rappa Nomada

Linernotes by Darryl Pinckney

Corin Curschellas is a magical presence on stage. She has a beautiful voice. Splendid, beguiling, it's tone is pure and it's range is impressive. Curschellas can soar in a phrase from a sultry lower register to vibrant, clear top notes. The excitement, the sheer expressiveness of her performances, says a great deal about her training and intelligence. Curschellas is at home in several languages of song: German, French, English, the Romanic of the Swiss mountains, and the borderless scat of jazz as well. She is also in full command of various song styles, everything from folk to free jazz, from beloved ballads to the popular idioms of the moment.

There is no mood she cannot invoke when she sings, from the rapture and tenderness of love to the most outrage of offended humanist principles. But what shines through most in her performances, whether she is appearing before a large audience in a theatre or in the intimate setting of a cabaret, is her passion and respect for the art, her curiousity about and the pleasure in what music can do, what it can be, how it lives among us all. She plays the piano, dulcimer, kalimba, zither, drums, the flute, the accordion. This fascination with musical sound is perhaps what has led her to take risks, to work alone or with widely different ensembles from Berlin to the Red Sea. None of the warmth, sensuality, and wit of her performances is lost in recording.

Curschellas great talent as a great performer is equalled by her gift as a song writer. Aided by her linguistic abilities and by her interest in poetry, she understands the relation of word to the musical line. Perhaps that is what gives her a fondness for the intricacies of Cole Porter or the challenges of Brecht-Weill. She has set the verse of Carl Sandburg, T.S. Elliot, James Fenton, and Gian Fontana to music. In her own songs, rhythmic, melodic, or serene with the mystery of her native Swiss language, the influences of her ear are thoroughly absorbed, filtered through her sensibility, and enlivened by her generosity of spirit. No subject is too modest or too broad, too personal or too political. They are commentaries on experience, but they are also a sort of reliving of life's moments, inviting the listener to look at a situation with her, from the inside, and often to laugh at the way we are. Corin Curschellas is a valuable addition to contemporary music, luminous, fiercely individual, perfect in her honesty, and rare in the happy coalescence of her outstanding qualities as an artist.