Gypsy Summer: Tales of Surviving
Soundtrack, featuring Karandila Brass Orchestra
Kuker Productions ([email protected])

cd cover Children do a frantic, complicated scat singing that constantly breaks down into laughter, and then the landscape explodes with a brass band that is three parts Gypsy, one part gospel shout and a dash of a New Orleans second line. This is the heart and soul of a cinematic collection of Bulgarian Gypsy sound images that reach deep to find pathos, joy and above all, compelling, energetic musicianship. The heart of the album is the Karandila band, an ensemble of brass, woodwinds and drums that rips through a modern Gypsy style tinged with American jazz, Balkan folk and unnamable other elements. Their virtuosity is unassailable, but it is the subtle undercurrents that make them so interesting; a soulful blue note here, a bow to New Orleans there, and intentional or not, a bit of bebop swirling through the most unexpected places. The album also features singer singer Anita Christi on some beautiful ballads, accompanied by a single cimbalom on two and a violin on another. A brief bit of ambience probably best sums up the feel of the album, as a lone reed player accompanies the rhythmic clacking of "The Orient Express" passing in the rail station. The music is appropriately visual throughout, never contrived, always just on the edge of breaking into a spirited laugh or a despondent cry. This music not only survives, but on this album, it lives large. - CF

Available at cdRoots

Audio: "Greed" (full song) and short extracts all come from the album, copyright 1999 Kuker Productions, used by permission.

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