Kaila Flexer and Gari Hegedus - Teslim
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Kaila Flexer & Gari Hegedus
Next Village Music (www.kailaflexer.com/teslim.htm)

Kaila Flexer plays the violin and viola, and Gari Hegedus knows his way around more instruments than I'm about to list here. Along with a few guest players, the duo have put together an album of instrumental pieces inspired by the Arabic, Balkan, Greek, Jewish and Turkish music they've embraced and put their own stamp on. Ranging from peppy to melancholic to mystical, these unplugged and unencumbered tracks prove to be both lovely and engaging. But quaint they ain't. These players have chops and don't hesitate to show them, particularly on the fevered "Petalouda," where they absolutely rock out (believe me, I wish I had a better term for it). Flexer's deftly emotional bowing squares off against whatever stringed acoustic axe Hegedus chooses to wield,be it oud, baglama or what have you, creating matchups that could sound at home anywhere from a ballroom to a Gypsy encampment. The disc's title refers to a Turkish term for a recurring musical theme, and Flexer and Hegedus have sought to cross cultures and ethnic distinctions to find themes that bear repeating. I'd say they've succeeded. Despite claiming in the liner notes that they will "always be students of these styles," it's hard to imagine them having learned their lessons any better. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdroots

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CD available from cdroots

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