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Suí Vesan
T&M 032: 15.00 Euro
"Merging With The Brook" - 2005

Inarticulate Speech of the Heart – if Irishman Van Morrison hadn’t selected this unique phrase for one of his albums in the early 80s, it would have made for a wonderful title for this collection of new music from Slovak singer and composer Suí Vesan. Suí came up with MERGING WITH THE BROOK instead – a more than adequate headline for this, Suí Vesan‘s second - effort as well, especially since the music to be heard on this album is first and foremost inspired by nature and the Slovak countryside – the murmur of small waters in forests and the rustling of leaves in human hands. A musical expression of being enraptured by the experience of nature. It’s Suí Vesan presenting a life-affirming and positive message through voice and sound: you just open up your senses to nature and in the process may reach personal contentment and inner balance. This notion is at the spiritual core of what this music is offering to any open-minded listener. It’s a passionate musical statement coming from an artist who has walked the road towards reaching an original voice for quite some time now.

Suí Vesan’s past life and career have been marked by this search for true originality. As a child growing up in communist Czechoslovakia, she was obliged to sing the much-hated Russian repertoire of ideological songs in choirs, even then feeling like someone who didn’t really belong. But when 14-year-old Suí (her civil name is Jana Vesan) had the chance to travel to Syria with her father, life opened up. She experienced the voices of muezzins as some kind of otherwordly expression of human nature and felt a new life-changing force reaching her. At that point, Suí was a complete novice when it came to Western pop music. She hadn’t even heard The Beatles. Talk about being totally unspoiled by commercial Western music...

The spiritual singing voices and sounds of the Arab had changed her life, however, just like the mystical literature of India, which she discovered shortly afterwards. What had happened to her exactly wasn’t at all clear to this teenage girl from Eastern Europe at that point, but she felt profound inner changes taking place. Suí turned into a natural mystic whose eyes could „see the heaven smile“, to quote an expression she likes to use to describe the changes that occured within her today. Life in socialist Czechoslovakia seemed to be even more profane in the course of this evolutionary change and it would never be the same, indeed.

There wasn’t a real place of belonging for a deviationalist zealot such as „the new Suí Vesan“ in her home country. Her first artistic efforts in public, fronting a local band as girl singer/flute player/guitarist, were quite controversial and mikes were turned off even at innocent lines like „If we wanted to we could understand each other better“. The time was not yet right, it was plain to see. Consequently, Suí retreated from public performance. She married, became a mother and took up a teaching job in an elementary school. In retrospect, being around children all the time helped her shape her own artistic vision, even if she did not sing a note in public for eleven years. She felt a distinct obligation to search for her own voice and musical expression.

And it took some more years, but Suí Vesan finally reached this new kind of expression and she termed it „Tatlanina“ – an invented language of the heart, an new onomapoetic world of verbal expression: „It started when I was at school,“ she says, „but some years ago I suddenly wasn’t embarassed about it anymore. It came out naturally and freely. It wasn’t intentional, I was just doing it for myself when nobody was listening. Everybody should have their own language. It’s very much linked to emotions... I usually sing Tatlanina with my eyes closed somewhere in the country where there are very good acoustics.“

She had finally arrived and came up with the courage of presenting this new voice and new music in public. The odds were suddenly in her favour: in a surprising twist of fate, influential BBC radio presenter Charlie Gillett got a hold of her debut album „Sui“ and was very much enarmoured of what he heard. Gillett detected a new and original voice - with echoes of the famous Bulgarian voices. His BBC listening audiences felt very much the same and reacted just as favorably. „Her music is melodic but not just beautiful“, Gillett remarked favorably, „Suí Vesan puts some powerful emotions into her songs and it sounds as if there’s something quite powerful within her that just needs to come out.“

The same applies to her second effort MERGING WITH THE BROOK. again containing music of quite fascinating strangeness, presented with a Slavic timbre and featuring the multi-faceted rhythms of Eastern-European folk traditions. But these are fused with a very original and somewhat mysterious compositional and improvisational concept that is pure Suí Vesan. It’s equally playful and harsh, dressed in very spartan arrangements featuring just voice, guitar, flute, kalimba and percussion. A unique musical universe that is worlds apart from the cynicism and calculated blandness of Western commercial music. A highly idiosyncratic pairing of almost childish naiveté with a very grown-up depth of emotion and life experience.

Suí Vesan is a one-of-a-kind artist who doesn’t sound like anybody else. Any set of open ears must come to this conlusion. Her music is filled with human strength, a quirky kind of humor, real passion and an exploratory sense of discovery. This is the music of an artist who is not merely putting out product but who is simply being true to what she feels is her calling, reaching a very special place beyond the tangible concreteness of language in the process. Suí Vesan is also very much about the communicative power of sound: „Words may be important as well, but not as important as the music itself,“ she states, „it’s the music itself that brings people together. We might not understand each other, but when you hear one another’s music you just know about him. The most beautiful music paints pictures.“