Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Balkan Roots


Sounds From a Bygone Age, Vol. 1
Asphalt Tango

In 1965, swift, facile, contained Romanian violinist Stoican was a guy who caught a spy, and as a reward got the crazed Ceausescu dictatorship to record a band he assembled. The even more understated trumpeter Costel Vasilescu was the true leader, leaving the mind-blowing to cymbalom virtuoso Toni Iordache, who pours on rippling rhythms of a startling vibraphone-meets-balafon sonority. More genteel than their Yugoslav counterparts but less smarmy than the Hungarian ones, these players show off the ins and outs of an uncommonly lively hotel and dinner music well worth preserving.

Rolling Stone, Jan. 25, 2007

Postscript Notes:

Included in an "Update: Gypsy Music" block titled "Balkan Roots: Beirut, "Borat" soundtrack -- and some actual Gypsy music"; the other reviews were: Boban Markovic Orkestar: Boban I Marko Balkan Brass Fest; Borat: Original Soundtrack; Beirut: Lon Gisland.