Saz’iso is an Albanian group of virtuoso musicians and legendary singers assembled by veteran producer Joe Boyd. The group plays saze, a traditional style that developed when polyphonic a cappella folk songs, with at least two melody lines and drone backing, were matched against violin, clarinet, lute and percussion. The result is music that is unworldly, often melancholy and haunting.
Using unexpected modal scales and slightly dissonant harmonies, the songs tell of joy and sorrow, love and loss, heroism and tragedy.
Traditionally, the saze ensembles took Southern Albanian towns by storm, performing at weddings, funerals and celebrations of all kinds, and they still do to this day.
Until Joe Boyd took it upon him to record this special folksy music, it has been more or less a secret music expression outside the Albanian borders. But after a Kickstarter campaign (aptly named SAZE the day) and subsequently the record At Least Wave Your Handkerchief at Me: The Joys and Sorrows of Southern Albanian Song out on Glitterbeat, that’s about to change.
And now the group is ready to take things a step further: to take the beautiful sounds out on the road. And the road brings them to Roskilde Festival.
Saz’iso includes three great singers along with virtuoso masters of the violin, clarinet, llautë (lute) and dajre (frame drum) from the heart of saze country, the beautiful cities of Përmet and Korçë. Their thrilling harmonies, joyful dances and soulful laments create melodies that will feel both warmly familiar and wonderfully otherworldly.