Sometimes I wish we could all do away with musical labels, y’know? Yes, sometimes they come in handy, but some artist/performers - to their credit - don’t really lend themselves to easy categorization. It’s no easier and a little unfair to call Maura O’Connell an "Irish singer" as it is to label Ray Charles a "blues singer," Bing Crosby a "pop singer" or Louis Armstrong as "jazz trumpeter" - they "are" those things but those little words only describe in small part re: the tremendous range and versatility of each. Then there is this singer from Greece, Savina Yannatou - not to imply that she’s "up there" with the aforementioned, but she does have the potential to be there someday. The classically-grounded Yannatou has a pretty voice that frequently dares to be beautiful, an impressive range, a tendency towards tenderness, brainy, playful audaciousness and a willingness to take chances. Her latest disc Terra Nostra, recorded live in Athens in ’01, features a dizzying mixture of Celtic, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Sephardic folk sounds served up with plenty of elemental vigor and avant-garde (think Patty Waters, Yoko Ono, Meredith Monk, Joan La Barbara) and ancient Mongolian vocal techniques (chording - that is, holding two notes simultaneously). Her band Primavera en Salonico come on like an acoustic combination of Kaleidoscope (the US one), The Incredible String Band and 3 Mustaphas 3 (OK, without the rockin’ wit ‘n’ irony of the latter): cross-cultural yet with resoluteness (no mere dabblers, this lot) and unobtrusive ardor. Not a disc that jumps out at you (well, some of it do - some brain-blitzing Yoko/Patty Waters-style vocalizations to be heard), but rather one that exquisitely insinuates itself into that private part of your Psyche where the director-less movies play behind your eyes (and conscious mind) --- oh yes, all thumbs way up.