Petya Dankova – Sweet or Bitter

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Forget everything you know about Bulgarian-jazz-funk musicians and open your eyes and ears to Petya Dankova and the smooth sounds on her album “Sweet or Bitter.”

 Hailing from Bulgaria, Dankova blends styles of club-jazz, soul and toward the end of the LP, folk. She really shows her vocal range on tracks like “Ego” where she describes people who are too self-inflated to think about anyone or anything else. Dankova does a good job of displaying her frustration and annoyance with these kinds of people, but it doesn’t come off as an anthem of anger, but more like a “You keep doing you and I’m going to elevate myself above this,” attitude.

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Other tracks on the album allow her roots to come through in the all-Bulgarian tracks “Preoblechena V Tyalo,” “Ot Az Do Ti,” and “Magazin Za Vreme.” Even though these tracks aren’t in English, they still have a lot of soul and bass lines that are the stuff of dreams for enthusiasts of the instrument. “Preoblechena V Tyalo” sounds like it was heavily inspired by hip-hop or R&B with snappy hi-hats and sharp snare beats to accompany the brass and bass on the song.

Overall the album sounds like it came right out of the soundtrack from “Cowboy Bebop” and has an air of effortless cool. It has funky bass riffs, sharp snare drums, brass sections sprinkled in that may take multiple listens to hear how well they can complement the track they’re on, and most importantly, it has the soulful vocal stylings of Dankova to put a ribbon on the whole package.

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