(30 April 2011) Savannah's debut EP Red Dead Week, released in 2010, provided the first insight to the artist's solo recordings in the run up to her full length album. The artist fronted the Israeli rock band Xamavar previously but set off on her own in 2008. Musical Discoveries visitors will likely recall our review of her work with the band and her first batch of demo recordings. Savannah has continued to hone her sound and worked with different producers to mature the songs. Our review copy of Savannah's full length album, Potential Black (2011), includes initial concepts for the booklet cover front and back as well as jewel box artwork. An update on Savannah's work is included below.
Savannah began playing and writing at a young age. From her early years she enjoyed improvisation and composition, studying the guitar, piano and saxophone. Savannah told us that her first music teacher Phil Marks continues to be an amazing mentor and inspiration. Her compositions cross a variety of genres following the cycles of her life and dreams. A graduate of the College of Fine Art in Sydney, (Bachelor of Digital Media, COFA, UNSW) Savannah is also a painter and performance artist. She fuses her practice as a musician with her work as a fine artist: her paintings and performance pieces investigate the junction between colour and sound.
Sexy, demure, ethereal, always exciting, displaying influences from Tori Amos to Chick Corea by way of Joni Mitchell, Savannah's sound brims with energy and passion, and within her doll-like figure, belies a heart-breaking voice. She is a skilled singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist that marries raw emotional ballads, jazzier upbeat numbers and tension-filled rock with fantastical costumes and stage design, following in the footsteps of her couture-designing mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
Today Savannah performs regularly in and around Tel Aviv, her music brimming with energy and passion. She sings and plays the piano, her performance including an ensemble of double bass (Noam Elron) and violin (Tomer Einat). The effect is mesmerizing, with pieces ranging from intimate ballads to jazzier upbeat numbers. Savannah engages the audience, opening her heart and captivating them with the emotional charge of her voice. Her unique repertoire combines her own work with English translations and reinterpretations of familiar Israeli songs by artists such as Arkadi Duchen and Eviatar Banai.
Savannah's second album A Call From Home is already in the making. With an outstanding response to live performances of this material, it will be a collection of popular Israeli songs that the artist has translated to English and re-interpreted with her signature sensitivity and a jazz-oriented twist.
In addition to her work with Xamavar and her solo projects, Savannah also performs with with the jazz and blues ensemble "The Bishbash Sextet" whose music is influenced by the classic era of the 50s and 60s and "The Perfectly Marvellious Cabaret" where she belts out Broadway classics.
In May 2011, Savannah will sing and play piano with the Ahsdod Symphony Orchestra and international stars Leonid Ptashka (jazz pianist) and Gil Shohat (classical pianist) in a series of shows called "Classical Meets Jazz." She received three grants from the Israeli Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Absorption (for artists) that have given her some great artistic kudos with musical afficionados around the country, particularly in the more serious jazz and classical scene.
Potential Black is a collection of eleven carefully crafted songs, produced and mixed by Gal Padeh. It was mastered at Sterling Sound by Justin Schturtz in 2010. In the final version of the album the sound is substantially more polished and is certainly ready to be shopped around for the commercial next step. The songs included on this new recording are all Savannah's standards and we've been given the opportunity to hear them develop since meeting the artist in 2008.
New mixes of Savannah's standards include superb renditions of "Galilee," "Read Dead Week," "Frigid Bird's Waltz" and an amazing version of "Dogs Of the Wind." The new editions of "Friend Of Mine" performed very very gently atop chilling piano, an outstanding arrangement of "Better Than Twelve" and the everso rousing "Potential Black" are outstanding. Savannah's newer songs "Margie," "Kiss and a Contrabass" and "Warp & Weft" have been given a fresh new sound. We especially liked the way the arrangements were handled in the new production. "Raincloth" is the most upbeat and rockiest number on the album. Savannah knows that we'd love to hear more from her in that style.
Visitors should read more about the tracks in our earlier reviews. This recording clearly shows listeners where Savannah began contrasting the sound of her new work and demonstrating significant artistic growth. It won't be long before a label signs Savannah and her music is heard in territories far from her current home in Israel. Bravo!