Album: Winter Tale by CLAUDIA BALLA

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A gorgeous display of ethnic folk themes infused with pop and classical leanings makes Winter Tale an entirely arresting listen from the very first notes to the very last.

 The latest album from the Geneva-based, Swiss singer and songwriter Claudia Balla, gets very clear from the start of Winter Tale that Balla is not your ordinary singer and songwriter. Her distinct and nuanced vocals come loaded with a strong character that is offset by genuine vulnerability making just focusing on her voice a compelling journey on its own. Then comes her choice of themes and styles, which makes up the other half of the equation. Winter Tale sounds just like what you would imagine stepping into an Eastern European fairy tale land would sound like. Indeed, for the Budapest native, residing and operating from Geneva, European folk is instilled deep within Balla’s character, and her forays into the genre sound wholly and completely organic, effortless, and breezily poignant.   

 Rich with spicy, choral dissonance, the songs on Winter Tale are gentle and mystical harmonic and melodic adventures. Mainly populated by a grand piano and a lush scene of backing vocals that support Balla’s main delivery. The pianos are more often than not percussive and the notes are rich in the upper end of their dynamic range, giving them that distinctive fairytale-like quality, along with the masterfully voiced, performed, and produced choir lines, with the multiple lines moving often in dazzling counterpoints that are truly captivating, make for a serene bed of instrumentation that sounds just delightful on each one of the album’s 15 pieces, varying in length.

 The compositions on Winter Tale also showcase Balla’s stellar range as a songwriter. Ranging from the mellow, romantic, and whimsical, like ‘Don’t Really’ and ‘Could I’, to haunted forest-invoking soundscapes in songs like ‘Likely’ and ‘Drive’, with ‘Could I’ landing somewhere between those two worlds. With a wealth of interludes that connect each 2 “main” songs with roughly a minute of choral work, the experience of Winter Tale is a polished and smooth one. A seamless listen from each beautiful song to a provocative interlude, to another beautiful song.

 ‘Winter Tale’ comes to prove Claudia Balla not only as a very worthy candidate for your attention on the Euro music scene, but also as a truly capable and skilled crafter of songs, weaver of scenery, creator of atmospheres, and an artist with an outstanding vision and impeccable taste. With Winter Tale Claudia Balla has gained a new fan who will be watching closely to see what artistic forays she will go through with her upcoming releases.

 



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