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CD Review – Reflections of Eastern Europe
by Pat MacSwyney, author of The Complete Gobshite's Guide to Balkan Folk Dance Music

Reflections of Eastern Europe marks the third recording by Nevenka, the L.A. based vocal group who have championed Balkan and assorted East European women's music in L.A. for nearly three decades. For fans of the genre, this latest recording includes multiple examples of full eastern European women's choirs in the style of the old socialist-era state choirs... this recording is as varied as it is beautifully arranged, sung and recorded.

...A few personal favorites include Rusan na Ruska dumashe, an achingly beautiful Bulgarian song of heartbreak with progressive layers of crystalline voices beginning with a single voice and ending with the full choir; the wistful Greek Ela pere me and playful Pos tha perasi I vradhia; Deda mogik'vdesa, a Georgian mother's lament for a dead son; the dreamy Sephardic El Sueno de la Hija del Rey; the Albanian Vete me the te dua sung as a duet of melody and drone reminiscent of the local gajda (bagpipe), a singing style typical of the west Balkans; and the lush Bulgarian Zakusnjala e Lalitsa which finishes off the CD.

With Reflections of Eastern Europe, Nevenka runs the gamut from melancholic to uplifting and nearly every human emotion in between. For fans of Balkan music, women's music, choir music or just great music, this is an engaging, soulful, brilliantly executed and very highly recommended recording which has scarcely left my stereo since its release!

 

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