8 tracks. Total time - 29:42.
I found “Give to Grow” a fascinating album - it is a collaboration between Serbian composer/musician Millica Paranosic and a choir of Ghanaian school children, along with poetry written and performed by Roger Bonair-Agard. This is the nearest thing to a “world music” album that “Electroshock Records” has issued so far. The album‘s remit is very broad, the musical core is Serbian heritage, mixed with South American influences and of course the African voices and the poetry on a couple of tracks. There is, of course, an electronic experimental element as well, otherwise it wouldn’t be an “Electroshock” album, but this is very subtly applied across the eight tracks and tends to be mostly drones and special effects. The sound is very choral, with a simple piano accompaniment most of the time. Reminiscent of eastern European chanting I’ve heard before, the music is extremely haunting and beautiful, and the poetry on “Venus Song” and “I Am a Bird” immediate and direct. The remaining tracks are: “Lastavice/Departure”, “Kisa Pada”, “Bojano”, “Lulla”, “Duet”, and “Lastavice II/Arrival”. This is an album I have played several times for pleasure, the mixture of roots music and electronics is beguiling to say the least. It hints of the past as much as of the future, and brings together three very disparate cultures into something pretty magical.
John M. Peters (“The Borderland”)
Milica Paranosic is a composer and performance artist born in Belgrade but now living in New York City. “Give to Grow” is her first album for the “Electroshock Records” label. The CD is described as a multicultural musical exchange between the composer and school age children studying music in Kopeyia, Ghana, and I see that her web site goes into detail about her teaching experiences there.
The CD is relatively short, clocking in at just about 30 minutes, and includes 8 tracks. The set starts off with a couple vocal dominated tracks, sung, I believe, in the Serbian language. Things get a little more interesting on “Venus Song”, which features choir vocals and spoken poetry in English, accompanied by harp. “Bojano” is similar with voices and piano. But it gets even more interesting with “I Am a Bird”, which consists of Latin influenced acoustic guitar, orchestration, and swirling alien electronics, plus another poem from Roger Bonair-Agard, who also recited on “Venus Song”. “Lulla” features flute and moody but meditative orchestration and voices. The voices have a chirping quality, but then transitions to a fluttering avant-African style. Very interesting. But my favorite track of the set is “Duet”, with its African percussion, jazz percussion, flute, and Latin acoustic guitar, which together make for an oddly compelling combination. Some quite interesting ideas on this CD and I feel like it ended just as Paranosic was starting to get a momentum going.
Spaceman33 (“Aural Innovations”)
Milica Paranosic is a Serbian composer settled in the United States and with a special interest towards multiculturality. This interest and her sensitivity towards humanitarian causes led her to teaching music in Ghana and this album reflects part of her experiences and impressions in that African country. This artist’s style is rather peculiar, since it drinks from very diverse influences. Some themes have an impressive medieval taste, with Central European reminiscences, and a very well achieved staging. There also are passages with a great presence of percussion, parts near to “ambient” where Paranosic succeeds remarkably well in combining synthesizer backgrounds with exotic chants and songs, as well as several other unusual combinations which give this album a unique personality.
Marcella Cirignola (“Amazing Sounds”)
Milica Paranosic, a member of the staff of Julliard hailed by gatekeeper of the avant-garde Kyle Gann as a “free-wheeling, performance-art-type cat” is one of his favorite women composers. Beginning with a burst of ringing Serbian choir tones, she creates a relatively polite, but eminently listenable, series of pieces which incorporate African elements into the template of modern Western compositions. “Give to Grow” comes off as a truly multicultural project and is enriching as she brings in her Serbian roots and New York City sensibilities. While quietly nodding to jazz, minimalism, and the music of several other cultures, everyone does an admirable, interesting and successful job on this disc.
(“DWM” Music Company)