Kefir Kvartet - "Kefir"
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Kefir Kvartet
Kefir
GO' Danish Folk Music (gofolk.dk)

Kefir, like yogurt, is made by inoculating milk with yeasts and allowing natural fermentation to occur. While food analogies in music reviews are overdone, the self-proclaimed "yogurt-guys" of the Kefir Kvartet beg us to try once again. If one were to indulge the band, the commentary might sound like this:

Take four Danish musicians who play traditional tunes on fiddle, bass, guitar, and drums. Add some doubling on bouzouki, sitar, melodica, and hand drums. Augment the flavoring with accordion and banjo. Pour in musical influences from India, Turkey, Greece, the Romani, and Los Angeles psychedelic rock. Combine a sprinkling of cover songs and fold in a pinch of originals. Stir vigorously. Allow to ferment for the better part of a decade. What comes out is the first record of the Kefir Kvartet.

Every cut on this record is surprising in a good way. Tunes that are expected to be peppy come out slow and introspective. Songs with more somber expectations come out with joyous melodic lines soaring over jagged, noisy samples. It's as if Kefir addresses their audience saying let's take what you know, mix it with what we know, and together we will watch something brand new take form.

The spirits of Django Reinhardt, Zakir Hussain, Jim Morrison, and the Codex Runicus are all in this record, but maybe not where the listener expects to find them. Tracks leap from one genre to another, but in ways that are not jarring. Fans of other genre-hopping groups like The Red Stick Ramblers will thoroughly enjoy this record. Listeners who are intrigued by images of a world music mashup filtered through Nordic-Slavic sensibilities will find much to enjoy. - Greg Harness

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