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Transilvania Express

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Album Review

Balkanized gypsy and klezmer music from a band assembled in Spain and comprised of an Englishman, Irishman, Spaniard, and Bulgarian — if that doesn't qualify as world music, then what does? With a basic lineup of fiddle, accordion, bass, and gadulka (a 13-string Bulgarian fiddle originally used to accompany dancing bears), Orkestina creates a wonderful noise, although it takes a little while to get fully warmed up. However, by the extensive "Mary," which runs through a couple of horas before heading into Celtic territory, they're all steaming ahead, with some superb playing that pushes higher and higher over the course of ten-plus minutes before a veritable musical explosion at the end, leaving the listener wondering how they can top that. But they do with "Momneele," a slow love song, drafting in singer Minka Nenova. And so it continues: "Horo No. 2" features some sterling accordion work from Jon Davison, and the Romanian "Sirba" suddenly takes off into a double-speed romp of jaw-dropping virtuosity. Smoothly negotiating complex time signatures, they ease through the klezmer mood of "Galitzyaner Tanz" before delving into traditional Bulgarian music for the closing "Groovski Ritmi," featuring some stunning work on the gadulka. Consider this album to be a joy and absolute pleasure.

Transilvania Express, Orkestina
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  • £5.99
  • Genres: World, Music
  • Released: 24 May 2003

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