in Reviews

Soul-jazz-blues with a Bulgarian twist

by Tove Djupsjöbacka

"There are a lot of intriguing musical landscapes, from big epic sounds and suggestive drones to a cappella singing."

Anna Dantchev is in a way a representative example of a global music artist today – struggling to find her own path in music with roots in different countries (Finland and Bulgaria) and with a strong background in soul-jazz as well. Finding a balance between many musical ingredients is never easy; yet the personal mix is what makes a musician unique. Her debut album with DANTCHEV:DOMAIN combines her Bulgarian heritage and soul-jazz-blues with lyrics in English and Bulgarian.

The band is really interesting in itself – all talented musicians and no-one stuck on strict orchestration. There are a lot of intriguing musical landscapes, from big epic sounds and suggestive drones to a cappella singing. The lineup is interesting: Erno Haukkala on trombone and sousaphone (a nice nod towards the Balkan brass world), Kenneth Ojutkangas on tuba and guitar, Antti-Pekka Rissanen on drums and João Luis on percussion and vibraphone. 

The voice of Dantchev has the leading role, and she uses it well. It is almost more expressive without words than with words. Finding a balance between the two languages is not easy – the concept definitely works and those moments of switching between not understanding and catching a word or two are fascinating. Sometimes the songs in English did not really reach me because of weak diction and sound placement issues, but there is a lot of interesting material here to go on with.

DANTCHEV:DOMAIN: Say It

Anna Dantchev (vocals, tupan-drum) 
Erno Haukkala (trombone, sousaphone) 
Kenneth Ojutkangas (guitar, tuba)
Antti-Pekka Rissanen (drums) 
João Luis (vibraphone, percussions)

Glomama Music, 2020