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

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

JACK DeJOHNETTE INTERVIEWED (2011): Two Jacks and a Miles

When fame called on Jack DeJohnette during his period in Miles Davis' innovative electric band of the late Sixties and early Seventies, he was ready for it. Acclaim outside their own world is... > Read more

ALBARE INTERVIEWED (2013): Has career, will travel

ALBARE INTERVIEWED (2013): Has career, will travel

Melbourne-based guitarist Albare – born Albert Dadon – has made quite a journey through jazz. It has involved more than a few countries, time away from playing as director of the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SALVADOR DALI, HIS MUSEUM IN FIGUERES: The Disneyland of the disturbed

SALVADOR DALI, HIS MUSEUM IN FIGUERES: The Disneyland of the disturbed

Of all the monuments a man has built to himself few, if any, are more bizarre than the grand conceit Salvador Dali designed in a burned-out theatre in his birthplace of Figueres. A little... > Read more

JOHN PAUL JONES OF LED ZEPPELIN INTERVIEWED (2003): The songs remain reissued

JOHN PAUL JONES OF LED ZEPPELIN INTERVIEWED (2003): The songs remain reissued

They might have been the biggest band in the world at the time, but they were openly despised, ignored or condemned by critics. Even later, after the shouting had died and a clearer perspective was... > Read more