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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Image © Savannah 2006

Savanna Zwi
Image © Savannah 2008

Xamavar's Artists
Image © Xamavar 2008

Image © Savannah 2008


(12 May 2008) Originally from Australia, Savannah currently resides in Tel Aviv, Israel and she has made a name for herself working as the lead singer for the rock metal band, Xamavar. The band's music combines Scottish bagpipes and classical violin while relentless drums leap from metal to punk to prog, while haunting lyrics are chanted by Savannah's pure, aggressive and seductive feminine voice. In addition to her work with Xamavar, Savannah has begun work on a solo project as singer/songwriter that showcases her stunning voice in a very different style to her work with Xamavar. Savannah left Xamaver to pursue her solo career at the end of May 2008.

Savannah is a petite and beautiful blonde with a smashing voice that has tremendous power and impact. Her excellent piano playing is a tribute to her mentor and dear frind that taught her to play based on hearing, jazz and understanding chords. Her music is quite touching and dramatic and she is equally strong in the presentation of her compositions. She is currently taking vocal training, and her vocal coach has said that Savannah has some unusual qualities to her vocals that the coach would not change and wants Savannah to keep her unique style and talent. Singing and songwriting is not her sole profession, and her day job involves graphic arts. She attained her degree in Fine Arts and Design while living in Australia.

Xamavar's music is quite intense and the artists in the group are quite diverse: Savannah (vocals) is a vivacious opera-trained jazz singer from Australia; Shaemus (bagpipes) was instructed by some of the best pipers in Scotland; Jenia Fab (violin) received a meticulous musical education in St. Petersburg; Xachi (drums) performed all over Europe with a renowned Israeli orchestra; and Ramy (bass) is a self-taught musician and a devoted flower-child. The lyrics are jointly crafted by Shaemus and Savannah who are both gifted poets.

"Blind Still Trill" is the opening track on the Xamavar four track EP. It fuses bagpipes and soaring vocals. Savannah's voice is put to the test with the wide ranging octave work and intensity of the music. There is great clarity to her singing in this very original track. The Celtic flair of the music combined with Savannah's incredible range is quite adventurous. The second track is called "Older Pink" and changes pace to the aggressive and demanding vocals. There is a frenetic pace to the music and complexity of style. Savannah's pure and distinct tones erupt with energy throughout this song. "Spongy Doom" continues with the complex Xamavar style that combines a vast array of influences, cultures and styles in their music. These three songs are the first songs to be independently released by Xamavar, indicative of the eruptive energy and the mesmerizing/friendly complexity of their material. The song, "Blind Still Trill" appeared on the compilation CD Israel Unleashed, released by JMG in November 2007.

Savannah's music takes a very different turn with her solo work, where she can be likened to Eleisha Eagle and her theatrical style. "Red Dead Week" highlights her beautiful voice with simple piano accompaniment. There is a richness of tone while maintaining sensitivity in her lyrics. She performs with dramatic flair which draws in the listener to her tale. The next song, "Ocean of Love," is a catchy track that is quite upbeat and theatrical. The sound is reminiscent of Chicago with her sultry and provacative sound. Her playful piano contributes to the memorable melody and lighthearted lyrics.

The ballad "Moonlight" mesmerizes the listener while Savannah sings with great emotion and sensuality. The delicate and enticing melody is intertwined with her breathy vocals and musical swirls. She sings with great determination and passion. There is a rawness to the music and vocals in "Dogs of the Wind." The emotive quality to her yearning voice in this piece create a dramatic flair. The song then segues into an almost playful sequence, and then recedes to its almost aching sound.

"Potential Black" is reminiscent of Rachael Sage and her bold theatrical style. There is an intensity and vibrancy to her lazy and sultry vocals and percussive piano style in this track. "Galilee" evokes a haunting feel to this emotive melody. Savannah performs this song most delicately, yet with great authority. There is a subdued strength in her interpretive and richly toned vocals that creates an emotional poignancy. The pace changes in "Frigid Bird’s Walk" with a more teasing and mischevious tune. The song is enticing and almost has an hypnotic feel.

Musical Discoveries had the opportunity to attend a live rehearsal with Savannah and her band. All of these songs were performed with electric and bass guitar, drums and of course, keyboards. The instrumental accompaniment certainly added to the textures of the songs and to the intense and dramatic quality of her singing. Savannah also performed a new song that was written the day before, and the band worked on their musical interpretation and it was fascinating to see the emergence and metamorphosis of a new sound.

Savannah has an incredible talent that combines evocative singing with tremendous percussive piano. She has a range of vocal emotion as well as a wonderful theatrical style. Her creativity in songwriting and musical interest makes her an extremely promising artist. Her dynamic style illustrates sheer vocal power and prowess, a wide range and enticing ability. Savannah definitely delivers her music with a punch, and this delightful songstress has a wonderful future ahead.--Audrey Elliot in New York and Russ Elliot in New York

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