Text: Robin Boer
Released on Sonna Records, the first full-length album by Swiss jazz quartet ITAKIRY (formed in 2019) reached our ears. Swiss-German founder Chiara Nolwenn Itakiry Schönfeld, who also is the band’s primary composer and singer, named the band after her third name. If we could conceptualize the album in two words, we would use ‘Emotions’ and ‘Nature’ which are the most appealing lyrical themes.
The music is very gentle in nature, and the soothing voice of Schönfeld is prominent in all works. Not does she just sing in the conventional way; she uses her voice as an instrument, and mixes her rich melodies with intense improvised passages. The works are unconventional in form, and do invite the listener for many replays to fully digest the beauty of it all. The sound is equally important as the music here, with very bright and punchy double bass by Francesco Losavio, subtle and colorful drumming by Maris Egli and versatile, dynamic piano work with layered intonation, by Xavier Almeida.
Particularly commendable is the time, space and peace that is taken to let the pieces truly breathe and develop organically. The lyrics are of a very mature nature, and reflect on the deeper emotions of the human spirit, with metaphors from nature. Even a poem from the late Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) has been translated to tranquil music, superb melodies and chord progressions.
ITAKIRY delivered a debut of a bejeweling brilliance.