Ivo Papasov - Fairground
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Kuker Music (www.kuker-music.com)
Ivo Papasov has been plying his clarinet wizardry on the Bulgarian 'wedding music' scene for ten years now. On this release, he explores the outer reaches of his instrument's capabilities. In terms of sheer technique, expressiveness,
and willingness to experiment, he shows why he is at the top of his field. Fortunately, he was able to find musicians who are able to keep up with him. This is no mean feat, as Papasov often plays at light-speed tempos and considers key signatures mere suggestions. He blasts into the opening track, "Demirdzhijska Ratchenitsa," after a declamatory introduction and takes no prisoners beyond that point. Salif Ali on drums and Stolan Yankoulov on tupan set up a crisp rhythm, clattering over the complexities of Bulgarian meter with ease. "Celeste" deconstructs after a lot of rhythmic starts and stops into a noise jam over Ivo Zvezdomirov's funk bass ostinato. On "Gypsy Heart," Zvezdomirov lays a similar funk thing under Vasil Parmakov's jazzy piano and Papasov's Coltrane-inspired explorations. Maria Karafizieva contributes some powerful vocals on several tracks. Her voice has a deep vibrato and is at times as filigreed as Papasov's playing. Papasov gives the listeners a chance to catch their breath on the moody "Mother's Lament." The final track is seven and a half minutes of exquisite solo clarinet that miraculously never gets self-indulgent or cloying. Fairground lives up to its title, taking the listener on rides both wild and wondrous. - Peggy Latkovich
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