Anja & Zlatna is an ensemble that preserves the beauty of traditional melodies from the beautiful Balkans and beyond, enhancing them with the structural architecture of baroque.
Aleksandra (Anja) Acker: Artistic Director and Voice
Kirsty Morphett: Voice and Guitar
Donald Nicolson: Harpsichord and Organ
Michael O’Connor: Flute
Andrew Tanner: Acoustic Bass, Balalaika and Jew’s Harp
Matthew Horsley: Percussion, Uilleann Pipe
Ryan Williams: Recorders
“With harmony intrinsic to these songs, the match of voices is a delight….
The versatility of the four instrumentalists is matched only by the charm of the unexpectedness of their combination…. The perfect music that makes the listener want to dance, sing or simply hear more…”
Classic Melbourne, Anja & Zlatna’s Album review by Suzanne Yanko, October, 2014
Aleksandra (Anja) Acker has formed Anja & Zlatna in 2013. The ensemble seeks to preserve the beauty of traditional melodies and enhance them with the structural architecture of Baroque, whilst fusing the practices of 17th century and folk improvisational languages. It has a unique sound, due in part to original approach to instrumentation; the use of harpsichord in a predominant role is a key factor – sometimes one hears multiple guitars, sometimes a cimbalom or the texture of an accordion. The various possibilities of the modern flute are explored, the sounds ranging from baroque flute to Eastern wind instruments such as kaval or ney with their intriguing vibrato and intonations. The techniques used by the vocalists vary from traditional European technique to Bulgarian chest voice. The versatility of the double-bass is derived from folk instruments such as the Russian balalaika family (and look out for a cameo appearance from the ever-popular mouth harp, also referred to as a Jew’s Harp). The ensemble has released two exceptionally well-received albums of this moving music: ‘Ruse Kose’ and ‘Oj, Vesela Veselice’. We welcome the talents of our new percussionist, who brings with him a variety of new and unexpected timbres of the uilleann pipea and delightful, virtuoso on recorders of many kinds – Ryan Williams!