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Album Review

For a record made in America with several Americans involved (although with a number of Bosnians and Croats), this is probably as authentic a Balkan experience as you're likely to find outside Europe. One of the Americans who helped bring this to fruition is Tim Erkisen of Cordelia's Dad, a man who understands authenticity in music, so it's no surprise unaccompanied songs like "Ganga" sound so rich, with five voices interesting. But equally interesting are the tracks Zabe i Babe recorded with Ansambl Teodosijevski, who come from the Macedonian Rom tradition and have inherited the mantle of their adoptive parents, Stevo Teodosijevski and Esma Redzepova. The marriage, on tracks like "Lipe Cvatu," is absolutely wonderful, with some stunning playing that not only draws together the entire Balkans, but also the U.S. into one cultural harmony. But the entire album is a delight, with the unaccompanied pieces — which make up the major part of this record — taped in a backyard, giving a rough, vital spontaneity to it all. For Zabe i Babe leader Mirjana Lausevic, this is obviously a labor of love, but it's one whose rewards are endless.

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Drumovi, Zabe I Babe
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