Born in Athens (Greece), Savina Yannatou studied song with G. Georilopoulou at the National Conservatory and later with Spiros Sakkas at the Workshop of Vocal Art in Athens. She attended postgraduate studies (performance and communication skills) at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, with a scholarship awarded by the Mousigetis Foundation.
Her professional career as a singer started while still a student, when she sang for the very successful and until today highly respected daily program of the Greek National Radio 3 Lillipoupoli under the direction of the famous composer Manos Hadjidakis.
After that, she interpreted entechno (“artful”) Greek songs, collaborating with well-known Greek composers and also covered contemporary opera and music. Later she focused on medieval, renaissance and baroque music. In the early nineties she started experimenting with different vocal techniques in free improvisation. Parallel to that she started a collaboration with a number of Thessaloniki-based musicians, who at that occasion founded the group Primavera en Salonico, with which she recorded and later performed Primavera en Salonico—Sephardic Folk Songs from Salonica, Songs from the Mediterranean, Virgin Maries of the World and Terra Nostra (all released by LYRA/Musurgia Graeca, the second also in the USA by Sounds True under the name Mediterranea and the last one also by ECM).
Savina Yannatou has also composed her own music and songs (a.o. “Rosa das Rosas” and “Dreams of the Mermaid,” both released by Musurgia Graeca), as well as music for theater – for Medea, performed in 1997 by the National Greek Theatre, Bacchai (2005) and Dibuk (2006) performed by the National Greek Theatre, and for the play The Woman of Zante by Dionyssios Solomos. She has also composed music for video art and dance theater. All together she has released and/or participated in over 20 CDs.
In the Press:
“(…) What is termed ‘music’ and ‘song’ in this particular album is something playing with the limits and extremities of these concepts, challenging every traditional approach to them. Free instrumental improvisations moving to various minimalist levels coexist with the unexpected, but often fantastic, vocal improvisations of Savina Yannatou. (…) This almost otherworldly and unbelievably daring canvas not only functions well but also results to musical settings that are terribly original and succeed to express the truths and emotions of the poetic verses.” – Haris Symvoulidis, Avopolis
“Dark-toned but ambrosial, highly disciplined yet seemingly bursting with a soul of pure flame, the rather staggering Athens-born singer Savina Yannatou is a virtuosic chameleon adept at an extensive range of vocal traditions (and languages) from the Mediterranean region – not just interpreting but leaping off from these old folk musics with a daring, exploratory technique and far-flung tonal scope that allows her to stamp it all with a brash intelligence and some might say punky attitude. There’s not a thing dried-up or academic about her new takes on ancient songs… Yannatou really lets the blood out of these songs, brazenly improvising on them, as if called by some inner primal force, kneading and kneeling them, caressing them, smearing their borders and launching out something entirely new in the process.” – John Payne, L.A. Weekly