A few days ago an email dropped into my inbox from Ana Patan offering a free download of her recently released album, Spice, Gold and Tales Untold. There was no mention of that artist in the Crotchety Vaults and she offered no description of her music, just the briefest of comments: “I like what you like”. It was an invitation to leap into the unknown. Or, at least, to go on a little adventure. The journey might be a road to nowhere or it might lead to exotic tastes and unimagined riches. In any case, it had sparked a mysterious itch that just had to be scratched.
The album opens with jazzy guitar chords wafting in on an easterly wind. Electric bass and rimshot drumming add a gentle groove. We could be wandering through a Turkish bazaar. Almost immediately a voice breaks in. It is not the call of a merchant selling fruit to the locals or trashy trinkets to the tourists, it’s a documentary-maker describing the enigmatic beauty of a woman with eyes of amber. She has golden skin, a regal poise. She is an icon of sensuality. But she cares not for these attributes. Her mind is on other things; things she will not share with us.
We have come just a few steps on our journey of discovery and we are already spellbound.
Moving on we find that the world is part of a General Conspiracy to impede our progress. The car won’t start. Thumping the steering wheel and kicking the road wheels doesn’t help. Controlled frustration spills out from the instruments. But there’s no sense getting too worked up about it; tomorrow is another day. And soon the irritation is washed away. We find ourselves so much in love that we can’t resist the temptation to express it in a pop song. We know this trivialises love, but right now that doesn’t matter at all.
It is time to check the map and plan the route ahead. Hills of joy and valleys of anger alternate, as they must. But it is a green and pleasant land that we are travelling through and the lounge jazz of Ana Patan’s trio provides much warmth and comfort along the way. The overall sound reminds me of Maria Muldaur or, perhaps, Sally Barker. The themes are the Yin and Yang of humanity: love and affection on the one side, selfishness and greed on the other. Ana’s voice is clear and soothing; the lyrics are always clever and often poetic. And the three musicians fill the sound space perfectly. There’s no need for keyboards or horns or backing vocals.
Of course, Ana’s gift of music was gratefully accepted. In return, a link to her album was shared on the mighty Hubzilla and a big dollop of platonic love was poured into this blog post. If you like a little jazz in your life Spice, Gold and Tales Untold will provide a satisfying accompaniment, whatever you are doing and wherever you are going. Spread the word. It would be tragic if Ana Patan’s name should remain an exotic mystery.
P.S. 25th February
Ana tells me that I misinterpreted Undeciphered. It’s actually a song about cats. But I like beautiful women even more than I like cats and that headline photo is stunning. It sums up the album title wonderfully, too. Besides, inside every cat there’s the spirit of a goddess, isn’t there?