June 21, 2012

BALKANIZE! | ... For You Are Made Of Stars

TITLE:  … For You Are Made Of Stars
LABEL:  self-released 
BALKANIZE! is a Richmond-based band that specializes in “Old World TurkoBalkan folk music.”  In a blindfold test, there’s no way you’d guess their home town; in fact, you probably wouldn’t guess their home country. That’s a major compliment when a band plays other peoples’ traditional music.  Getting there requires a hell of a lot of work – learning unfamiliar instruments like saz, oud and cumbus (three different types of lute), singing in a parcel of languages (Turkish, Greek and Serbo-Croatian to name a few), then internalizing all that effort into your own unique style.  BALKANIZE! has done all that and more on their quite wonderful second recording.  As on their debut, BALKANIZE!’s strengths continue to be their convincing vocals (especially the hair-raising harmonies), rhythmic drive (a great band for the dancers), and willingness to cross any Balkan border in search of a good song or tune.  They make fine use of the studio on this album, employing multitracking to add dimension to the recording rather than simply capturing live performance.  Bravo, ladies and gentlemen, very nicely done! 
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