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Gypsy Killer

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Album Review

Knitting Factory Records is best known for avant-garde jazz, but not every Knitting Factory release falls into that category. Sanda Weigl's Gypsy Killer isn't jazz (although parts of the album contain slight hints of jazz), and it isn't avant-garde — certainly not by Romanian standards. The Romanian singer's forte is traditional East European music — specifically, Romanian gypsy music. But the musicians who back Weigl on this CD (which is her first U.S. release) are not traditional Romanian musicians. Many of the people Weigl employs are New York-based jazz musicians, including guitarist Marc Ribot, trombonist Curtis Fowlkes, and pianist/organist Anthony Coleman. Therefore, a little jazz influence asserts itself, but only a little. This album is East European gypsy music first and foremost, and Weigl shows herself to be a very soulful and expressive vocalist on traditional songs like "Ciuleandra," "Trenule Masina Mica," "Valeleu," and "Cine Lubeste Si Lasa." Those who don't speak Romanian won't understand the lyrics, but they will know that she brings a great deal of feeling and emotion to them. Drinking songs are big in East European gypsy culture, and this CD contains at least two: "Bun ii Vinu Ghiurghiuliu" and "Butelcuta Mea." If "Pina Cind Nu Te Lubeam" reminds you of Middle Eastern music, it is no coincidence — this haunting and very old Gypsy song calls for the type of modal/scalar playing that, for centuries, has been used in Arabic, Jewish, Greek, Armenian, Indian, and North African music. Some types of East European music involve modal playing, and that includes various forms of gypsy music. This excellent CD is recommended to people who are heavily into East European gypsy music as well as those who have a more casual interest in artists from that part of the world.


Born: Bucharest, Romania

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

All her life, Romanian singer Sanda Weigl has performed traditional Romanian gypsy music; first in her native Romania, then in Germany, and most recently, in the United States (where she now resides). Born in Bucharest, Romania, Weigl came into the world at a time when Romania and the rest of Eastern Europe were run by oppressive communist regimes. During Eastern Europe's communist years, Romania was especially oppressive; Romania was once the home of the hated, feared dictator Nikolai Ceaucescu,...
Full Bio
Gypsy Killer, Sanda Weigl
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