-worldly feel.
Effortlessly, the group manoeuvres through a veritable genre ocean of ambient sounds, mystical grooves, and soulful songs. The sound of the core trio is extended into an immersive world of delicately plucked guitars, rich synth timbres, cello layers and modern production with a pop sensibility.
With increasingly mature musicianship, and a deep sense of storytelling in the spotlight, Ito’s music is honest and full of heart; it possesses the capacity to connect with anyone who will listen.
Yumi Ito | Vocals, Piano, Composition, Lyrics
Kuba Dworak| Double Bass
Iago Fernández | Drums
Is It You
Love Is Here To Stay
After The End
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