Mia Žnidarič Press Highlights

“The first lady of Slovene vocal jazz!”
-Darinko Kores Jacks, Večer

“... the most incredible Slovene jazz singer of all time: Mia Žnidarič...has now developed her own recognizable and unique vocal jazz style...”
-Andrej Predin, Slovenske novice

“I cannot remember an album [Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] being described in so many reviews by one word: exceptional.”
-Glorija Marinovič, 7 dni

“The most renowned jazz singer in Slovenia...”
- MMC RTV Slovenija

“Mia Žnidarič triumphs with her plain, child-like simplicity!”
-Mojmir Sepe

“... a singing style that originates from the noble vocal jazz tradition… [Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] brings an exceptional union of music, poetry, singing, zealous creating, and dedication.”
-Rasto Božič, park-on.net

“[Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] is an exquisite creation that crawls into one’s subconscious and soothes the soul.”
-Ksimeroni Vrbetič, Radio Nova Ajdovščina

“… overall the best vocal jazz CD, and one of the few that can without shame compete with similar projects in Europe and the USA…. Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra is full of a beauty that should touch us all. It contains vocal, sound quality, and interpretative grace, which these days in music seem to be a thing of the past; a mere splendor we can not afford, or have forgotten how to. Mia Žnidarič offers it to us with her hands outstretched... It is a long-standing fact that Mia is Slovenia’s best jazz singer … her soft, supple, and emotionally charged voice… With Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra (the lushly and beautifully designed CD) she proves once more that she is devoted and resolute to achieving the highest standards—with her first-class vocals and interpretative qualities and a sense of finding the perfect team of musicians.”
- Jure Potokar, Polet

“Some performers can make a song all their own merely because of their specific voice... With these performers you often forget who even wrote the song.  One example of such a performer is jazz singer Mia Žnidarič.”
-Maja Pertič, Primorske novice

“Listening to the twelve songs [on Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] we are treated to an interlacing of three elements that create the CD’s unique atmosphere: exceptional lyrics, music and voice.”
-Katja Nared, Na svoji zemlji

“I am overwhelmed and captivated by Mia’s CD Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra: Feri Lainšček’s lyrics and Steve Klink’s music, all completely permeated by love for Mia. But, most of all, I am captivated by her voice.”
-Anžej Dežan, in the newspaper Total tedna

“[on Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra]...an array of exceptional musicians from Slovenia, Europe and the USA.”
-Jernej Vene, Val 202

“With her recognizable and irreplaceable voice, Mia has been setting standards to her own characteristic interpretation for years now. With Feri Lainšček’s lyrics, she has approached traditional chanson songs from a jazz perspective.”
-Vita Mavrič, in the newspaper Total tedna

“…an invaluable contribution to the treasury of Slovene musical creativeness; [Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] is a product of superb arrangements and production.”
-Sara Köleš, Pomurski vestnik

    “How come [Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] as a whole leaves such a bright impression? Because it is permeated by a strong inner harmony. Nothing is missing and more importantly, and above all, nothing is redundant. This is due to the merit of everyone involved in the project, as jazz is always a hypnotic ritual of harmoniousness, an unpredictable springing forth of unconscious.
    I have to single out the poet Feri Lainšček; he is a master of different atmospheres and can sketch complex stories in mere few verses.
    Steve Klink is a composer, an arranger, a pianist, and a perfect fit to set Lainšček’s poetry to music. His creativeness combines the sensual and spiritual foundation from which jazz arose and from which it still rejuvenates the world: the element of swing in swing, the rapture of the gospel spiritual, the joy of playing in well-known jazz joints, and the blues found in the blues.
    I am under the impression that Mia uses her child-like curiosity on this CD to profess the wisdom of a mature woman. Her voice hasn’t—and never will—grow old, because Mia yearns to be the body of the song, the song-river. She has matured in her singing technique, in mastering her voice (she has perfect intonation), in comprehension and interpretation: less is more, the essence of the song is always sung out directly, with no unnecessary filling, aids or exterior glamourous glitz.”
-Milan Dekleva

“This time, the most renowned jazz singer in Slovenia presents us with an album that will fill our homes with an atmosphere distinctive of jazz clubs… For many years now, Mia Žnidarič and Steve Klink have been one of the most productive and creative teams in Slovene jazz.”
-MMC RTV Slovenija

“Heart-stirring jazz for your loved ones… The music on [Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] interweaves diverse styles; Steve weaved Mia’s voice into swing (Pesem namesto zlatnika), blues (Z očetom), gospel (Begunka sem, ki ne beži) and ballads (Skriti ljubimci). This vocal jazz CD is as elegant as they rarely get.”
-Zdenko Matoz, Delo

“Mia Žnidarič presented her new album Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra... in Ljubljana’s Festivalna dvorana Concert Hall. We listened to this extraordinary jazz singer and her top-level backup band as she conjured up warmth and her songs made us feel an inner harmoniousness.”
-Irena Levičar, Indirekt

“Invisible yet mightily heard… [Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra] is an album of poems by a romantic from [the Slovene eastern province of] Prekmurje:  Feri Lainšček. The CD was recorded in various studios Europe-wide and set to music by, of course, Mia’s dearest one, Steve Klink. The album was first introduced last week in Ljubljana’s Festivalna dvorana Concert Hall. We were certainly and pleasantly persuaded.”
-Helena Odlak, Nova

“Last Tuesday Ljubljana’s Festivalna dvorana Concert Hall breathed the poetry of Feri Lainšček. We were lured into the celebratory ambience by an orchestra—Tadej Tomšič, David Jarh, Primož Grašič, Emil Spruk, Milan Nikolič, Marcus Rieck and Steve Klink… Mia was glowing with pride and happiness, as was everyone close to her. Many commented she was singing as never before—about desires, memories, fragile moments of loneliness, happiness, about questions eternal…”

“Singing is a force, wresting from a vibration of soul into a spiral; into a spiral galaxy. Therefore, each song is a hymn, a ballad: we want something, we lack something. That’s what Mia’s new CD is about… In Mia’s singing, I hear the fragile voice of Billie Holliday, pierced by an aching night, or a voice of Joni Mitchell, jagged and shivering in the embrace of mysterious lyricism.”
-Milan Dekleva

“It was an evening of emotional jazz, superbly interpreted by a singer that never has to exert herself to be a jazz singer, because she simply IS one.”
-Zdenko Matoz, Delo

“Mia Žnidarič is arguably a veteran of Slovene jazz, as again proven by her last album Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra, which sounds as if it was recorded live in an intimacy of a jazz club.”
-Izak Košir, Žurnal24

“Nevidni orkester (Invisible Orchestra) is one of the best examples of Slovene vocal jazz... and Mia Žnidarič enchanted everyone... singing with a small group of musicians (piano and trumpet). She masterfully filled the space and frequently made it seem as if a whole symphonic orchestra was playing. She sung with an irrepressible grace that came as stealthfully and patiently as an iceberg upon the listener: and invited him to a dance.
Mia’s voice carries on the tradition of the greatest jazz singers, such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Interestingly enough, it is impossible to write about her without mentioning Lady Day; listening to Mia, we get a feeling that she and Billie share common experiences. On the other hand, Mia has now developed her own recognizable and unique jazz vocal style...”
-Andrej Predin, Slovenske novice

CD reviews:

Mia Žnidarič: Nevidni orkester,
-www.Park-on.net 08/06/2008, Rasto Božič

Mia Žnidarič is a unique jazz vocalist; she embarked on her latest musical adventure dressed in Feri Lainšček’s verses and pianist Steve Klink’s music: her invisible orchestra is made up of members from The Big Band RTV Slovenija and several notable German, American and Slovene musicians.
The CD was recorded with no “additives,” with only acoustic instruments; it features a distinguished, high-quality exceptional sound and Mia’s singing that originates from the venerated vocal jazz tradition. The CD offers fresh and multi-faceted music, accomplished and sensual arrangements, and flirts with diverse styles: gospel, blues, chanson, pop. Klink’s music is both of balladic moods and harmonically rhythmic. It can be musically very sparse or decorated in instrumental richness. The music is not merely an accompaniment to the poetry and voice it is set to; it serves as its foundation and simultaneously raises it up, instinctively featuring several solos. It is based on colors and shades from mainstream to old-fashioned jazz, with the skillful production adding instruments such as acoustic guitar, accordion, strings, and backing vocals. The complete sound picture is one of lightness; yet not in the sense of superficiality but rather of soaring levitation. The sound is also dreamy and evokes the spirit of a dark corner bar; sometimes bordering on a pop song and at other times fully established and substantiated in swing.

An Exceptional Union of Music, Poetry and Singing
Steve Klink offered the singer an exceptional staring point; Mia, dedicated to vocal jazz music, used it to thread soulful renditions of Lainšček’s poetry that seem to have been written especially for the jazz tradition. In the Slovene language, we rarely come across such complete and optimistic lyrics that evoke the spirit of late night jazz joints or the heart of a French town’s streets; and yet at the same time they passionately proclaim the joy of life, scattered loosely across the entirety of our nature and being.

The CD brings an exceptional union of music, poetry, singing, zealous creation and dedication. Furthermore, its sleeve design has everything it needs: the key information, lyrics in their Slovene original and English translation, Neca Falk’s photography, and Zmago Modic’s painting.
Quality is Mia Žnidarč’s trademark. We can only agree with the words “purity,” “clarity,” and “warmth” written in the accompanying booklet text. Will we ever have the chance to see her perform in Novo Mesto?

Nice And Easy & Heartfelt
-Delo 4/22/08, by Zdenko Matoz

Tonight, the jazz singer Mia Žnidarič and her Invisible Orchestra will present Feri Lainšček poems in Destivalna dvorana — A voice, pierced by an aching night

Mia Žnidarič is one of the few Slovene jazz singers that can easily and naturally also sing pop songs; she is a diametrical opposite of many Slovene pop singers who sing jazz to give their careers an artistic relevance. After three years of slow and meticulous creativeness she recently published a new CD Nevidni orkester (Invisible orchestra) with Sanje Publishing. She will present it tonight in Ljubljana’s Festivalna dvorana.

Singer Mia Žnidarič and poet and novelist Feri Lainšček collaborated for the first time on an MC for children Mia in škrat Sanjavec (Mia and the Dreamer Goblin). This collaboration was strengthened on her 1997 CD Pobarvanka (The Coloring Book) and is now attested on the new album Nevidni orkester.
As Mia tells us, it took three years to create this album—nice and easy and heartfelt. Her life and music companion Steve Klink wrote the music and did most of the arrangements, explained that “a good melody is never hard to find, if what you’re working with are such good lyrics and if you get an excellent voice to sing it.” Feri Lainšček is convinced that him, Mia and Steve have, with a combined inspiration, revived these otherwise melancholic songs.
Nevidni orkester comprises, alongside Steve Klink, of top-notch soloists and members of the Big Band RTV Slovenija that collaborated with Mia many a time, and many other local musicians. The CD was recorded live in various studios in Ljubljana and Cologne, with musicians playing acoustic instruments. Expert musicians, aware that the only music of value is performed live, accentuate the CD’s spontaneity and sincerity that oozes from both vocal and instrumental interpretations. The songs were recorded with a specific recording technique (High Definition Audiofile Recording), which enables superior listening experience.
It all started with the song Nevidni orkester, which Lainšček dedicated to Mia, and then he wrote additional 11 songs. The CD closes with an instrumental piece, dedicated by Mia and Steve to their two borzois Bajka and Žuža, both named among the important contributors to this CD as executive producers.
The music on this CD interweaves diverse styles; Steve weaved Mia’s voice into swing (Pesem namesto zlatnika), blues (Z očetom), bossa nova (Begunka sem, ki ne beži) and a ballad (Skriti ljubimci). This vocal jazz CD is as elegant as they rarely get. As Milan Dekleva puts it on the sleeve: … “In Mia’s singing, I hear the fragile voice of Billie Holliday, pierced by an aching night, or a voice of Joni Mitchell, jagged and shivering in the embrace of mysterious lyricism.”
Mia Žnidarič’s CD Nevidni orkester

Mia Žnidarič’s CD Nevidni orkester
-Slovenske novice 4/18/08, by Andrej Predin

A new CD by the extraordinary jazz singer recorded with the collaboration of top-notch musicians — The songs based on Feri Lainšček’s lyrics — The album is an arrangement and production masterpiece

It is hard to imagine any Slovene performer more successfully luring us into jazz as Mia Žnidarič. Her new CD Nevidni orkester, recently published by Sanje Publishing, does exactly that. It flirts unobtrusively and glides softly. Any eventual edges are polished off or covered with a pillow. The best way to describe the music is “family jazz,” since its content addresses all generations yet remains within the classic jazz form. Those of you expecting virtuosic stroll into freestyle will have to find satisfaction in Mia’s vocal vestige, which occasionally takes unexpected turns and on other occasions takes an impudent middle way. It is what Feri Lainšček’s lyrics and Steve Klink’s compositions enable her to do.
“It is nice to collaborate with Mia and Steve. Luckily, our respective inspirations joined at a certain point in time. I’m not one of those poets who use their poetry to save the world; I’m not one of those poets that are ungranted, unrealized or unhappily in love. I’m one of those poets that love life. Of course this doesn’t only mean lively or exclusively joyful songs. My approach to literature and poetry is to face life, the world. That’s why we found each other,” said Feri Lainšček this Tuesday at the launch of the CD. He collaborated with the singer on a project Mia in škrat Sanjavec (Mia and the Dreamer Goblin). His lyrics excel in exceptional sense for meaning, harmony and rhythm of the words. Despite proclaiming himself as a poet with no musical ear at the press conference, it is a characteristic we can hardly agree with. Slovene is a relatively ungrateful language for singing; the resonance of his lyrics is therefore not obvious and would be achieved with difficulty if it weren’t for a performer of such exceptionality. The life of the CD Nevidni orkester was prominently captured by Milan Dekleva in his address.
Nevidni orkester is also decorated with an exceptional assortment of musicians, but it never forces on the listener with surpluses such as neck-breaking passages; rather, it offers unison between the voices and instruments that are prominently placed in space. “My previous CD was recorded in collaboration with the Big Band. It was at the time that I formed relationships with some of the soloists—Tadej Tomšič playing the tenor saxophone and the clarinet, David Jarh playing the trumpet, Primož Grašič on the guitar and Emilo Spruk on the trombone. Steve and I recorded first songs in Cologne, Germany, with a trio Steve’s been playing with for past 15 years. It’s an amazing rhythm section combining piano, contrabass and drums. This was the basis for the first six songs that ended up on the CD. The remaining six songs were recorded in Ljubljana. If I didn’t like something, we went back to the studio. Sometimes Steve had to completely rewrite the arrangement. I wanted to create a CD that I can put my signature on. I am happy with each and every song,” revealed Mia. Steve added: “The first thing is lyrics. If it isn’t good, there is no music. When you do have both the melody and the lyrics, you need a good voice. That’s of utmost importance. I am very satisfied with our team. Initially, we were gong to do this with only acoustic instruments; no sapling, no electronics. We recorded everything in a studio with the microphones. For half a year we were only working on the sound, we were mixing and recording the masters. We put a lot of time and money into this to make it perfect and of high quality. We cut no corners, and that’s why the CD has this great sound that is particularly manifested when you own a high-quality speaker system. You can simply make yourself comfortable in your armchair accompanied by some candles and a glass of red wine, and enjoy the music.”
The first chance to enjoy, and get assured of, the nature of Mia’s new album will offer itself on Tuesday, April 22, in Ljubljana’s Festivalna dvorana.

Beauty that Touches Us All
-Polet 6/26/08, by Jure Potokar

It’s a long known fact that Mia Žnidarič is Slovenia’s greatest jazz singer, as well as that there is no particular competition in this field. Majority of singers that tried out in this ungrateful musical genre had to eventually give up because the performing and recording opportunities are scarce and the reality of life extremely cruel and inexorable. This singer’s devotion and determination are therefore even more admirable and honorable. It’s even more true as with Nevidni orkester (Invisible Orchestra), the lushly and beautifully designed CD, published by Sanje, she proves once more that she is devoted and resolute to achieving the highest standards—with her first-class vocal and interpretative qualities and a sense of finding just the right team.
In other words, Nevidni orkester is overall the best vocal jazz CD, and one of the few that can without shame compete with similar ventures in Europe and the States. True, Mia’s life companion Steve Klink splendidly took care of the music, arrangements and production, but the majority of the rest of the musicians contributing to this CD are from Slovenia (18 altogether, truly a whole orchestra, albeit not completely invisible and unknown, yet constantly audible and melodious). More importantly, the lyrics are of Slovene origin, authored by the finest Slovene man of letters of our time Feri Lainšček. He is not only a splendid author of often awarded and mass-read novels, but also a poet: a poet with a fine sense for rhythm and melody, and for the just right amount of words, music rendering them their own life, whilst the appropriate vocal interpretation gives them extensiveness that may not be discernible on paper.
Lainšček particularly succeeded in that on Nevidni orkester, a collection of 12 lyric impressions: the lyrics are linked together by a barely visible or, rather, a fine “invisible” thread that give Mia’s renditions an autobiographical touch without being pathetic; they are abundant with noble nostalgic and melancholic yearning for good old times when things were simple and solvable with no complications. It’s something we all feel once we step over that mid-life line and become filled with frequently painful and occasionally indescribable beautiful life experiences.
I’m under the impression that Nevidni orkester is designed around that neuralgic point and that this is exactly where the CD hides its charm, timeless universality, and magnificent beauty. Here, the words, sound of instruments, and vocal interpretation bind together, and also form an amalgam that surpasses its constituents; after listening to them a mere few times, they seem to be reminiscent of evergreens, songs that we’ve known for ages, but rarely hear.
Yes: some of the best compositions on Mia Žnidarič’s new CD (Z očetom, Nevidni orkester and Kam pojde ljubezen, for example) could easily fit into the not excessively big, yet precious treasury of greatest Slovene pop songs from the period when their sound was created by the great masters (Bojan Adamič, Mojmir Sepe, Mario Rijavec), and their lyrics (often in passing in the nearest coffeehouse) by poets like Gregor Strniša and Svetlana Makarovič. With an important distinction: these arrangements are more jazzy; the songs are much longer and feature at least one soloist, if not several; and they are sung by Mia Žnidarič, her voice soft, supple, and emotionally charged. Her singing style is characteristic and original, its creed perhaps best expressed in the verses of the introductory song Pesem namesto zlatnika: My dear knows very well I take / For myself song and not coins / That my heart is filled / With beauty that touches us all.
And Nevidni orkester is replete with beauty that should touch us all. It is replete with verbal, sonic, and interpretative grace, which is lately apparently becoming a thing of the past; a mere splendor we can not afford, or have forgotten how to. Mia Žnidarič offers it to us with her hands outstretched. Don’t miss it!

Mia Žnidarič Enchanted Zvezda Park
-Slovenske novice 8/4/08, by Andrej Predin

The music festival Sanje (Dreams) featured Mia Žnidarič, accompanied by a trio—CD Nevidni orkester (Invisible Orchestra) is one of the best examples of Slovene vocal jazz—The festival will present many distinguished musicians

Last Friday the most incredible Slovene jazz singer of all time, Mia Žnidarič, took the stage in Ljubljana’s Kongresni trg and, as part of the music festival Sanje, presented songs from her recently published album Nevidni orkester, as well as some older songs from her opulent repertoire. Although singing with a small group of musicians (piano and trumpet), she masterfully filled the space and frequently made it seem as if a whole symphonic orchestra was playing. She sung with an irrepressible grace that came as stealthfully and patiently as an iceberg upon the listener: and invited him to a dance. A huge crowd gathered before the stage, among them [the Slovene legendary singer/songwriter] Tomaž Pengov, author of the cult album Odpotovanja (Departings).
Mia’s voice carries on the tradition of the greatest jazz singers, such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. Interestingly enough, it is impossible to write about her without mentioning Lady Day; listening to Mia, we get a feeling they share common experiences. On the other hand, she has developed a recognizable and unique vocal style, founded on the power and the meaning of words. Many of her songs’ lyrics were written by authors like Svetlana Makarovič and Feri Lainšček, which adds to the importance of the text in Mia’s music. Moreover, she is a big admirer of literature; her huge library contains, among others, works of Rilke and [Slovene writer] Gregor Strniša. By nourishing the culture of the word, she became a patron of lyrics of quality and casted aside the claims of many musicians that singing in Slovene language is of inferior quality compared to graceful English or Croatian.
The introductory text on the Sanje festival’s web page informs us that Mia started perfecting her singing technique with Prof. Breda Brkič, continued with Prof. Nada Žgur, and lastly Prof. Jasna Spiller. The album Nevidni orkester - Invisible Orchestra came out beginning of this year and is no doubt one of the best vocal productions Slovenia has to offer. The lyrics were written by Lainšček and the music by Steve Klink. The musicians contributing to this album are outstanding; they include many of the Big Band RTV Slovenija soloists. The only problem has been an inconvenient publication date. The CD became available at the time when most of the summer music festivals already finished their programming selection, meaning that the promotional concert tour will probably carry over into the next music season.
The afore mentioned festival will feature many interesting performances; we can expect, among others, Tomaž Pengov, Katalena, Severa, Gal Gjurin, Čompa, Klemen Teran, and many others.

ZGOŠČENO Mia Žnidarič: Nevidni orkester (CD, Sanje, 2008)
-Večer 8/2/08, by Darinko Kores Jacks

Is it possible for something new and at the same time artistically perfect to still spring out of “standard,” popular jazz songs? All the attempts, even the most creative ones, barely give us an answer. Simply for this reason, the new album by the first lady of Slovene vocal jazz is a nice surprise. During her long absence from the music stage, Mia retained her characteristic style that never hides its fondness for basic blues, swing, and jazz classics of the golden era; but she has also expanded her expressional persuasiveness. The CD was recorded live with experienced musicians, most of them members of the Big Band RTV Slovenija, with just acoustic instruments and no wonders of (post)production technology; this affirms the genuineness of its sound. The music was written by Mia’s life companion, American pianist Steve Klink, and the lyrics by Slovenia's acknowledged man of words Feri Lainšček, who managed to perfectly interlace the lyrics' “generalities” and tune them specifically to Mia’s soul: she sings them almost as if they were her autobiographical declarations. They are quite sentimental, but this sentimentality is not forged and still less insipid. Besides, the poet Milan Dekleva summarizes it all best in his introductory note on the CD’s sleeve. And the sleeve is worth reading and seeing. Mia’s photographs by Neca Falk are well incorporated into the painted frames. Together, all the elements make an incredibly mature, completed almost to perfection “Gesamtkunstwerk” that manages to address both fastidious connoisseurs and mass, “average” audiences.

(5 stars of 5)

Translated to English from Slovene by Boštjan Malus

Archive Highlights:

Mia and the Steve Klink Trio
in the Philharmonic Hall

The singer Mia, the pianist Steve Klink, the bass player Henning Gailing and the drummer Kruno Levacic achieved something quite extraordinary in the Philharmonic Hall: Thanks to their feeling for the music and a maturely prepared performance they unraveled the mysterious beauty of the songs, called jazz standards.

It has to be said that the attraction of these songs lies in their harmony between melody and rhythm...something Mia is well aware of: with carefully designed musical phrases, sensual glissandos and tremolos she is slipping from the rationality of the language into the magic of pure music.

Besides the singer we should mention the original share of arrangements with which Steve Klink added new sonic colours to the standards as well as the inventive performance put up by the drummer and percussionist from Zagreb, Kruno Levacic. He was the man who provided the necessary spontaneity and unpredictability to the concert, without which there is no jazz happening.

An evening in which the trio demonstrated how a singer should be accompanied, how she should be helped and encouraged to be able to develop her expression fully, brought about a few pleasant conclusions: after a long period of time we have a first-rate Slovenian jazz singer. Mia has proven that her decision not to sing any trash hit music was right. She has been perfecting her technical knowledge- her impeccable intonation is helping her a lot at that. She sings what she masters. Her repertoire is becoming richer and more varied, and I dare predict a bolder and impending excursion into the labyrinths of improvisation.

To conclude: Mia and Steve Klink put up a concert which was, in spite of the performers' youth, professionally as well as in terms of the stage performance and the modeling of the sound material, thoroughly planned and prepared.

"Nezni nagovori pesmic" by Milan Dekleva
Dnevnik", 16. 4. 96

English translation by Tajda Lekse

The Fifth International Jazz Festival... Zagreb 1995

And finally, our musician, the drummer Kruno Levacic, in the Steve Klink Trio and together with Mia. His presence always guarantees good music and his friends from Koeln, where the American pianist Klink and the German contra-bass player H. Gailing have been playing for quite some time, were excellent at accompanying the young Slovenian singer Mia. They were well-trained, innovative and their virtuoso performance was one of the best examples of good jazz music.

Mia has been working for some years now with our young jazz musicians, but she has only now appeared in front of the audience in Zagreb and made a very good impression. More than the average vocal capacity, her natural interpretation of passionate ballads ("Squeeze me") or of shameless passion ("Sleeping Bee") and the astonishment in front of the order and disorder of this world, and all this expressed with an unusual virtuosity and truthfulness. Mia easily reaches notes with a rhythmic precision of a high quality vocal expression. It seems as if she had wrapped herself round her carefully selected songs respecting their message and establishing her own variations of the melody. We can conclude from all this that Mia is a real discovery, and when she improves her stage appearance, adds to her repertoire a few up-tempo songs, we'll have to acknowledge that she is probably the best female jazz singer who, considering the nearness of Slovenia, sings in our proximity.

"Peti medunarodni dani jazza..." by Miro Krizic
"Hrvatsko Slovo", Zagreb, 27.10.95

English translation by Tajda Lekse

On The Sunny Side Of Life

With her, everything is a moment. She can sing the same song only for a month or two. Then it seems to her that she already told everything just a moment before. She needs a new song. It's true that this is very strenuous for the musicians she works with, but that's the whole charm of it, too. When she finds the right song -- sometimes she is still pondering upon it between four and seven in the morning -- she tries to feel it and interpret it in her own way. And every time in some other way, because something new happens to her every time she sings it. Every time something new, she dares more every time.

All great female jazz singers -- if we come to think about it, we could hardly find many great male jazz singers -- were fighting their way through existential and social difficulties; they were brought up in the ghettos of black people, they didn't have any families and they always loved the wrong kind of men...All this contributed to the persuasive note of their singing about the eternal victims, this all brought about the unbearable sadness of their voices...The sexual revolution, female and racial emancipation (whatever these are!) have perhaps made such extreme experiences impossible. But Mia, even though she isn't black and her man doesn't beat her, feels related to the sad stories of her idols since she has had quite a few bitter experiences herself. All of her life she dreamt of becoming a singer. Not a star. A singer who would sincerely love her profession. So she kept listening to Billie Holiday, she listened and didn't eat, didn't sleep.

Considering the fact that she came to do what she is doing now as an ordinary worker, she knows exactly what it means to be doing something you don't want to do. Or to experience things which shouldn't happen to you. She had to leave behind the patterns she was taught as a child and find her own ones. And that requires a lot of strength....

When she, by chance, found herself side by side with the American piano player Steve Klink last autumn, they decided right after their tour with the Big Band Orchestra that she should make a quieter, softer, and a more intimate album next. And so, in the midst of the summer heat this year, Steve, the German counter-bass player Henning Gailing, and the 19 year old Irish drummer Darren Beckett came to Ljubljana. Mia put them up at her place where they cooked together (the guys doing the dishes!), walked the dog, and in the meantime occupied the Studio Tivoli for three days, working with Janez Krizaj, excellent sound engineer and producer. Before, all Mia's songs were recorded live, at concerts, because she didn't feel she could give as much in a cold studio as in front of an audience, on stage.

But when she put on her earphones and glanced at the three musicians she felt united with them in a single "silence within music," confidence, friendship, love...Every day they played twice all the songs from her repertoire and what turned out to be impeccable in the end was included in Mia's album "Hold My Hand," so far her favorite. "It was very tiring, but beautiful. We all knew those creative moments would be recorded forever. We had to do our best. There are no half ways." ...It doesn't surprise us, therefore, that this album sounds different from her previous ones. It doesn't concern only the arrangements; this album is what we could call the real, the original sound of jazz. Also her voice and her pronunciation of English have been perfected. The recordings for the Film "Grandma Goes South," and the albums "It's Just Luck" and the first Slovenian small sized CD "What a Wonderful World," the cassette for children "Mia, the Dwarf and the Dreamer," and another jazz project in Slovene, "No, No, It's Not to be Done," recorded with the Big Band, these are all a huge lesson - more or less good, more or less costly (if we only think of incessant organization and money problems.) In a way, it seems as if Mia didn't believe any more in what she did in the past.

"Time enriches us. Every time I go off the stage, I know more, I'm able to do more, I know better what I want and how I want to say it; that's how I progress. If I stayed in the same place, I've nothing more to do on stage. If in two months this album doesn't sound as good to me as it does now, I will have moved a step further."

"Na soncni strani Zivljenja" by Bostjan Malus Stop, Nov. 3 - 9, 1995

English translation by Tajda Lekse

Paupers in the footsteps of princes (I Wish I Knew How)

It is ages since I have heard an album of such sincere, pure and beautiful music! There is no pretence, no contrivance. Quite the opposite: it is a unanimous affirmation, a bursting forth, a glow of sounds and a surrender to music. The album by Mia Znidaric and the Steve Klink Trio is a sticking-plaster on the wound of a hysterical and deformed world whose triumph is the spectacular nature of artificial worlds and computer simulations, an album masking itself in consecration and divinity.

Here, on this album, we find consecrated and deified humanity, the heroism of our transitoriness, which is at the same time the gift of song. The gift of song is our spiritual and biological truth, whether we want it or not. Our common calling is the call to words and sounds, the incantation of time. It is, in other words, our measure and destiny, the pulse and consciousnes of momentary eternity and eternal momentariness.

This is what Mia Žnidarič's songs deal with, and thus they are full of noble sadness, yearning and melancholy. But beware! They are never spasmodically pathetic or dissatisfied with man's position in an infinite world. Wherever we are going we are paupers in the footsteps of princes. Mia knows, despite her youth (or perhaps because of it) that the most banal occurrences and images of our daily existence are a miracle, a death and a resurrection, a game of silences and sound. The power of Mia's singing lies in her formulation of sound, in the quavering of her throat, in the glissandos and tremolos which follow the naturalness and regularity of breathing, our first and last song. Hidden in the details, her manner of expressing a lyric or melodic phrase, there lies the inspiration of the moment, a source of improvisation and unrepeatability.

This album does nothing to excess, in the same way that there is no excess in the swelling of spring, the colour of October, the whiteness of snow and the wetness of an animal's snout. At the end of the millennium, after the barbarisms we have witnessed, at the threshold of apocalyptic dread, we have reached the beginning of history. Once again we are cruel but kind-hearted. Most of all, we are mysterious and unpredictable beings.

The music of Mia Žnidarič, Steve Klink, Henning Gailling and Krunoslav Levacic is an itinerary of this beginning, a gentle whisper of the unspoilt and unblemished possibilities of being here like a song, to be and to sing.

Milan Dekleva