Cocoon (7d Media, 2010)
One of the most pleasant surprises in 2010 was Cocoon, the first U.S. release by Russian world music icon. Even though I was not familiar with her solo work, I had heard some of her recordings with the reputable Russian group The Farlanders.
On Cocoon, Inna Zhelannaya continues her mesmerizing combinations of ancient Russian and Eastern European folk music with dreamy electronica. In addition to her captivating voice, Inna Zhelannaya plays the overtone flute, an instrument with an incredibly beautiful sound that is related to the willow flutes played by Swedish and Norwegian musicians.
Former King Crimson guitarist Trey Gunn is responsible for launching Inna Zhelannaya’s career in the United States. He produced Cocoon, participates in the album on touch guitar and got her signed to 7d Media, the record label that releases many of Gunn’s projects. The rest of the album line-up includes Gennadiy Lavrentyev on tabla and violin; Oleg Mariakhin on saxophone; and Pavel Lapygin provides his throat singing.
Inna Zhelannaya is known for combining 12th century Armenian chants, Georgian peasant songs and Russian folk songs with modern music productions. She mixes folk traditions with with electronica, trance and progressive rock. Inna founded the Russian supergroup The Farlanders with the great Russian singer and woodwinds player Sergey Starostin who was awarded the BBC’s prestigious “World Musician of The Year” award in 2003.
Inna’s recordings include 1995’s “Vodorosl” (Algae); “Inozemets” with The Farlanders, recorded in The Netherlands in 1998 and released in the USA by Shanachie Records, under the name “Inna And The Farlanders: “The Dream Of Endless Nights“. Chosen as one of the best world music releases of 1998 by the World Music Charts Europe; her solo album “Moments” (2000), recorded iive in Bremen (Germany) during the German tour in 1999. “Moments” features Sergey Starostin.
In 2002 she released an acoustic CD titled “Tantsy Teney” (“Dances of Shadows”).Vymysly (Imaginations), which came out in 2003, features the famous French horn player Arkadiy Shilkloper. Zima (Winter), from 2008, took Inna in a new direction, weaving her voice with sound design and electronics, featuring violinist Sergey Yakhushenko and keyboard player Arkhadiy Marto.
Cocoon is a vital, atmospheric album that serves as an excellent introduction to Russian singer Inna Zhelannaya, one of the most captivating voices in the current world music scene.
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Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.