Style & Influences
Pepína is a singer-songwriter, working alone with her voice, her piano and her loop pedal. Most of her songs are semi-autobiographical in nature whilst some speak through the minds of other characters – often those who are lost or misunderstood. Some of Pepína’s songs are dream-like in their subject matter, whilst others are intense emotional responses to reality – sometimes expressing the challenges of her own life with brutal honesty, other times reeling from and rallying against the inexplicable nature and moral injustices of the real world.
Vivid textual imagery as well as haunting, memorable melodies, dissonant harmonies, driving rhythms, sharply contrasting moods, dramatic and expressive piano writing and a highly emotive vocal style all work together to create performances that are almost visual in nature. Whole stories and narratives emerge from the building up and breaking down of tension, changing dynamics and textures, a more continuous approach towards structure, and a tightly woven relationship between music and words, voice and piano, verbal and non-verbal sound.
All of the above, together with the influence of the classical piano background that runs through her work, links Pepína strongly to Regina Spektor and Tori Amos. In particular, the way in which Spektor’s Russian background and musical training influences her songwriting closely resembles the way in which Pepína takes her own musical education and love for Russian piano music for example, and combines this with her many other influences and inspirations. Overall though, in contrast to Amos, and to a greater extent than Spektor, Pepína’s harmonic, melodic and rhythmic language together with emotional style is rooted more in European pop traditions. So the combination of vocal angst and folk-like simplicity heard in artists like Sinéad O’Connor and Laura Marling are clearly evident. And the theatrically intense soundworlds of Imogen Heap, Florence and the Machine, Bat for Lashes, Björk and Kate Bush are juxtaposed with the dark rawness and bluesy edginess of PJ Harvey on the one hand, as well as with the naturalness, lyricism and piano-based classical undertones of Agnes Obel on the other. Certain elements of folk are also clearly in evidence – the driving energy and insistence of Eastern European rhythms for example, and in particular the vocal harmonies and techniques reminiscent of the Bulgarian female choirs which have so strongly influenced Pepína’s more recent work with her voice and the loop pedal.
Pepína finds her individual voice through the fusion of classical, pop and folk genres within what is an essentially European context. With this shameless mixing of styles and moods she seeks to break down barriers between musical traditions, and to bring together emotional extremes. Driven by the refusal to allow genres to be pigeon-holed or artistic expression to be restricted by stylistic convention, Pepína aims for greater freedom of creativity, allowing the ever closer interplay between words, sounds and those apects of the mental and physical worlds they are used to represent.
Main Influences & Inspirations
Tori Amos, Bat for Lashes, Björk, Kate Bush, Florence and the Machine, PJ Harvey, Imogen Heap, Laura Marling, Agnes Obel, Sinéad O’Connor (Shuhada’ Davitt), Regina Spektor, Joss Stone.
Coldplay, Keane, Talk Talk, The Script, Filip Topol and Psí Vojácí
Frans Bak, Lorne Balfe, Dan Berridge, Gerry Diver, Ludovico Einaudi, Guy Farley, John Harle, Alex Heffes, Samuel Hercule, Ronit Kirchman, Michael Kocáb, Dustin O’Halloran, Jon Opstad, Dominik Scherrer, Edward Shearmur, Samuel Sim, Adam Taylor, Sheridan Tongue, Hans Zimmer
Eastern European (in particular, the Bulgarian Female Choirs), Jewish, Celtic styles
Especially piano music – in particular, Russian and French composers of the early 20th century, e.g. Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Ravel
Iva Bittová, Dunaj, Michael Kocáb, Laura a její Tygří, Emil Viklický
people – their minds and lives, travelling and other cultures, films, novels, childhood and fairy-tales, words and the musicality of spoken language, dreams, colours, circles, the changing seasons, wild and rugged nature – especially clouds and wind, seas, rocky coastlines, misty moors, mountains, and dark, magical forests