Albanian cellist and composer Redi Hasa has shared an enthralling cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the first single from his upcoming album My Nirvana. The album will be released on November 11 via Ponderosa Music Records.
Nirvana’s Nevermind began circulating in the underground after the Albanian regime had been banning the entirety Western music, from the Beatles to Milli Vanilli, for half a century. But still, the banned music was moving around circles, as secret and precious as an audio samizdat.
In the daytime, Hasa studied at the Tirana Conservatory of Music on a cello provided by the state. At night, he played the only electric bass in town, which had been sent to him from Italy by his older brother. There, in those night sessions between smoking bunkers and pulled out wire fences, the Nirvana tunes challenged their truth.
Many years have passed since then. But still, every time Hasa gets face to face with his cello, he pulls out the stories that his instrument keeps on shielding like crown jewels. This is the case of The Stolen Cello, Redi’s first solo album. Now he arrives playing “his” Nirvana, turning their barbed wire melodies, their heresy, their jeopardy, into a majestically human sound.
Hasa is widely celebrated as the cellist in groundbreaking pianist Ludovico Einaudi’s band, and the two have collaborated many times in the past. They linked up for “The Silence Of The Trail,” which was featured on Redi Hasa’s 2020 album The Stolen Cello.
Redi Hasa worked for many years with Ludovico Einaudi as part of his hugely successful touring group, and performed on Einaudi’s recordings Seven Days Walking, In A Time Lapse, and Elements. The No. 1 UK Classical Chart album Seven Days Walking: Day One became the fastest-streamed album ever from a classical composer in its first week of release, and Redi toured with Einaudi throughout 2019 and early 2020.
“Ludovico and I met for the first time in Salento at La Notte Della Taranta festival in 2010. I was immediately struck by his mastery, the passion of his music, his work ethic, and his ability to leave a unique mark while maintaining the traditional ways of music,” explained Redi Hasa.
“Since then, I have been a part of his musical family touring all over the world with him…I will always remember the precious advice he once gave me–find the soul in every note you play. Now, I have the pleasure of sharing one of the tracks of my new project with him. Every note we played became magic.”