Sunday, May 20, 2012

In review--The Gypsy Experience

Urban Bratsch
World Village

I was in the mood for gypsy jazz just when the French group Bratsch’s new recording Urban Bratsch arrived in my mailbox.  A delicious mix of klezmer, gypsy jazz, German theater (Brecht/Weill), and Eastern European music, this quintet delivers a whopper of a recording. It is as eclectic as Lo-Jo, and as rousing as Les Yeux Noirs (also from France).  These guys show what passions are possible played on acoustic instruments (guitar, accordion, violin, double bass, and clarinet).

The opener Sirba Din Joc De Constanca/Hora certainly starts off a rousing listening experience with its gypsy violin.  I expect to hear one of those wild and crazy Eastern European zithers conversing with the violin, but in all honesty, this music fills the space just fine.  Francois Castiello’s accordion resembles a harmonium on the ballad Scetate with Nano Peylet’s klezmer clarinet singing mournfully along with the raspy vocals.  Garoïbar screams gypsy.  Just listen to that Gypsy-Rom violin during the short introduction. Ravel probably rolls over in his grave with envy.

Rer C reminds me of Lo’Jo’s swirly circus songs, but Dans Le Ciel De Ma Rue with its Django-style guitar, ethereal accordion, and slightly melancholic vocals is my favorite track.  The musicians perform alchemy on this piece. And if you find yourself waltzing across your kitchen while listening to this track, all power to you.  This music was made for reflecting and for dance.

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