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Rough Guide To The Music Of Eastern Europe

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Genre: World Music - Latin Jazz / Artist: Various Artists / Audio CD released 1998-09-14 at World Music Network

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      22.06.2009 15:58
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      intro for the uninitiated

      Rough Guide, best known for their budget travel guides, has been steadily expanding in other areas, and has been responsible for quite a few musical "guides" over the years.

      This 1998 album, marketed as "Rough Guide to the Music of Eastern Europe", does pretty much exactly what is says on the package: provides quite a wide ranging overview of folk and (occasionally) folk-inspired music of Eastern Europe. This is an album that pretty much started my liking for "world music" coming from my part of the world, and despite its age it remains a good compilation which really does showcase the variety of what's on offer quite well.

      One thing that this "Rough Guide" album needs is perhaps a better definition of what is considered Eastern Europe: this is a surprisingly woolly category (I always remember somebody commenting than Poland used to be in Middle Europe before WW2, while after that, despite having its borders move several hundred miles to the west, it become part of Eastern Europe), but usually refers to the countries of the former Soviet block (and sometimes includes Greece).

      On this album, "Eastern Europe" is actually more of an alternative label for the Balkans. Most tracks come from artists from Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and countries of former Yugoslavia, although there is one track from a Russian band, and one from Polish mountains. I can understand this, as the Balkans are probably musically the most interesting and there is only very limited number of connoisseurs of GDR disco and other more obscure manifestations of Eastern European music. Still, the name would have fitted better if we had a little bit less from the Balkans, and a little bit more from Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland and maybe even the Baltic.

      The pieces included on this compilation are mostly fairly traditional ones (most credits claim "traditional"), a crop of the folk music revival that took place in this area in the late 80's and the 90's. This is not a criticism, as there is enough there to actually warrant a sampler compilation for each country or style, but it needs to be said that those of a more rock'n'roll inclination would be probably happier exploring a vast area of folk-inspired music that that has sprung from the Eastern European sources since, combining traditional European music, rock, roots, punk and folk influences from other continents.

      As it is, "Rough Guide to the Music of Eastern Europe" is, in itself, a worthy introduction to the more traditional sounds of the area.

      It starts with the wonderful Marta Sebestyen (in an unusual, Bulgarian track, but still with her trademark voice) and includes a few Turkish-influenced tracks with noticeable Oriental flavour Taraf De Haidouks and Kalman Balogh, the crystalline purity (which is, to be honest, tad on the boring side) of Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares, eastern take on the brass band in Kocani Orkestar and some fun, trashy Russian post-folk dance music from Apparatchik. Klezmer-influenced music makes an appearance and, in keeping with a domination of the Balkans, Gypsy sounds or their echoes are present throughout.

      There is nothing particularly unusual on this CD, in fact, it's possible to buy music by all the artists that feature here in Western music shops and see them live too with a bit of effort. But this is not a bad thing: the intention of this collection is to act as an introduction for the uninitiated and it does it pretty well.

      The inset to the CD is very informative and makes the purchase of the actual physical CD worth contemplating, although you could probably find all the tracks available for download somewhere.

      The CD is available on Amazon from about £10.




      Track

      1. Devoiko Mome - Sebestyen, Marta
      2. Spune Spune Mos Batrin - Taraf De Haidouks
      3. Kurbis - Apparatschick
      4. L'Orient Est Rouge - Veliov, Naat & Kocani Orkestar
      5. Zaplakala E Gorata - Trio Bulgarka
      6. Stano Cunovo Oro/Velesko Oro - King Ferus
      7. Calusul - Balogh, Kalman
      8. 2 Weirchowe Ozwodna 2 Kresane 2 Drobne - Trebunia Family Band
      9. Ezustmuzsika - Vizonto
      10. Beautiful Milka - Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares
      11. Danubian Daichaovo Horo - Horo
      12. Mamo Marie Mamo - Papasov, Ivo & His Bulgarian Wedding Band
      13. Mountain Pacular - Zsaratnok Ensemble
      14. Valle E Lezhes - Pashku, Mark
      15. Anonym - Parov, Nikola
      11. Danubian Daichaovo Horo - Horo
      12. Mamo Marie Mamo - Papasov, Ivo & His Bulgarian Wedding Band
      13. Mountain Pacular - Zsaratnok Ensemble
      14. Valle E Lezhes - Pashku, Mark
      15. Anonym - Parov, Nikola

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Devoiko Mome - Sebestyen, Marta
      2 Spune Spune Mos Batrin - Taraf De Haidouks
      3 Kurbis - Apparatschick
      4 L'Orient Est Rouge - Veliov, Naat & Kocani Orkestar
      5 Zaplakala E Gorata - Trio Bulgarka
      6 Stano Cunovo Oro/Velesko Oro - King Ferus
      7 Calusul - Balogh, Kalman
      8 2 Weirchowe Ozwodna 2 Kresane 2 Drobne - Trebunia Family Band
      9 Ezustmuzsika - Vizonto
      10 Beautiful Milka - Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares
      11 Danubian Daichaovo Horo - Horo
      12 Mamo Marie Mamo - Papasov, Ivo & His Bulgarian Wedding Band
      13 Mountain Pacular - Zsaratnok Ensemble
      14 Valle E Lezhes - Pashku, Mark
      15 Anonym - Parov, Nikola