A strange and wonderful debut album.
Fiona Talkington 2002
Imagine Kate Bush taking you by the hand, leading you deep into the Slovakian countryside and showering you with pine cones. Sounds good? Well, when you listen to Sui Vesan's debut album this wild fantasy virtually comes to life.
At the moment Sui's name is little known outside her native Slovakia, but there's a sort of buzz going on at the moment, a little ripple in the music business, that suggests we're going to be hearing more from her. And that's a good thing!
She's been likened to to Bjork and Tracy Chapman. For me it's her combination of the sweeping wildness of Kate Bush, the unpredictability of Iva Bittova, and the dramatic, haunting nature of Norwegian singer Sidsel Endresen which makes this a dead cert for one of my albums of the year.
The first track "Makoíenka" ("Poppy"), is enticing enough, though later, when you realise what she can do without the security blanket of a guitar, even this seems fairly run of the mill. "Beh po kamíenkoch" ("Run on the Pebbles") is a glorious explosion of Sui's exploitation of the natural rhythms of the Slovakian language and her own curious and very attractive onomatopaeic sounds. She uses poppy heads, seeds and bark for percussion and she really does give the feeling that she's out in the open air whooping and calling across the fields in a frenzy of vocal exploration!
"Malinka som hviezdy pasiem" ("Small as I am, I graze stars") unleashes an Eartha Kitt feel to her voice. You are sitting in the front row of a smoky jazz club looking straight into her eyes. "I am tiny and am shepherding the stars" she sings. "I dance with them until I shiver... Hair will be tangled, but I'm just a human". And how easily she slips from Eartha Kitt into an almost Lapland joik with hints of Mari Boine.
There is no doubt that Sui Vesan has a voice of her own and confidence in the presentation of her music. Marks out of 10? Whatever 10 is in Slovakian.
N.B. if you want more information about this album contact Roots Music at firstname.lastname@example.org, or it can be ordered at any record shop who have an account with Sterns music.