Album reviews

CD "Canto amoroso" album recension Die Presse.com (AT)

On the album "Canto Amoroso" Tamara Obrovac entices with her passionate vocal. With her dark, raspy voice the Croatian singer and flutist Tamara Obrovac orbits the eternal themes between love and death.
 On the album "Canto Amoroso" Obrovac, who largely self-invents her deeply melancholic melodies, entices with her passionate vocal, which closely reminds of the emotinally strucking Portuguese fado.
The splendid Transhistria Ensemble delicately magnifies these poetic songs of strange bareness with mandolin, accordion, bass and percussion.
Some texts are translated and can be followed, but it is much more beautiful to simply listen to the magic of this vocal. (Alessa)

Samir H. Köck (The press - Schaufenster), Die Presse, May 2016

CD "Canto amoroso" album recension

"Some music is just beautiful. Tamara Obrovac's unique jazz certainly is.

Anastazija Vrzina, perun.hr , September 2015

ULIKA revival CD review / All About Jazz "

The revival is a great success, a masterly collection of strikingly affecting songs. Obrovac sings in an Istrian dialect, with a style that draws on Istrian folk heritage as well as on contemporary jazz: the result is a powerfully emotive vocal that draws the listener in to the moods and images of the songs whether or not they share Obrovac's understanding of the words (helpfully, an English translation is provided in the liner notes)."

All About Jazz, Bruce Lindsay, July 2014.

ULIKA revival CD review / Jazzthetik (DE)

For many, Croatian singer Tamara Obrovac is still "a new voice," even though "Ulika revival" is her ninth record - and what a record it is! One of exceptionally creative and picturesque sound. With her quartet, the Istrian singer - with 12 songs she has written herself - evokes charming and colourful sounds that blend both the dialects and melodies of Croatian music with contemporary jazz. In every single moment of listening to the record it is wonderfully evident how these different influences blend into quite exciting and playful pieces of music. Excellent!

Jazzthetik, 2014, Germany

ULIKA revival CD review / Jazz Podium (DE)

Tamara Obrovac is quietly and secretly grown into one of Europe's greatest ethnic jazz singers and stands at par with for example Savine Yannatou or Elina Duni. On her new album Croatian singer connects aesthetics of jazz with seemingly oriental music of her homeland Istria. Basically melancholic, her music simultaneously impresses with inner strength and passion that brings with it the story of the mentality of an entire region.

Volker Doberstein, Jazz Podium, 2014., Germany

ULIKA revival CD review / Concerto (AT)

On light-footed rhythmic base carried by Ziga Golob on bass and Kruno Levačić on drums, Obrovac can impressively demonstrate her interpretations conveyed by warm colors of Istrian language. Her text interpretations and eloquent singing blend with her very specific jazz-scat in native idiom through her own concept of storytelling and intense recollection of personal experiences which touches the hearts of her listeners - one successful revival that even after fifteen years can convey timeless "spirit" of these works.

tHo, Concerto magazine, 2014, Austria

ULIKA revival CD review / Jazzthing (DE)

"Ulika" was once (and still is) a homage to her grandmother - the unrefined beauty of this debut has become outdone with "Revival," because the four musicians approach the style, the spaciousness and the Mediterranean melancholy with far more heart than they had done."

Uli Lemke, Jazzthing 2014, Germany

ULIKA revival CD review / KulturSPIEGEL (DE)

"Obrovac brings a tremendous sense of improvisation and rhythmic tension, and her album is among the best in the so-called Euro-Jazz."

Hans Hielcsher, KulturSPIEGEL 2014, Germany

ULIKA revival CD review / Kulturtipp (CH)

"Exotic from the heart of Europe

In her compositions, jazz singer and flutist Tamara Obrovac connects exotic, seemingly unrelated musical forms and rhythms of Istria - an intangible cultural heritage according to UNESCO. Her balladesque chamber jazz gains with it a Mediterranean vitality, a dash of the Orient, and at times it even starts dancing. Tamara Obrovac has dedicated her ninth album to her grandmother, Ulika - and has enriched the live European World-jazz movement with an additional musical contribution."

Frank von Niederhäusern, Kulturtipp 2014, Switzerland

ULIKA revival CD review / Stereoplay (DE)

Tamara Obrovac quite charmingly offers musical gourmets a rich array of tastes. Her singing, often merely a masterful play of syllables, is accompanied by harmonic and rhythmical additions, as well as with sensuous contributions of her helpers Matija Dedić (piano), Žiga Golob (bass) and Krunoslav Levačić (drums). From the Artesuono Studio in Udine, where this album was powerfully and ethereally recorded, a Mediterranean blues-folk-chamber jazz emerged that wins over its listeners with its charm.

MI, Steroplay 2014, Germany

ULIKA revival CD review / Jazz'nmore (CH)

From the synthesis of the elements of the old Istrian music and contemporary musical currents, folk, rock and jazz something new is being created. Obrovac explores the freedom of performance characteristic for jazz which allows her to live her fascinating individuality. With her voice, which is characterized by her distinctive vibrato, she manages to skillfully reach vocal ranges from a full alto to a high soprano. The band in the background that actively accompanies her also has its own qualities, which certainly should not be hidden and it proves this in the solo parts.

Reiner Kobbe, August 2014.

ULIKA revival CD review / Ravno do dna (HR)

Return to Tamara's roots ...a musical piece in the form of an outstanding, intimate jazz concert with maximally concentrated musicians... Here documented music of TO Quartet attracts attention not by attacking and aggression, but by inviting one to listen, to (almost) participate in the unfathomable, elusive, and yet so intense and powerful magic of the true art.

Janko Heidl , July 30th 2014.

Rated 9 out of 10 ULIKA revival CD review / Rolling stone (HR)

"When jazz combines with ethno music and Istria with the world

New versions offer a completely new world of songs with which Tamara has presented herself to Istria, Croatia and the world. With her strong and at the same time gentle voice it seems as though Tamara Obrovac has been waiting to tell the Istrian scale to a new audience, exactly 15 years after the first Ulika, with exactly these associates and exactly in this way. Their synergy is so strong that it simply draws you into this world which Tamara has created when she first appeared on the scene. At times somewhat heavy and harsh sound of their compositions is dissipated by the positive energy with which she radiates in almost every verse, every note, every word. Although "Ulika" was a kind of a catapult in Tamara Obrovac's career, "Ulika revival" is a gilded version of her career which might open her all the doors to jazz festivals and awards around the world which have, until now and for some unjustified reason, bypassed her."

Dubravko Jagatić Rolling Stone No.10, July 20

ULIKA revival CD review / Cantus (HR)

"An explosion of creativity dedicated to her Grandmother

Tamara Obrovac's imagination has no end, and since she is musically so well-grounded she can fully relax and give in to the current situation. ...the compositions are the same as on the CD "Ulika" from 1998, but the performance is different; namely, during series of concert performances her music has evolved... different versions of the same song arise and each is so special that it, by itself, is a new piece of music. Jazz is just one of the stylistic features of her work. It is primarily based on her personal vision of her istrian musical tradition – the culture, the language, the customs, which she observes, studies and uses as inspiration to create distinctive and unique art. Her music cannot be classified in any existing genre, its continuous flow and development cannot be stopped or even caught; an occasional segment can merely conjure up a fraction, a moment which is documented on the album. In order to fathom the essence of Tamara Obrovac's music, it is not enough to just listen to her albums, one should listen her perform on concerts, on a series of concerts actually, because each one is different and exciting in its own way. She writes her songs wisely, not just as a modern vision of the Istrian tradition, but as incentive templates for improvisation, which provide an escape from the standard form, the possibility to play with it, to deconstruct it and, finally, to get back to its sanctuary. Besides being beautiful and impressive melodies, her compositions provide a refuge, they are the starting and finishing points between which everything is allowed as long as it is esthetically justified."

Davor Hrvoj, July 2014.

CD "MADIROSA" Transhistria ensemble /epoque quartet AQUARIUS RECORDS 2011. "

Musical Document from Eternity of Universe"

The songs on this album are complex, but in Tamara's interpretation they seem a piece of cake – they sound flippant, dancing, as if that very combination of words and music was recorded in the eternity of the universe, just waiting for someone to translate it into the language of us mere mortals. Although the music on Tamara's seventh album will thrill you right from the very first hearing, its true value, like the value of the most valuable achievements of the world art, will be disclosed only when you hear it again and again, and you will simply keep listening to it time after time because every new listening will reveal some new filigree details, new sounds, new discreet interactions, new emotions, new refinement, new charm... In the interpretations included in this album, Tamara artlessly and logically unites a serious approach and joke, tradition and modernity, classical music and ethno, formal demands and freedom, melody and improvisation, regional and middle-European. Her music is unique, but also universal, close to a man who is plowing the red Istrian soil, but also to every human being who feels the beauty of the fruits yielded by the soil of any color.

Davor Hrvoj 06.2011.

CD "MADIROSA" Transhistria ensemble /epoque quartet

"Challenges never end"
With Tamara Obrovac, one is never bored. After all musical surprises and changes, this tireless artist with fascinating creative tempo and even more fascinating creative collaborations and results has now offered us an album decisively marked by the sound and atmosphere of a string quartet.?Classical music has thus officially entered into the world of Tamara's music in this undoubtedly most complex and most ambitious album, entitled Madirosa, from which an attentive listener will get a myriad of different amazing details. Mix Epoque String Quartet's excellent sense of dramatic with Transhistria Ensemble's subtle improvisations, add the singer with striking emotiveness and even more amazing expressiveness, and you get Madirosa: the album which demands a lot, but gives even more, and most of all shows that the creativity of Tamara Obrovac and her five-man squad has no limits."

Pavle Vukšić muzika.hr 29.06.2011.

CD "MADIROSA" Transhistria ensemble /epoque quartet

"Healing, intimate sailing of Tamara Obrovac through the Mediterranean and its historical multiculturality

On her eighth album entitled Madirosa, Tamara and her multiethnic Transhistria Ensemble supported by the Czech string quartet Epoque, give shape to the primeval spirit of the Mediterranean as the cradle of European culture. In Tamara's Mediterranean spirit, culture and world, there is space not only for blending of jazz and Istrian ethno to which we are accustomed in her distinctive artistic style, but also for numerous other influences, from those Italian and Portuguese to those Spanish and Arabic, and for a series of musical epochs, from renaissance and baroque to post-modern crossovers of jazz and classical music and that which we clumsily refer to as world music In each of the ten elegant songs recorded on Madirosa, Tamara sounds traditional but at the same time open to different influences, in order to turn that mixture into something like a piece of pan-cultural contemporary art with pronounced multiethnic and regional vein. „Madirosa", an invented word which is for Tamara the symbol of „Mediterranean rose, but also of her own personal perception of the Mediterranean as a cultural and musical universe", is seemingly a simple and unassuming, but actually a multi-layered, virtuoso album about the search for love and loss of love, and it is wonderful to abandon oneself to its backwaters as if wandering through the Istrian heartland in order to find always something else that you haven't yet seen or experienced. Recorded in only two days in studio, Madirosa is an acoustic album which includes a broad spectrum of musical experiences and it is a pleasure to lose oneself in such a deep, suggestive, magical work of art, compared to which the music of even Gotan Project and Madredeus sounds shallow and one-dimensional."

Aleksandar Dragaš, Jutarnji list, June 14, 2011.

CD NEĆU VIŠE JAZZ KANTATI / I WON'T SING JAZZ ANY MORE Transhistria electric / AQUARIUS RECORDS, 2009.

Lady kanta funk (Lady Sings Funk), the CD of the year!

It seems that with the new Transhistria ensemble Tamara Obrovac has finally found the accompanying musicians who are a perfect match to her charisma; to be more precise, the musicians who are capable to keep and expand all the energy that Tamara always radiates on the stage. ... "Neću više jazz kantat"/ "I won't sing jazz any more" is what it is by far the best album in the whole music career of Tamara Obrovac primarily because of the great material in which it is difficult to say what is better: the new compositions of the Istrian diva or the superb, fully thought out versions of her older works. If you add to that a more open, more pronounced poetic engagement than ever and the booklet with all the texts in Croatian and English, the conclusion begs to be made: Transhistria Electric and the Iron Istrian Lady have made the album of the year, probably of the five years, after which the band leader may not sing jazz any longer but don't worry: you should hear how she sings funk!

Pavle Vukšić, muzika.hr, Internet portal, April 27, 2009
http://www.muzika.hr/clanak/20759/recenzije-albuma/lady-kanta-funk-album-godine.aspx "

CD NEĆU VIŠE JAZZ KANTATI / I WON'T SING JAZZ ANY MORE Transhistria electric

"The most intriguing album of istrian musician

Several remarkable new songs, the title song which is bound to be a hit, the imaginative remake of the Istrian folk song "Predi šći moja" and the extended eight-minute-long version of the old favourite "črno zlo" have acquired the real funky groove into which the experienced jazz virtuosos such as the drummer Kruno Levačić, the Slovenian guitar-player Uroš Rakovec or the American piano player Joe Kaplowitz have fitted in remarkably well. Even a greater success could be Tamara's cooperation with the secret jazz fanatic Rambo Amadeus in the song entitled "Turbo Funk", which sounds like a witty parody of turbo-folk and the accompanying folk trash, but could easily become a specimen of the effective opposition to the regional epidemic of turbo-folk. "I won't sing jazz any more" is the most intriguing and the most complex album by Tamara Obrovac and if it reaches the international stage, the final result could be much more impressive than the media exaggerated nomination for the BBC World Music Award."

Ilko Ćulić, Jutarnji list, daily paper, April 2, 2009.

CD DALEKO JE /Is Faraway.. / Transhistria ensemble / AQUARIUS RECORDS 2005

Album Daleko je .„In 70 minutes of her new album, Tamara has shown she is completely ready for world's competition. “… «With her new material, she succeeded to get out of the narrow frame of the local tradition. By using some Italian ethno-elements, she has entered into much broader concept of neo-traditional Mediterranean music properly placed in many world music catalogues…“.

Ilko Ćulić, Jutarnji list, 12.siječnja 2006.

CD DALEKO JE / Is Faraway.. / Transhistria ensemble

Tamara Obrovac transhistria ensemle – «Is Faraway…

"Everybody who have earlier heard concert – or recorded – general places of Tamara's song-book are very much familiar with the exceptional music «performances» of her jazz players' crew: exceptional guitar player Uroš Rakovac, extraordinary bass player Žiga Golob, genius on drums Kruno Levačić and extraterrestrial accordion player Fausto Beccalossi. Together with Tamara's well known vocal, but also with her instrumental tripping on flute, Transhistria ensemble, faceted on many, many live performances, could finally accomplished a huge breakthrough to the European music scene. Zlatko Gall, Slobodna Dalmacija, daily paper, 19. January 2006. Croatia Authoring and interpretative maturity With the music on her new album, Tamara Obrovac, more than ever before, shows her authoring and interpretative maturity. Occupied by the form, musical aesthetic, deepening her exceptional approach inspired by Istrian musical heritage, she is also influenced by the musical traditions broth by the musicians with whom she constantly develops her songs. She succeeded to accomplish collectiveness and almost telepathic communication with the members of her ensemble, which is, along with her authoring ideas, the key to the success. Contrary to her beliefs about concert album recording, where a perfection and ideal proportion of interpretation and concert atmosphere needs to be accomplished, I believe she has enough material for a CD that would display Transhistria in the real light, with exciting interactions, spontaneous improvisations and persuasiveness seldom heard on albums of other European musicians."

Davor Hrvoj, Novi list, daily paper, January 2006., Croatia.

CD DALEKO JE / Is Faraway.. / Transhistria ensemble

Slavic and Roman Sea touch in an unrepeatable way

Although Tamara Obrovac is presented everywhere in the world as Croatian and Istrian ethno-jazz musician, she sounds like she's coming from another world. Being miles away from a backwater of Croatian popular music - to which she, owing to circumstances, belongs - and from no ambitious, autarkic and small national jazz-community, Tamara performs on international stages without any complexes, collecting earned compliments of the critics. Her expression is not only local, but also intimate… Tamara's new album is better than the previous one, the one that earned the nomination for the BBC Radio 3 World music Awards 2004. Even her singing is much warmer and feminine. «Is Faraway…» is equable, melodious, emotional album that echoes centuries-old tradition of Istrian convivenza, in which Slavic and Roman Sea touch in an unrepeatable way.

Draško Celing, Glas Slavonije, 20. 01. 2006.

CD SVE PASIVA / ALL FADES AWAY , Cantus, 2003.

Unusual ingredients from a master’s workshop

Tamara Obrovac has published her fourth album “Everything passes” sounds, first of all, unbearably light, regardless of its display of musical forms that are not light at all. In a filigree-like performance full of details, with miniatures played on the accordion, the mandolin and the drums, the supporting musicians excellently complement Tamara’s vocal lead, equally effective when singing out the lyrics or when vocalising, when she becomes an additional solo instrument.

Hrvoje Horvat, Vjesnik, Zagreb, March’03, Croatia

BBC Radio 3, nominees compilation review

"Fortunately, the random nature of an awards compilation like this provides the opportunity to browse and skip and fall headlong for something you've never heard before. In my case, the "blind date" artist is Tamara Obrovac. Cansoneita (A Small Song) performed by Obrovac with the Transhistria Ensemble, is a floating, beguiling track, with spacious drumming, tuneful accordion and a delicious lead vocal by Obrovac. (She is from Croatia, nominated for the European section eventually won by the great Ojos De Brujo.)"

John L Walters, Friday, February 20th, 2004., GB

BBC Radio 3, nominees compilation review

"The best of all possible worlds? Supported Voices? Well, try taking away the studio effects from Rokia Traore or the Uzbek superstar Sevara Nazarkhan, and see what you're left with. Unlike Evora or Ferrer, these young singers need the help of technology to weave their spells, and though there's nothing wrong with technology per se, this does sort out minor talents from the major ones. Croatia's Tamara Obrovac tops my bill in this group - a fine artist, with a clever band."

Michael Church, Independent, December, 2003. GB

CD SVE PASIVA / ALL FADES AWAY , Cantus, 2003.

"A gem of Croatian musical production

Tamara Obrovac transhistria ensemble, CD “Everything passes” Signing it personally, in an original, direct, spontaneous and amusing way, affirming the tradition, the language, the sound and the characteristic and unique richness of the today almost archaic Istrian music, the brilliant singer-songwriter has created her personal and original version of the ethnic trend still so important in the world today. … she has embodied the melody, the sonority, the unique scale and the autochtonous rhythm into a universal, agreeable and sensitive language understandable on any meridian or parallel, carrying a universal musical and poetic message."

Novi list, ožujak 2003.

CD TRANSHISTRIA, CANTUS 2001.

A master - piece of the recent music production "In an original, for us unheard and witty way, by establishing the recognition of the tradition, the language, the sound of the typical today archaic richness of the Istrian melos, Tamara Obrovac has made her own, original and autochthonous variant of the today in the world relevant ethno trend."

I. Zupan, "Glas Istre", Pula, 13. May 2001., Croatia

CD ULIKA, CBS 1998.

TAMARA OBROVAC quartet - cd ULIKA

"Excellent... this is a work filled with strong inner force which reinterprets the traditional popular sound in a manner yet unheard-of."

Bojan Mušćet, Zagreb, September 1998., Croatia

On the crossroads of genres / CD Ulika review

"Ulika is simply an extraordinary album, which defies every traditional critical meter; a fascinating project of an equisite musical journey, carried out with unhibited musical imagination and the luxurious talent of Tamara and her band."

Zlatko Gall, Split, Feral tribune, August 1998.

CD TRIADE, Euterpa/HDS 1998.

"Sing jazz, Istrian daughter

The CD TRIADE is an absolute masterpece and probably the best jazz that has ever appeared in Croatia "Triade are a complex musical work intended for jazz connoisseurs, people who have attuned their ears listening to the records released by ECM and other discographic houses of similar aesthetic, sufficiently distant from what is commonly defined as "mainstream jazz"

Tonči Bibić, VIjenac, January 1998.

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