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Beauty in Chaos / Alexandra Ivanova

Beauty in Chaos / Alexandra Ivanova

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Alexandra Ivanova's music is full of influences that are as diverse as the world we live in. In fact, the Austrian pianist with Bulgarian roots has already lived in Jordan, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates and France, and has immersed herself in a wide variety of cultures. “I was a Scott Joplin fan and played my first ragtime pieces when I was 10,” the pianist recalled. "I remember how the ‘Maple Leaf Rag’ attracted me magnetically. ‘Cherokee’ was the first jazz standard I played. I founded my first trio at the local music school. I really immersed myself in the music of Oscar Peterson and Ahmad Jamal."

Despite studying Social Sciences at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies, Ivanova was simultaneously drawn back to the piano. “Back then, I was interested in both Harold López-Nussa and Avishai Cohen,” the pianist recounted. “I also played my own compositions with my trio during my Master's studies.” Globetrotter years followed the two parallel studies. "But the world does not revolve around Europe," Ivanova said, "and that's why I learned Arabic at that time and moved to Lebanon. After that, I lived in Jordan and in the Gulf. Those five years in the Middle East brought me closer to Muslim, Arab, Indian and Pakistani cultures, where the topic of Western privileges comes up in conversation. I got to know Tarek Yamani in Dubai, of whom I had been a big fan for a long time and who became my mentor. I put my career aside to have time to compose. After an artist residency in Iceland, I moved to Berlin during the pandemic.”

And then Beauty in Chaos was finally created when the pianist met her bassist Niklas Lukassen and her drummer Nathan Ott in Berlin. "When we rehearsed the material for the album, I really discovered Niklas' melodic playing and Nathan's sensitive creativity," the pianist stated enthusiastically. “Both bring my pieces to life with their musicality.”

In her own compositions, Alexandra Ivanova brings together maqam scales from Oriental classical music, Afro-Cuban claves, Bulgarian rhythms as well as influences from classical music and jazz. But there are also seemingly foreign songs on Beauty in Chaos. They invite the listener to leave the European canon and look at the world from different cultural perspectives. These songs have played a crucial role in Ivanova’s musical life. “Enta Omri”, sung by the Egyptian icon Umm Kulthoum, is one of her childhood memories; the song sounds unexpected and yet familiar in Ivanova’s version. The title track features Syrian singer Lynn Adib. Adib combines Oriental and Byzantine singing techniques with jazz and is also one of the most important singers of the contemporary Arabic scene, also thanks to her collaboration with the Lebanese producer Zeid Hamdan. “Ay Isiginda" by the Azeri composer Gambar Huseynli is a piece that Ivanova came across at a concert by the Azerbaijan State Orchestra of Folk Instruments. And the Icelandic traditional "Krummavisur" has astounding parallels to the music of the Middle East; the Vikings are probably to blame for this.

With this carefully constructed album, Alexandra Ivanova has opened up a completely new path. The pianist has been living in Berlin for almost three years now and has created her own home in her music, which also reflects the wealth of her experiences. The last song "Free" celebrates the sense of freedom when you risk following your dreams. Within just a few bars of the opening song “Nostalgia”, it’s clear that huge talent lies behind the seven songs of Beauty in Chaos . Alexandra Ivanova is committed to dismantling prejudices and questioning cultural norms: Beauty in Chaos is the starting material for this undertaking.

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Product Description:

  • Release Date: August 25, 2023

  • UPC: 608917142624

  • Catalog Number: DMCHR71426

  • Label: Double Moon Records

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Jazz

  • Composer: Alexandra Ivanova

  • Performer: Alexandra Ivanova