“Stephanos embodied Firdaus’s rawness with authenticity and conviction … this was a privileged first look at an arresting new piece of music theatre.”
“When you speak different languages different strings vibrate in your body and different parts of your character come out. It’s about bringing out these different characters in the story and making them part of this dream world. I’m still figuring it out but I just want to take them with me”
The Four Arab Popular Songs, which closed the afternoon [were] the concert’s undoubted highlight. Stephanos was quite superb in the delivery of each song … Stephanos has that great gift of being able to impart the gist of each song without the listener needing even one word of Arabic to follow its lyrics. There were gestures and restrained body and eye movements throughout, and which proved all the more tantalising …
Stephanos’ performance evoked images of the legendary Sevdah singer Amira Medunjanin, from Sarajevo, who sung with the same depth of tone and estranged yearning.
Merit Ariane Stephanos sung chants from the Egyptian Coptic tradition, in a pliant, graceful voice … As the evening wore on the overlappings between the East and West traditions grew bolder, until eventually we heard an entire piece of Western polyphony from all six voices, with the three Arab voices floating ecstatically on top. The sheer sound was dizzying, and the metaphor it offered of things long-separated coming back together was moving too.
Who or what has been the greatest influence on your music?
“I remember when I first discovered Sevdah, the folk music from Bosnia … I was captured not only by the beautiful, often sad songs, but also by the fact that they are a real melting pot of cultures. I loved hearing the different voices come through together and it inspired me to include all of who I am in my music.”
Orientalischen Jazz” bringt die Musikerin Merit Ariane Stephanos aus London ins Stadthaus. Aufgewachsen ist die Sängerin in Reutti.