Ale Möller Band - Bodjal
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Ale Möller Band
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cd cover There are people who are only happy when they seem to start anew every single day; Ale Möller seems to be one of them. Bodjal is a record that could have gone horribly wrong. The six members of the band come from six distinct cultures. People on the photo shoot dressed in traditional clothes. A fifty-something virtuoso player is trying to find himself, with declarations of global brotherhood, Bangladeshi and Uyghur freedom songs and quasi-rap.

Sometimes, though, these stories have a happy ending. These six distinct artists have worked hard and under the leadership of Ale Möller they fit together seamlessly, delivering songs that never appear awkward or half-thought out. Möller has been working with local musical traditions for almost twenty-five years and he seems to have a very good idea of who he himself is. Global brotherhood is a great idea, when it's done without too much self-consciousness or self-righteousness. The freedom songs are melodic and poignant, not pedantic. The quasi-rap is actually very funny. They rap, "The one has to borrow money to drink a glass of wine, the other flies in his private jet to Paris to have a decent cup of coffee," while Möller on the backside delivers random Greek words. Wait till the Greek radio producers get their hands on this: it'll be the summer hit of the year.

Sebastian Dubé is a Québecquois who plays the bass with great pizzazz. Rafael Sida Huizar used to be the drummer of a Mexican rock band in the Seventies; you can tell. Swedish fiddle player Magnus Stinnerbom is a member of Harv and Hedningarna; I think they tease him a bit, otherwise why would they name a waltz for him "The Nasty One"?

Mamadou Sene is behind such great tracks as "Bodjal" and "Nje Pajem." He is also credited as an "acrobatic dancer" but I haven't seen him live to know, although I would love to, if his dancing were on par with his singing.

Maria Stellas is probably the second most visible member of the band after Möller himself. This is not so strange, given Ale's knowledge of the Greek music scene (as he has spent a long time in Greece, working with the Mikis Theodorakis orchestra). What I find most amazing is that she is equally capable of singing a traditional song from the mainland, one of the islands and a rembetiko. The modes of singing those three repertoires are so different that it usually asks for three distinct singers to be able to achieve this. Stellas does that all on her own and she leaves us all awe-struck as a result.

But of course, the star of the record is Möller himself. He is behind every track, leaving an indelible signature, although rarely coming to the forefront. He has no reason to. This is his record and he knows it. His compositional skills show the mark of an almost thirty year career but his joy of playing shows the sparkle of someone for whom this is, as far as humanly possible, far from a routine.

This is a great record with its musical center somewhere between Sweden, Greece, Senegal and Asia, delivered with true love and joy. One of the highlights of the year. - Nondas Kitsos

CD available at cdRoots

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