Quintet Bumbac Miroirs
Collectif Çok Malko (www.quintetbumbac.com)
Review by Andrew Cronshaw
"Taksim / Radio Kurdi"
I confess I was dubious. I guess it was the blurb for the album by Frenchman David Brossier and his group saying “Quintet Bumbac is a new vibe of Balkan melodies”. No problem with musicians being influenced – we all are, and there’s much to learn from Balkan music – but commitment to the tradition from somewhere else has to bring with it something more than just playing tunes from there.
Well, there’s so much in the music of the Balkans and their neighbours Kurdish, Turkish, Klezmer and beyond to inspire musicians anywhere, and Bumbac draws on all of these and really does bring its own approach; this is no wannabe imitation. All the material here is written by Brossier, who has deeply immersed in these musics, and it draws deep on the traditions to make luscious original music – Brossier’s viola d’amore, the violins of Ariane Cohen-Adad and Christian Fromentin, Léonore Grollemund’s cello and Anita Pardo’s double bass. All bowed strings, indeed a string quintet, playing with great finesse and richness of sound.
"De Ménilmontant à Lipscani"
What shines out of Brossier’s compositions is melody, played with sincerity and articulacy; never flashy look-at-me, they’re beautifully wrought. And there’s great variety. The opening “Joc De Început,” in the asymmetric-rhythm that declares Romanian or Bulgarian, is followed by “De Menilmontant À Lipscani” beginning reflective as each instrument takes curling lead before they intertwine in a lyrical uplifting sway and surge. “Kürdi Taksim” opens with the violins short-bowed hocketing as the deep cello wanders below them. “Radio Kürdi” is a big romantic, passionate theme. In “Sabah Taksim” Brossier’s viola d’amore (five strings plus ringing sympathetic strings) sobs and yearns. “Le Cri Du Cyclone” jitters and slithers in a maelstrom.
" Du crépuscule à l'aube" (excerpt)
In the closer “Du Crépuscule À l’Aube" the instruments spread out, simultaneously individually expressing, before coming together and picking up whirling, swirling pace and ending in a single unison note.
It’s great composing and arranging, rich, emotive and melodically memorable, played masterfully by all five, all of whom are given space to express themselves individually and co-operatively. - Andrew Cronshaw