Have the right people at the right time and history can be written. Evropi is a soundtrack for a continent in crisis. 600 concerts 22 countries and 3 years of touring in support of their previous album brought Daniel Benjamin and Eleni Zafiriadou aka SEA + AIR at the right place to experience big events happening all over Europe. The magic of the moment and the impressive encounters inspired to imagine a great album that captures the present turmoil.
The wind blows, the waves break and the album opens with an alarming and mesmerizing obtrusiveness. We All Have to Leave Someday, remembers the thousands running for their lives. Does disaster strike or is it a chance for something new? Eerie singing and warm Mediterrean instruments make a way through a past full of traditions and a hopeful future.
Follow Me Me Me has the same urgency and follows thematically afoot, but combines ultra sharp drummachines with the sound of the harpsichord (Sea + Air’s previous album My Heart’s Sick Chord) was a very originial rendition of Bach’s favourite instrument and music into rock sounds.
Their own family history of migration and seeing all what happened through the eyes of two young artist resulted in new ideas while being on tour. Without any equipment to record, only the best ideas survived in the mind.
Seeing all those different faces across Europe helped to recognize part of yourself. That strange tension hallmarks the music. On the one side there are all kinds of electronics, but also Greek folk instruments. The darkness of the past wrestles with a bright future. There is even something wayward about the use of voice: Daniel singing falsetto and Eleni androgynous. It makes for a very remarkable musical adventure, labelled by the husband and wife as ghost pop.
Should I Care definitely is more radio friendly with simple lyrics that wonder what it all does to one when it is all so present. The harmonious singing of Daniel and Eleni is just beautiful.
Mercy Looks Good on You makes new wave sound afresh, stating what makes beautiful.
Meeting Ukrainian fans with a foreboding war made a big impression. Peace Begins At Home For many in their generation war does feel like something for away, but sometimes it is closer than we realize: “Felt like fighting but could not find a war, sometime I am looking for a random enemy”. Peace begins at home, with friends and family is no luxurious wisdom for a time as ours. If only it was as accessible as this beautiful song.
High ideals of peace and mercy do stand, although Misery laments again what is not right.
Flowers From The Distance experiments with Byzantine singing and the rhythmic and emotional freedom of age old music.
But in all dismay, uproar and coming changes Pain is Just a Cloud tells: “I want you to remember flowers, I want you to remember trees, remember rainy hours making us freeze, I want you to remember laughter, I want to remember peace, remember the beauty after the sun came out,” It is remarkable that the young artists don’t retreat into cynicism but keep believing in what gives life.
The orchestral Lady Evropi explores the relationship between Greece and its exit out of Europe.
Hahahahaha can get a whole stadium go wild with its game of extremes followed by the goose bump factor of We Understand You in its embrace of everybody: those who lost their dreams, those that curse the day they were born, those who are after a gold rush, those who hate themselves … we understand you, we are here for you, we care for you. This is a far cry of megalomania, this is Daniel and Eleni as you get to know them travelling through Europe.
This epic travel story end with a disarming ode to Love, You Are. The haunting violoncellos and the stilled voices are often heard as the finale of night to remember.
Evropi is a daring, fascinating and personal portrait of two young artists that thrusts itself as an alarming soundtrack for a continent in uproar, averse to all that is trendy and with a wink to what has gone before, anchored in a great artistic project, trusting in the possibilities of peace, hope and love. History being written.
Sea + Air, Evropi, Glitterhouse Records 2015