Transsylvanians - Igen!
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cd cover The Transsylvanians describe their music as "Hungarian speedfolk." The press release talks of "a mixture of rap, rock, Bartok, ska, punk and gypsy-techno." Fair enough, although I like to describe their music as "Drockula." Maybe it is because I've been bitten hard by the Transsylvanian bug myself and I'm batting my wings pestering everyone in a three-mile range to listen to this band and in particular the child of Blur's "Song2" and Athena's "For Real" (The Turkish Eurovision Contest entry) that goes by the name of "J�noska" which happens to be one of the top "yoo hoo" songs of late. Perplexed? Listen to it and it'll make sense, believe me.

This record is no lame "rock-traditional fusion" of the Seventies variation, but a hot-blooded, full-bodied hybrid that is propelled forward by Thomas Leisner's drum, delivers flames from Tiborcz Andr�s' violin, shoots rapid-fire riffs from Hendrik Maa�' guitar, seduces sweet ska-ndalous sounds from Tiborc Denes' saxophone and is all presided over by the vocals of Her Majesty, Nagy Isabel.

"Igen" is the transcription of a Madness number heard on a short-wave radio in Timisoara back in the old days. "Apa Cuka" is Manu Chao looking for blood donors, while the "Mini Suites" are said to be after Bartok... well, Bartok as played on a jukebox in a bar. "Zeng� ABC" must sound great turned up to 11 in a medieval castle, especially the slightly demented organ towards the end. "Leg�ny�s" and "Bety�rn�ta" are more traditional in spirit and thus pure Drockula chic. "Sukar" sounds a bit like Calexico of all things.

There are a couple of songs that didn't quite work out for me and strangely enough are the ones where the Transsylvanians collaborate with others: the dinosaur rocker Stoppok on "Debrecen" and the rappers Rack & Sonic on "Berlin Babylon."

Overall, Igen! is good fun and often funny, and although it never shies away from its traditional musical sources, it never holds to those sources at the expense of the music itself. If you liked the music of Kapela Ze Wsi Warszawa, Korai �r�m, Os Diplomaticos and Manu Chao, then this record is for you. - Nondas Kitsos

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