If the only way you’ve ever experienced legendary poet T.S. Elliot’s verses set to music is “Cats,” allow the beautiful, Astrud Gilberto styled Hungarian jazz singer Rozina Patkai take you into the darker, haunting realms with her ambient and hypnotic musical adaptation of his poem “Song.”
A fascinating emerging singer who has been leading jazz groups in her home country since 2011, Patkai’s latest album Taladim finds her exploring her multi-cultural artistry (Eastern Europe born, bossa nova styled) in unique ways.
Singing alternately in Spanish, Portuguese, French and charmingly accented English, she and her five-piece band explore a literal world of poetry by putting poems by Eliot (“Song”), William Blake (“Laughing Song”), Jane Tyson Clement (“Sea Song”), Fernando Pessoa, Federico Garcia Lorca, Paul Verlaine and others to colorful, atmospheric, sensual and gently (and in the case of the Pessoa inspired tune, playfully) percussive music befitting the styles of their native lands.
With a graceful, heart-enrapturing voice like hers and all of her many cultural leanings, Patkai could easily create interpretations of established songs from various places. She and her band earn major kudos for finding fresh expression for written and spoken word pieces that fit artfully into their fresh and imaginative musical formats.