Pivoting off the folk music of her native Albania to get to jazz was not difficult for Vjollca Robelli Mripa, especially when she found she had a dire message to convey: the unbelievable story of women in a small town who still follow traditions that seem tragically outdated and sexist to the rest of us.
Her heritage gave the music its foundation in chordal structure and rhythm, but jazz allowed riffing off ideas and lightened it up. Just a touch.
To match the story she is explaining, her voice is honey-sweet, punctuated by quick catches that suggest a cry of sorrow. Yet she can soar with the angels and continues to sing a story of hope, and life, as it is, full of low and high points.
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