May I Kiss Your Hand: Hungarian and Gypsy Fiddle Music and Songs

Anchoring Csókolom is leader Anti von Klewitz's raspy, menacing alto, her nimble violin and viola, a dramatic ear for arrangement, and an omnivorous musical pedigree that embraces Balkan miscellany, Hungarian, classical, jazz and charanga. She enjoys consummate backing in the violin, viola and kontra (Hungarian chord violin) of Sander Hoving, the double-bass of Gregor Schäfer, and the violin of Anneke Frankenberg. The group (based in Germany and the Netherlands) manifests its collective Eastern European, Cuban, mariachi, salsa, tango, jazz and gypsy swing influences in sonorous but uncompromising ways throughout a collection of mostly Transylvanian tunes, accented with a peppery mix of Bartok, Croatian, Bulgarian, Romanian and French gypsy melodies. On impulse, Chris Strachwitz dragged Csókolom off the stage at the 1998 Folk Alliance conference in Memphis, and into the legendary Sun Studios, where virtuoso Transylvanian mojo kissed the invisible hand of Elvis and laid down this extraordinary recording. - Michael Stone

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