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Maskarada

Taraf de Haïdouks

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Album Review

You might expect a Balkan Gypsy dance band to do any number of things — but tackle a classical program is probably not one of them. Still, the pieces that Taraf de Haïdouks have selected for this album are pretty logical when you think about it, and sound startlingly natural when you actually sit down and listen: Aram Khachaturian's "Lezghinka" sounds perfectly at home in this setting (cimbalon, accordion, clarinet, violins, etc.) and so — surprisingly enough — does Isaac Albéniz's "Asturias." But best of all is the group's interpretation of Béla Bartók's "Romanian Folk Dances," performed here in a style that the notoriously picky and tradition-minded Bartók would surely have loved. The temptation is to regard a group like this as merely raucous and fun — but listen closely and you'll notice a couple of things: first, they play impeccably in tune for a band that tends to play mostly for dances. Second, their arrangements are not just good-time approximations of classical melodies, but carefully orchestrated and virtuosically played settings of pieces that were quite complex to begin with. Whether you sit and listen to it with headphones on or turn up the stereo and reel around the living room with your sweetie, you'll be sure to enjoy this fascinating album.

Biography

Formed: Romania

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The ancient musical traditions of the "lautari" gypsies of Romania are extended through the unique performances of Taraf de Haïdouks, a band of 12 instrumentalists and singers aged 20 to 78. In addition to recording four memorable albums of traditional tunes, the group has appeared on television with Yehudi Menuhin and has recorded and performed with Swiss pop star Stephan Eicher. The music of Taraf de Haïdouks was featured in Tony Gartlif's award-winning film, Latcho Drom. According to David Harrington...
Full bio
Maskarada, Taraf de Haïdouks
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Europe
  • Released: 26 August 2007

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