Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Gypsy Music From Bulgaria
Genres: World Music, Pop
Accordion-led band plays mostly kjuceks
firstname.lastname@example.org | Redmond, Washington | 11/30/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"You never know when you buy a CD of Gypsy music -- are you in for an hour of bad restaurant music, or did you get the real thing? The cover of this CD, with the stereotypical dark-haired woman in a swirling skirt, wasn't reassuring. But once the music began to play, my fears vanished.For fans of Romani music, this CD is a minor gem. It's by accordionist Ibro Lolov and a small combo including violin, electric bass and darabuka. Most of the tunes are instrumentals, but a few feature Romani-language solo male or female vocals by Angelina Lolova or Boris Marinovich.Liner notes offer zero information about the band other than its members' names. Is Angelina Ibro's wife or sister? Is guitarist Traicho Lolov Ibro's brother? Where in Bulgaria are they from? No clue. And no written lyrics or translations, either.The simple arrangements leave no doubt that the accordion player's the star, though Georgi Nochev adds skillful melody and harmony lines on violin and occasionally takes a solo. The singers are good but rarely appear. The production is straightforward -- no synthesizers or other pop gimmicks.The tunes are mostly instrumental kjuceks (the Bulgarian version of the cocek rhythm played by Rom musicians throughout the Balkans), a nice source recording for foreign musicians interested in this musical form. A couple of the tunes are in 9/8. Two tunes have been transmogrified into Western dance rhythms -- the Gypsy anthem Djelem, Djelem and the song Zeleni Ochi (Green Eyes) -- but for the most part, the recording is schlock-free.Those familiar with the idiom will be interested by this band's versions of two old favorites by Esma Redzhepova: Bogati Cigani (a variation on her song Ushti, Ushti Baba) and Chaj Shukarije, an instrumental version of the Esma anthem.But for the most part, the CD offers straight-ahead kjuceks in 2/4, very danceable though occasionally on the quick side. If you like the sound of Esma's band or combos like Rromano Dives from Albania, you'll want to add this to your collection. Had Ibro been willing to share the spotlight with a sax, trumpet and/or clarinet, this CD could have been a classic. As it is, the sound is short on variety, but that's not a big problem if you like this kind of Balkan music. The tunes are good and the musicianship is first-rate."