Mediterranean Homesick Blues

Backed by her excellent acoustic band, Greek singer Savina Yannatou unwinds sad and hopeful musical threads connecting the Mediterranean nations.

With arrangements by Kostas Vomvolos, with whom she worked on 1994's Spring in Salonika, Yannatou's full, doleful voice inhabits these hymns, laments and dances so completely that songs such as "Ballo Sardo" (Sardinian Dance) (RealAudio excerpt) sound almost eerily powerful and vibrant. She takes her fullest flights on heart-tugging ballads such as "Y Una Madre" (And a Mother) (RealAudio excerpt), taken from the Spanish-Jewish Ladino tradition, wrapping herself sinuously around each syllable. She trips easily from the serious to the playful, with "Pinguli Pinguli Giuvacchinu" (RealAudio excerpt), an Italian nursery rhyme that falls laughingly off her tongue.

Even if she doesn't prove conclusively that all of Mediterranea is linked, her music is intimately majestic nonetheless.