21:34 p.m. The audience has taken their seats and waits patiently for the musician to enter the concert room at Punane Maja. The stage is bathed in a cosy, subdued evening light of blue and violet tones which spread a cosy and romantic atmosphere, inviting us to get lost in dreams and – above all – to prepare for the actual programme of the evening: Liina Saar’s Evening Songs.
When the smiling faces of Liina Saar and her band entered the stage and played the first song, the atmosphere of comfort was perfect.
The band delivered what the title of her new album promises. The Evening songs were as beautiful as they were melancholic, but also spherical and playful – a palette of different sounds that invited you to dive into a dream world. When you closed your eyes, you could easily move into a cosy living room near a warm and cosy crackling fireplace or under a starry summer sky while listening to the sounds of Liina’s soft, warm voice.
The lyrics of the Evening Songs inspire dreams and thoughts. Liina uses the profound words of Estonian poets and manages to harmonise them with melodic, rhythmic and atmospheric accuracy. For example “Raudahjus põlesid puud” (“Wood was burning in an Iron Stove”) by Betti Alver, a rather sad and desperate poem about love. Liina Saar manages to transform this text into such a wonderfully sad and at the same time beautiful song that the audience themselves might have fallen into a tender melancholy. If you took a look at the audience, you would look into dreamy and pensive faces – the audience was visibly lost in another world.
Liina has a very pleasant warm and somewhat breathy voice, which integrated perfectly with the overall sound of the band, which consists of pianist Joel Remmel, guitarist Jaan Jaanson, bassist Mihkel Mälgrand, drummer Ahto Abner and two background singers Ingrid Rabi and Sandre Eowyn. Although the stage was full of different musicians, they managed to develop a homogeneous sound that didn’t let any of the instruments stand out. The background singers also remained in the background so delicately, contributing to an even more complete, pleasant sound. Overall, everything was very balanced.
When you think of a jazz festival, Liina Saar’s music might not be what you expect. The songs had a lot of pop influence and only few jazz elements. This was only brought in by the solo interludes of Joel Remmel and Jaan Jaanson, who understood how to even move a dreaming audience to teeter through grandiose improvisations.
If you want to escape from reality for an evening and experience a cosy night with deep lyrics and wonderfully soft music, Liina Saar and her Evening Songs are just the thing for you.
LIINA SAAR “Evening songs”
Friday 19th April 2019
Liina Saar: vocal, compositions
Joel Remmel: piano
Jaan Jaanson: guitar
Mihkel Mälgand: double bass
Ahto Abner: drums
Ingrid Rabi: backing vocal
Sandre Eowyn: backing vocal
Check out photos from the concert here