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CD cover I have been waiting for this CD for a while now, savoring the memory of their live concerts, knowing that the energy of the individual musicians involved would lead to a remarkable recording. Zabe i Babe starts with a core of three singers, Sarajevo native Minja Lausevic, the band's founder and leader, Trista Newyear and Donna Kwon. All are well versed in many of the worlds vocal traditions, and have specialized in the music of the Balkans for many years. Expanding the vocal group into a rock band came with the addition of their own keyboards and the rhythm and vocal section of two of Cordelia's Dad's, Peter Irvine (drums and percussion) and Tim Eriksen (guitars, bass). This quintet has focused their measurable talents on the popular music of Sarajevo, a city of diverse ethnic and political backgrounds, and worked on making it vibrant and alive.

The second wonder of this album came with the chance meeting between Lausevic and Ansambl Teodosijevski at a Balkan music camp in California. The ensemble was a well known band in the former Yugoslavia, bringing both folk and popular music from all over the nation to TV and radio. They joined into the recording project and the results are here on Drumovi. This is not so much Balkan music as American-Balkan fusion music, a mix of styles and influences, both subtle and blatant, from pop rock to farmer's folk songs. Eriksen's vocals lend a clenched, punkish sound; the ensemble vocals can be violent or beautifully eerie, and the clash of wedding band accordions and horns with the high-tech synths gives it all a raw, manic quality. Touches of what might be Latin, klezmer and jazz float deceptively through it all, haunted by the female vocals. There are wild bursts of big-band sounds, and also a number of wonderful a capella songs from the Bosnian tradition. Zabe I Babe have found an interesting melting pot and are tossing in all the ingredients they can get their hands on. - Cliff Furnald

Hear some of Zabe i Babe's live performance.

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