Personnel: Snezana Dimkaroska (vocals, violin, tambourine); Ljuben Dimkaroski (vocals, trumpet, tapan); Branko Orlic (guitar); Narcis Salihovic (violin); Zarko Vojinovic (accordion); Zlatko Magdevski (double bass).
Liner Note Authors: Strune; Diz Heller.
Recording information: Studio Alien (2001).
Translators: Diz Heller; Jeannine Blanpain.
Strune (the name means "Strings") is an ensemble of instrumentalists and male and female vocalists. The album title suggests they are rural with only a couple of performers. In reality, they are urban with a classical background and university training. They are more like a small orchestra, with six musicians who between them play accordion, two violins, guitar, lute, banjo, trumpet, double bass, and indigenous drums. This kind of group is descended from an ensemble from the Ottoman era, but the instruments have been updated and Westernized. The instrumental texture and body are almost orchestral, very full and rich; the singing is good, not great, and sometimes it gets in the way of the great instrumental sound.
There are a lot of wonderful songs one could mention. "Se Zapali Mace Planimata (Mount Maca Is Burning)" is a moody, mid-tempo number with the typical Slavic melodic phrases. (Other tracks sound more Middle Eastern.) "Dvajspetorka" is amazing because it has a time signature of 25/8, which means that each measure is built up out of about seven smaller metrical units. Some of the tracks are more traditional, fast little country tunes. But the great texture is still there, just a little leaner. This disc is enjoyable in so many ways, it's impossible to catalog them. ~ Kurt Keefner
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