Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In review--Rousing Russians, lailailaia, lai!

Caspian Hat Dance
We Say No Talk
Fishbowl Studios

I’ll admit on days like today when I find it challenging to crawl out of bed, I need rousing-kick-me-in-the-butt music. And if the band Caspian Hat Dance’s klezmer-Balkan-Russian extravaganza can’t do it, I don’t know what can. These days, dealing with a high degree of stress and time constraints, I regret that I don’t have time to visit a band’s website, read other reviews, and indulge in those luxuries of the past. Fortunately, this music on the recording, We Say No Talk speaks for itself—a bit wacko, but played with great finesse and enthusiasm. Darn, if these musicians aren’t in love with Eastern European gypsy and Jewish music. The only other band I can think of while listening to this recording is Les Yeux Noirs, though you would need to subtract the French gypsy swing element to get a taste of Caspian Hat Dance.

If Fiddler on the Roof meets Romanian gypsies is your thing, then you’d enjoy Caspian Hat Dance’s repertoire. While most of it speeds along like an Italian driver in a sports car, a few respites pop up here and there, including Humus Little Sunrise with its weeping violin backed by acoustic guitar and accordion; and the lament u rusciutelumare, to name two songs. MR L Dreams of Fish reminds me of soundtrack music from Amelie, with its old Parisian charm and morishej sabina with its Hungarian panpipes also stands out among the crowd. 

I don’t know what these guys put in their coffee to perform wild and beautiful music, but whatever it is I hope they keep drinking it. Sometimes you have to jump off the deep end to discover the world’s musical gems. And as in the case with Caspian Hat Dance, you also have to step off the beaten path and party with Russians, Romanians, and Eastern European Jews. and

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