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Balkan Horses Band - Contact (Part 1)

Balkan Horses Band - Contact (Part 1)Like all good historical stories, the Balkan Peninsula, the bridge between Europe and Asia, has many and, consequently, the background to the Balkan Horses Band would run to a book.  Suffice it to say, for the purposes of this review, that due to political, economical and cultural confrontation, the Balkan peoples separated themselves in closed systems cutting themselves off from all aspects of their neighbours.

UNESCO’s proclaiming the year 2000 as the International Year Of Culture And Peace inspired Aqua Storm Music and Performing Arts Agency to initiate the idea of the creation of a Balkan Cultural Project in the field of Ethno and World music.  To cut a long story short, the outcome was the Balkan Horses Band International Orchestra consisting of nine of the most distinguished Ethno, Rock, Jazz, Ambience and New Age composers and performers.

With a variety of flutes (wooden, panflute, kaval) among the instruments used, the Balkan folk music atmosphere is impossible to miss, varying from the Eastern European to the Turkish and Greek with a minor change in playing style and the addition of voice.

A variation of playing styles from the ethnic to that usually associated to Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson provides another crossover between earthy rock and folk and the addition of electric and acoustic guitar compounding the effect.

Melodica, voice and grand piano creates moments of Renaissance whilst panflute adds a touch of the Andes.  The cosmopolitan influences of the Balkans do not end there, however; lively sections of Latin jazz and elements of Santana (track 2 Touch The Moon in particular) also feature with some great bass, percussion and guitar work.

Contact is a recording from a live performance in June 2001 in Bulgaria and presumably the ‘Part 1’ implies that a second CD could be forthcoming from the same concert.

Music falling under the category of ‘World or Ethno music’ is often an acquired taste, often liked by psuedo-academics for reasons other than the music itself.  The Balkan Horses Band certainly reflects a proportion of World music but is more of a reflection of the various Balkan cultures combined in a ‘westernised’ rock and jazz/folk format.  Memorable prog melodies intertwine with the traditional folksy style of the music so the music has a wide appeal especially to those into Tull, Renaissance and Santana.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Aquastorm (page under construction)

UBP International

 

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