Stephan Micus: Panagia (ECM/Ode)

 |   |  <1 min read

Stephan Micus: You Are a Shining Spring
Stephan Micus: Panagia (ECM/Ode)

In a previous profile of the German-born musician Stephan Micus (here), I noted that his musical journey has run parallel to a deeply spiritual one and this album -- his 20th for ECM, settings of six Byzantine Greek prayers alongside quietly moving instrumentals -- would seem the culmination of a particular voyage.

As always the multi-instrumentalist and singer reaches beyond perhaps the more literal interpretations and from the opener I Praise You Unfading Rose (the album's title refers to the Greek word for female goddess, sometimes the Virgin Mary) he sounds more like a Hindu monk chanting a slow prayer.

And You Are the Treasure of Life which follows uses temple bells and dilruba (an Indian bowed violin-type instrument) to take the mood down even further into a meditative state.

The Greek element is more apparent in pieces like I Praise You Lady of Passion (a piece for 22 voices) and I Praise You Sacred Mother (20 voices) but mostly this is world music of no fixed cultural abode (but emphatically not New Age), like the best of Micus' work.

For more on the fascinating background to this album you should go here, but in the absence of any information this quiet, philosophical and gently mesmerising album transcends musical and spiritual boundaries.

An acquired taste perhaps but one to really turn off your mind and drift downstream . . .

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

JOE LOVANO INTERVIEWED (2008): Life is in the learning

JOE LOVANO INTERVIEWED (2008): Life is in the learning

At 55, Joe Lovano is one of the leading saxophonists of his generation, and has a career notable for its diversity. He has played straight ahead and swing, worked with Cuban musicians and... > Read more

KEVIN FIELD PROFILED (2012): The vision thing . . .

KEVIN FIELD PROFILED (2012): The vision thing . . .

Auckland jazz keyboard player Kevin Field has had a couple of major turning points in his career. One came when, at age 18, he realised he didn't want to pursue his classical piano studies to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

U2'S ZOOROPA TOUR (1993): A report from the frontline when TV comes to town

U2'S ZOOROPA TOUR (1993): A report from the frontline when TV comes to town

The whisper-voice and marble polish Hilton Hotel in Melbourne isn’t the sort of place you’d normally associate with rock ‘n’ roll. Suits and chic glide by, uniforms open... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The White Stripes; Under Great White Northern Lights (XL CD and DVD)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The White Stripes; Under Great White Northern Lights (XL CD and DVD)

When this live album and tour film was released a couple of years back it trailed some approving critical reviews but seemed to be greeted with less enthusiasm by White Stripe fans, some of whom I... > Read more