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January/February 2000

Okros Ensemble
Transylvanian Village Music from Gypsy, Hungarian and Romanian Tradition
Rounder

Anyone spellbound by the musical feast contained in Latcho Drom will find much to love about Transylvanian Village Music from Gypsy, Hungarian and Romanian Tradition (Rounder 5160; 62:50), by the Okros Ensemble with Sandor Fodor "Nett" and Agi Szaloki. The "village" aspect is palpable, in the lovable, rustic looseness and the all-for-one fire of the playing. Intonation is not perfect, but the spirit soars in a way not quite like any other musical tradition in the world. Centerstage is Transylvanian violinist and champion of the old folk music ways, Sandor Fodor "Nett," born in 1922. Most of the music is played on violin, viola and bass, sometimes played in chugging chords that sound like a mutant accordion. Suddenly, from a sweeter place, comes the lovely and bittersweet sound of the young female singer Agi Szaloki, who sings "Cigany Keserves," a Gypsy lament intoning peace amongst different peoples, with plenty of heart and plenty of musicality.

Originally published in January/February 2000
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