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Album Review

Experienced live and in person, Cirque du Soleil's Kooza is at once both a continuation of their futuristic 21st century expansion of the circus as an art form and a deliberate refocusing upon the fundamental human elements within that tradition — clowning and acrobatics. The show was conceived and written by David Shiner, a seasoned master of the art of circus clowning. As an audio recording, Kooza fits the troupe's pattern of blending world fusion dance mixes with textural mood music and pop vocals. With some assistance from Laurence O'Keefe, Jean-Francois Cote composed the show's musical accompaniments, drawing upon contemporary orchestral traditions, the funk of the '70s, film scores of the ‘40s and ‘50s, and the variegated musical culture of India. Additional credits cite instrumentalists Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard as arrangers, coordinators, and producers. A female vocalist heard periodically throughout the show is identified as Theresa Jones Bailey. Kooza's multinational instrumental ensemble includes several jazz and folk musicians from Quebec, where Cirque du Soleil originated and is still based. Naturally, hearing Kooza in private is light years away from experiencing a live production. The onsite spectator would be breathing the same air as the circus performers and their accompanying musicians while facing the possibility of being "volunteered" by clowns into a jolly bout of audience participation. Safely sequestered listeners, on the other hand, will find that the audio recording simply offers a series of colorful, contrasting musical episodes. Anyone who has seen Cirque du Soleil in person or on the projection screen of a movie theater will be able to visualize how both the naïve "L'innocent" and the South Asian jam "Royaume" were used as the sound bed for the aggressively merry comedic cacophony known as Charivari. By itself the music cannot convey the complexity of the most highly developed circus show on earth. Jugglers, unicyclists, clowns, pickpockets, and astonishingly flexible contortionists are the ground cover as it were for a team of trapeze artists and balancing acts including the daredevil who defies gravity by dancing and propelling off of a terrible object known as the Wheel of Death. Kooza was premiered in Montreal in 2007; four years later while staging the show in Japan at the time of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, the troupe had to evacuate and relocate to Macau, China where they met up with the crews of the company's other productions, Zaia and Zed.

Biography

Formed: Quebec, Canada

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Cirque du Soleil revolutionized the circus arts, transcending the traditional big-top approach of the past to spotlight elaborate sets, lavish costume, and original music. Founded in Quebec in 1984 by Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier, the original group comprised local street performers; shunning animal acts to focus exclusively on human spectacles — stilt-walkers, jugglers, fire-eaters, and the like — the troupe quickly earned a following throughout Canada, eventually spreading across...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Cirque du Soleil

Kooza, Cirque du Soleil
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  • ¥1,500
  • Genres: Soundtrack, Music
  • Released: Jun 24, 2008

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