Lana Cenčić * voice, piano, guitar, Wurlitzer, keyboard, table * compositions, lyrics, arrangements
David Torn * guitar, ambience, arrangement, production
More informations and “Making of” Sama:
Sama – a Croatian word that means “alone”. And this little word, the title of Lana Cenčić’s solo debut, is the essence of a complete artistic cosmos. It provides insights into the journey of an exceptional woman who has always seen breaks in her life-story as opportunities – they are there to be experienced. And it documents an artistic diversity and intensity that has been permeating Lana Cenčić’s life since childhood. It develops freely across all genre boundaries, and as if it were an anchor, it carries her very own musical fingerprint. Sama is an album by a brilliant songwriter and expressive singer. It’s an album by a sensitive pianist, guitarist and creative tabla player. It’s an album by a composer, arranger and performer rolled into one. Sama – that’s Lana Cenčić!
Her only companion on this artistic odyssey has been renowned producer David Torn, famous for his work with David Bowie, Madonna, Tori Amos, Steve Roach, and many more. He’s also known for his film music for The Big Lebowski, Velvet Goldmine, and Traffic, to name but a few. The two got to know each other on a previous joint production. On Sama, David Torn accentuates Lana’s songs with loops, guitars, arrangements and “ambience” in an almost magical way. The genesis of this album is also closely intertwined with Lana Cenčić’s life. It throws a direct spotlight onto her – Lana as a person and her personality as an artist.
Lana Cenčić was born in Zagreb, Croatia, and made her singing debut as a three-year-old in the prestigious opera house of her native city. She grew up in a very musical environment. Her father was a conductor at the Vienna State Opera, her mother was an opera singer in the former Yugoslavia who later became a vocal teacher with the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and her brother is an internationally recognised countertenor. Lana spent a lot of her childhood travelling, living with her family and also alone, in Croatia, Austria, England and Germany. An artistic path emerged for her from an early age. She was already studying drama, dance and music as a teenager. Classical, jazz and traditional Indian music were her special interests. She released CDs and appeared in films, TV shows and theatre productions. At the age of eighteen, she was a full-time actress and jazz musician, leading a fulfilling life and enjoying recognition and success throughout Europe. And yet she intuitively knew that this was not her artistic home.
She wanted to make music, but she wouldn’t allow herself to be bound to a single genre. Her own music, music that was her equal, that was born within her. New York was her dream destination, and in 2010, Lana Cenčić found the courage to cross the pond. She exchanged an established career for the uncertainty of a new beginning in New York City.
Everything began well. Lana was soon able to surround herself with musicians from the New York artistic elite who shared her vision. Together with Brandon Seabrook, Eivind Opsvik, Dan Weiss and the London-based Manu Delago (Björk’s drummer and percussionist), she recorded her debut album In Your Head. The release of the album in 2013 was like a vertical take-off for her. Across the world, Lana Cenčić was heaped with praise and attention from both the press and the public. The carousel of live performance turned continuously, and clubs and stages were her home until 2016. Her success had proved she was on the right track, and her place in the musical circus seemed secure. She’d made it. But then came another break. That initial joy and fulfilment was increasingly turning into pressure – the pressure to meet expectations faster and faster. Meanwhile her space for creativity, to follow her soul and create something new, was becoming smaller and smaller. Business was threatening to take charge. Cut!
She declined all further performance opportunities, both solo and with the band, and retreated from the world. Rest, travel, meditation, having time for friends, playing and performing music without the pressure to succeed – all of these things started her inner source of creativity flowing again. It gave her back her vitality and her love for music. And now she wants to share both! With a smartphone mounted on a tripod and a pure joy in performing – a formula as simple as it is impressive – Lana Cenčić started a new chapter in her work. And without even planning to, she’s started the ball rolling again.
In the summer of 2016, she recorded her first video and shared it on Facebook. It was immediately watched five thousand times, shared and commented on. The wow factor! That’s effortlessness, that’s fun! That sense of playfulness, the child in her awoke. The next day Lana posted a second song, with her playing the piano. And again the next day, this time on guitar. She danced, improvised, free-styled, sang jazz standards and covers, wrote poetry, did performance art, and, and, and. She suddenly realized that she’d started a journey, a journey into herself and her own creativity. She called it the Daily Creative Share. This (unplanned!) journey lasted eighty days, during which time Lana really was on the move: at the airport, on the beach, on the street, with friends at home. Everywhere. And Lana filmed! Always herself. Alone. Sama.
The songs which she’s gathered on her solo debut emerged from the videos made in those eighty days. This is the actual origin of the album. A path that Lana Cenčić has taken alone. Sama.