Os Cempés - Moe a Moa
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Os Cempés
Moe a Moa
Madame Mir (www.madamemir.com)

cd cover Galician sextet Os Cempés' fourth release, recorded live in concert, suggests what rock 'n' roll might sound like had it been invented in the northwest corner of the Iberian peninsula instead of in New Jersey. Os Cempés is like two, two, two bands in one!: traditional ethnic sounds from Oscar Fernández' accordion and zanfona, Antón Vareal's gaitas and clarinet, and the vocals of Serxo Ces; jazzy rock from Oscar Painceiras' electric bass, Caba Garcia's electric guitar, and Jose Piñeiro's drum set. The addition of Ces' saxophone provides mellow density and bright accents, and the steel guitar of Alvaro Lamas on three tracks ranges from ethereal to pleasantly goofy. The result is infectiously upbeat, an alternative delectation of Galician music.

On the opening and title track, a lively 5/4 electric guitar strum introduces Serxo Ces' cheerful vocal, full drive arriving with accordion, drums and bass, gaita providing a contrasting reel, joined on the second iteration by saxophone for a thrillingly expansive sound reminiscent of Canada's La Bottine Souriante. The carefree jazzy swing of "Cantarela dos Bares" poses walking bass and accordion in pleasing rhythmic tension with Ces' traditional vocal and a flurry of pandeireta. On "Pasodoble Romántico," restrained jazzy guitar chords introduce a quiet yet compelling melody on zanfona, saxophone picking up the melody on the second turn, the first of a number of strategically placed calming breaks.

"Capitán Do" features an accordion-led two-step with Cajun references as well as playful melodic divergences, the gaita picking up melody for the second verse, a country and western guitar solo surprisingly in place. "Novo Biduido" offers another settling pause, a slow waltz on zanfona, gathering percussion and a dark dissonant melody on gaita, relieved a bit by smooth saxophone. On "Sara, Sariña," the most thrilling track on the recording, a spirited 3/4 pandeireta shake and loud guitar figure kick off one of Ces' best vocals, forceful and soaring, zanfona and clarinet providing dense backing. The band pauses in the center to flip into an intriguing instrumental conversation among zanfona, rock guitar, and gaita, followed by an enthusiastic audience sing-along.

Moe a Moa successfully conveys the excitement of a live concert. You may not have one hundred feet available when you listen, but any you do have will be tapping if not dancing along. - Jim Foley

The Os Cempés web site: www.oscempes.com

CD available at cdRoots

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