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Mirna Bogdanović – “Confrontation” Text by Wolf Kampmann

With no instrument can humans come closer to the vibrations of nature, than with the voice – it is given to us just as unconditionally as sight and blood circulation. To a certain extent, the human voice is our acoustic DNA: distinctive and unique. When a singer finds her way back to nature with her voice, the circle that symbolizes the origin of all music-making closes.

Mirna Bogdanović is a young singer from Slovenia. Although she is still at the very beginning of her promising career, she has long been a fixture in the alternative jazz movement in Berlin. With the impartiality of the debutante, she can and wants to occupy new territory without having to commit to direction and goal in advance. The implicitness with which she does this is already revealed by a self-confident artist who is not content with setting accents, but has what it takes to become a voice that cannot be ignored.

Mirna Bogdanović intuitively knows how to get involved with the essence – landscapes, weather phenomena, seasons. It is not only her lyrics that fill these natural forms with life in her songs, but it is the singer’s unconditional will to immerse herself in her surroundings and to imagine them vocally.

Mirna Bogdanović came up with the basic ideas for this album during her studies at the Jazz Institute Berlin. Even then she felt the need to combine instrumental music and singing in such a way that the instruments don’t just have to serve as a background or support for the voices. Nor did she want to limit herself to one genre. For her, jazz is not a corset, but an open form of movement. Moments of pop, electronic music and classical music are just as dear to her as music that is commonly subsumed under jazz. And why repeat what is already there a thousand times over? Driven by the need to only make audible what she wanted to hear herself, she rejected all the rules and only followed her gut feeling. Thus ensuring that what wanted to happen, should happen. “In instrumental concerts I often feel like it’s missing a voice. At the same time, I always feel a little overwhelmed by the voice in vocal concerts. I said to myself, let me find a way in which I can feel content.”

Not too many singers have the strength to make themselves independent from the vocal point of view in their own music. Mirna Bogdanović succeeds in squaring the circle by thinking like a pianist, guitarist, saxophonist or producer. After all, she originally studied classical piano. The long, precisely worked out instrumental parts are much more than intros, interludes or typical jazz solo parts. They are statements for themselves and tell their own stories. When the voice is added, the songs often take a completely different direction. This unpredictable balance of all components, along with the harmony of strengths, is what makes her album so powerful.

The vocal parts are not just about Mirna Bogdanović’s own voice. Her extremely rich coloring is far from being enough for her. Dora Osterloh and Pauline Peek, both distinctive individualists for their part, not only give the bandleader support, but also confidently set their own accents. “Confrontation” is therefore the organic and often confrontational interplay of a vocal ensemble with an instrumental band. Guitarist Arne Braun, keyboardist Povel Widestrand, bassist Felix Henkelhausen and drummer Fabian Rösch have known Mirna Bogdanović since her study days. They are all among the young all-rounders on Berlin’s international jazz scene. She knows from countless situations that she can count on these musicians one hundred percent. And trust is important to her. With the saxophonist and synth player Wanja Slavin, the band is completed by an experienced player.

A third component besides singing and playing the instruments is post production. Together with Wanja Slavin, the singer worked on the songs for a long time after the music was recorded, in order to bring them into their final form. The open-ended game of manipulation possibilities in a real-time production, has as much to do with improvisation as well as the spontaneous movement that happens in the moment. In individual cases they moved as far away from the original recording as possible in order to completely rebuild the respective song.

Vocal and instrumental, individual and collective, real-time and post-production, perception and reality – there are many confrontations on this album. Mirna Bogdanović can withstand not leveling every contradiction or resolving every paradox. Because life is not what we want it to be, but life is what it is.

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