Orkestina - Positivity
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cd cover Orkestina
World Village (www.worldvillage music.com)

This release isn't radically different from Orkestina's 2003 release Transilvania Express, and that's not a problem. The Barcelona-based band still has a flair for goosing Balkan music into higher states of dance delirium with a colorful palette of clarinet, violin, gadulka (Bulgarian fiddle), double bass, accordion and guitar. They also add a healthy amount of drumset and Arabic percussion to their Gypsy/klezmer leanings, giving the music both swing and sting. Traditional pieces are turned on their ear to some degree, allowing the musicians to play up the joyous tone of tracks like "Buximish" but also create an appropriate air of melancholy on "Derte Magare" (a marvelous conversation between clarinet and frame drum) and others, never dwelling on sadnes for too long without breaking into something upbeat. Particularly nice is "Zelona Dunova Suite," a Danube-dedicated excursion that goes from waltz tempo to nimble fiddlefest without a seam showing. Positivity is entirely instrumental, and while it likely would have been stronger with at least one vocal selection (like the last one had), you're not going to find many bands who can top Orkestina when it comes to playing authentic Eastern European music with just enough additional eccentricity tossed in. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdRoots

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