List Price: $17.98
Spurred by the popular success of Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares (Nonesuch), there has been unprecedented interest by the Western world in the music of Bulgaria. But the renowned women’s choir offers a mere fragment of the country’s diverse musical heritage. Song of the Crooked Dance, a 23-track compilation of recordings from 1927 to 1942, presents a far more extensive and stunning overview of the Bulgarian traditions, the breadth of which may surprise most listeners. The impassioned ornamentation of 17-year-old singer Vulkana Stoyanova echoes the great vocalists of flamenco. Solos on gaida (bagpipe) and kaval (end-blown flute) recall the launeddas masters of Sardinia and Celtic pipers and flautists. Pieces showcasing trumpet and clarinet resound with klezmer’s free-metered reel. Remarkably, it’s as if Balkan folk music channels the crosscultural gitano flame of the entire European continent. –Sam Prestianni
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