Jelena Jakubovitch

The Russian singer Jelena Jakubovitch was born in Moscow. As a young girl she caught the attention of the classical composer Dmitri Shostakovitch when he heard Jelena sing Gypsy romances he was struck by the sensibility of interpretation, the depth and control of the voice, all combined with an extraordinary musicality in short, those rare and indisputable qualities that make a great artist.

For many years her repertoire featured mainly Russian poetry set to music that mostly she wrote herself. She sang poems by the great Russian 20th Century poets - Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelstam, and Marina Tsvetayeva, and by modern poets such as Bulat Okudzhava. She performed regularly across Europe during the 1980s, and a concert to a packed Theatre de la Ville inspired the French press to dub her a Russian Piaf.

But Jelena never forgot the words of Shostakovtich, and she longed to return to and explore the Russian Gypsy music that had inspired her as a child. She decided to make a record with Gypsy songs and romances from her enormous collection of recordings (dating back to the 1910). She picked her favourite pieces, many of them well known, others less so. But she did not want to record the songs in the traditional way, with guitar, violin, etc. The idea was to record the Russian Gypsy songs and romances using the instruments of the Gypsy diaspora. In other words, she sent the Russian melodies on a journey, drawing a musical line from India (the sitar), through North Africa (string instruments like the kanun and the oud, plus the drum) and Greece (the bouzouki) to Spain and France, with their guitars.

To do this, she contacted young Swedish musicians, well acquainted with music from various parts of the world. They, in turn, put her in touch with Gypsy musicians, both in Scandinavia and in other countries. The result is 'Burn Burn Gypsy Love', a groundbreaking new CD, which invites the listener to a world of powerful and often desperate eroticism, of secret meetings and exotic parties. The passion and depth of Jelenas voice is beautifully complemented by the musicianship of her accomplished band.

Recently she has caught the attention of another formidable artist from a different world - Benny Andersson. An original and quite wonderful singer who opens the door to a musical treasury that many of us have seldom or never been encountered before, Benny has said of Jelena, and in October 2011 he invited her to perform at his Stockholm venue Rival.

Jelena lives in Stockholm with her husband Bengt Jangfeldt, Professor of Literature and best-selling author in Sweden.

Carthage Music administers music publishing rights for Jelena Jakubovitch worldwide.