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One to Remember
Omnium (

cd cover This trio from Steelton, Pennsylvania plays a deeply rootsy blend of Eastern European music. All three men are of Croatian, Serbian, and Slovenian descent, and the obvious pride in their rich musical heritage comes through in the passion of their performances. The music covers almost the whole of Eastern Europe, with selections from Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Romania, and the Roma, as well as North American tamburitza music. This two-CD set is an entire, unedited concert recording from a performance in Philadelphia in 2000. The good news is the music couldn't be better. The vocal harmonies are robust and manly. The rhythmic drive will lift you out of your seat. Raczar Lopatic's torrid violin playing will be the envy of Gypsy musicians worldwide. Guests Vlad Popovich (cello tamburitza and vocals), Jeri Grcevich (prim, brac, and vocals), and Zvonko Bogdan (vocals) are all top-notch musicians. The recording quality is clean, with a nice bass end and little crowd noise bleed-through. The bad news is, all of this wonderful stuff could have fit onto one CD with a little judicious editing. There are too many rambling spoken interludes, with stories that don't go much of anywhere and testimonials that don't mean much of anything to anyone outside of the immediate company on the stage. For a better introduction to Sviraj's music, check out their 1999 release Ciganine. It won't you leave you scrambling for the programming knob on repeated listenings. - Peggy Latkovich

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