Release: 28th Oct 2021
Yumi Ito’s acclaimed 2020 release Stardust Crystals – described as neo-classical-art-pop-meets-jazz – introduced a singer writing delicate songs full of texture and colour.
Now, one year on, the Polish-Japanese singer joins forces with rising-star guitarist Szymon Mika to deliver Ekual: a set of 7 compositions which blend an abundance of influences into one finely tuned album.
Following in the footsteps of artists like Gretchen Parlato, Theo Bleckman and, of course, Joni Mitchell, they create a soundworld which is hard to categorise.
Jazz sensibilities, of course, but more than that. The genre simply provides the starting point for an impressive spectrum of themes and musical ideas.
Drawing from the versatility of the voice and strings, the Polish-Japanese-Swiss vocal-guitar duo creates a universe of gentle harmonics, haunting chords, intricate melodies and explorative improvisations.
They merge, in equal part, elements from established genres with fresh influences to create a timeless work of art.
“Minha Flor” (‘my flower’ in Portuguese) sings of vulnerability and fear of demarcation. But it also reminds us that our inner flower lies safe in the depth of our personal sanctuary, celebrating the joys of nature, of the body, of beauty and sexuality.
By contrast, the plucked chords and wide vocal melodies of “Float and Drift” recall the icy season when nights are long and thoughts are dark.
“Data Beta”, at the centre of the album, highlights the true essence of “Ekual” as the pair imagine an alternative universe devoid of the poisoned climate in today’s politics, society, and nature.
“Ekual is a call to slow down and reconnect with ourselves and our environment, to fully experience our emotions, to strive for authenticity and honesty”
Yumi Ito | vocals, whistling, composition, arrangement, lyrics
Szymon Mika | guitar, ronroco, composition
1. Minha Flor
2. Float and Drift
3. My Restless Mind
4. Data Beta
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