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Maskarada by Taraf de Haidouks
Released: Aug 2007
Label: Crammed Discs
In the 19th century, classical composers looked east for "exotic" sounds, mining Gypsy music and Eastern European folk for melodies. In 2007 Taraf de Haidouks returned the favor, putting their raucous Gypsy spin on those "oriental" songs. For classical music fans, these freewheeling reinterpretations will be revelations; for people who don't know Balkan folk, this is as painless an inauguration as we can imagine. But for those of us who love Taraf's manic joy, expect some disappointment. The band plays as well as it's ever played, but this experiment curiously sucks a bit of fire from its sound.
Sarah Bardeen

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