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Katarina Juvancic and Dejan Lapanja - Hope's Beautiful Daughters

  by Owen Peters

published: 18 / 1 / 2015

Katarina Juvancic and Dejan Lapanja - Hope's Beautiful Daughters
Label: Stray Cat Records
Format: CD


Unusual but beautifully presented album from Slovenian duo, Katarina Juvancic and Dejan Lapanja, which takes its inspiration from folklore and legends

In basic terms the album 'Hope’s Beautiful Daughter' by Katarina Juvancic and Dejan Lapanja is a Slovenian-Scottish collaboration of music and songwriters. It captures myths and folktales told by richly voweled storytellers. It’s matched by sublimely pitched songs of love, abuse, Jewish children saved from a German-occupied Warsaw ghetto during World War II, and Inuit legends. Together they have developed the project inspired by St. Augustine’s contemplation of hope, anger, and courage. Everything involved with this CD/project is defined by quality and attention to detail. The illustrations by Tinka Volaric and designs of Jerneja Rodica allow an imagery and theme of imagination to permeate both CD sleeve and lyrics booklet. The CD/project is inspired by these words: “Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are” - Augustine of Hippo. The album's opening track, 'Irena', tells the story of a little boy saved by Irena Sendler, a Polish nurse who smuggled more than 2,500 Jewish children from the German-occupied Warsaw ghetto during World War II. Here we get our first gentle ear massaging of sublime violin strings. 'Skeleton Woman' was inspired by a tale of the Inuit people Juvancic found in a book by Clarissa Pinkola Estés called 'Women Who Run with the Wolves'. Juvancic's vocal range confirms she knows how to pull her lyrics into a story and musical experience. Percussion and violin dance, one, two, three, one two three, give a flavour of Slovenian musical culture throughout the song's three minutes and twenty three seconds. David Campbell narrates a folk tale from the Hebrides of a courageous journey to wisdom, in 'The Dreammaker'. It’s a story of trust and dreams told in a rich, broad Scottish brogue. He’s a comforting as those well worn slippers and a roaring coal fire. An Orkney folk tale 'Ursilla', which is about her romance with her Selkie lover, is slowly unravelled, and depicts a rather unusual and bold way to find love, told by Tom Muir. It has a mature theme running through the story, but I can see children being encaptured by Muir’s tone and rhythm in his storytelling. The Salamandra Salamandra Band's musical arrangement add intrigue and a wonderfully balanced background which adds pace and tension to each of the stories. My favourite story is the Shetland folk tale 'Mallie' and the Trow about kindness of heart in the midst of great poverty, told by Lawrence Tulloch. His dialectic and dialogue transports the listener to the Isle of Shetland, and tells of lack of food, lack of compassion and the comeuppance people get by not helping the less fortunate when those opportunities arise in life. If you’ve never had a meal of brine, this is an educational story for the uninitiated. 'Svarilo Janezu' is a Slovenian-Scottish version of the Scottish song called 'Mickey’s Warning/Blue Bleezin’ Blind Drunk'. A solitary acoustic guitar and double falsetto verses don’t try and mask the theme of physical abuse in a relationship. As notes to the song confirm “Abuse of woman knows no linguistic barriers and neither does the courage to leave.” 'Hope's Beautiful Daughters' combines nine tracks, three folk tales and six songs, with a diversity of musical accompaniment. Each and every contribution is noted: Cello, double bass, fiddle, french horn, hurdy-gurdy percussions, to the last sound of this wonderful album, that of a great tit. I hope you get the chance to listen to 'Hope’s Beautiful Daughter' It’s a respectful album which introduces Slovenian and Scottish heritage, culture, courage on a bed of stories and musical wisdom. It’s unusual and very enjoyable.

Track Listing:-
1 Irena
2 Skeleton Woman
3 Dreammaker
4 Frida
5 Ursilla
6 Sister Sun
7 Svarilo Janezu
8 Mallie
9 Rosa

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