Mirna Bogdanović: finding closure of a broken heart

Mirna Bogdanović: finding closure of a broken heart
Mirna Bogdanović

The intimacy of an artist. Through her voice and compositions, it is possible to explore the shades of love. In this cathartic experience, the invisible wall that separates the singer from the audience dissolves, allowing them to experience an awakening under the power of music.

Awake album cover

"There are things you never really forget; you just learn to live with them," Mirna Bogdanović says while remembering the inspiration behind 'Awake,' her new production. "I started writing this music after my first album in 2019, and I had just broken up with my boyfriend. I was going through this grief process, and then the pandemic started so, It was just like a lot of time to reflect on life and my emotional state." The lyrics of this album are a mirror in which life is passing by, and each listener is invited to see their reflection.

Music continues to be a powerful catalyst for purifying emotions, a journey to release ties. Along this path, the sense of vulnerability is always present. "In a way is like an audience can read my diary, but I needed to sing about everything that bothered me. This was a process of healing." In the field of arts, there's no space for lies. In the end, the authenticity of the compositions will turn out to be the perfect link to connect with the crowd. "I think that maybe If I could do it again, I could have written in a bit more philosophical way, so it wouldn’t be so clear on what’s going on, but it is what it is. We all are going through the same shit."

'Awake' belongs to the spectrum of contemporary jazz and art pop. In this exploration, Mirna moves away from her classical piano roots to discover the ranges of the ukelele, which brings new colors to her melodic and harmonic frame. "When it comes to my musical compositions, I stick to the rule of trying not to follow any rules. I’ve studied classical music and jazz, but I try to forget that when I’m writing music, the knowledge is in my mind, but I’m not leaning on it too much." In the evolving world of music, the boundaries of tradition are continuously redefined. However, some things will never change when playing jazz on stage. "Scat in a traditional sound does not make sense to me anymore, so it’s more like developing just your language of improvisation and then being able to improvise either if it’s just like an instrumental solo or is also improvising with words you have the chance to interpret a song in different ways, so you are not stuck in a specific interpretation and always have to do like the same thing.

As a kid, she discovered jazz, but it wasn't love at first sight. However, her relationship with the genre let her include instrumental songs in an album that appears to be only of a singer-songwriter. "I'm playing the ukulele on stage. I bought this instrument because of the compositional approach: it has a very interesting tunning, so I finish coming up with cool chords that I wouldn’t intuitively find on the piano." On My Own, Dancing in the Dark, and Moving On, are samples of this exploration.

Eleven years ago since the Bosnian-Slovenian vocalist arrived in Germany. Now, her name has gained strength in the jazz scene of Berlin and Europe. True to the basics of the genre, she is always ready to improvise: the music of 'Awake' was written for her quintet, then she decided to also arrange for a string quartet. "The role of leader is challenging, especially when you're working with musicians that are high in demand. What’s fun to me is being creative and writing music."

Line up:

  • Mirna Bogdanović – voice, kalimba
  • Povel Widestrand – piano, synth, Rhodes, celeste, Hammond organ
  • Peter Meyer – guitars, efx
  • Felix Henkelhausen – double bass, e-bass
  • Philip Dornbusch – drums, percussion

  • Paul Santner – ukulele
  • Asger Uttrup Nissen - alto sax

Rothko String Quartett:

  • Joosten Ellée - violin
  • William Overcash - violin
  • Majella Münz - cello
  • Marc Kopitzki - viola