Various Artists, Blowers From the Balkans – Classic Historic Recordings of Wind Instruments

Todd Burns

By Todd Burns

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A valuable document of early Balkan music.

One of those pesky eMusic selections that nearly demands liner notes, Blowers from the Balkans presents four distinct sets of Balkan music over its 25 tracks: Romanian-style dances, peasant tunes, clarinet-led Greek pieces and music from the Ottoman-Greek cafés. While the substandard sound quality is sometimes distracting, there are highlights: on “Dura, Dura” you can hear the singer's lips buzz on the d's as she gives life to the Romanian standard, while each of the unaccompanied peasant songs are full of impassioned and playful soloing on bagpipe or lute. Perhaps best is the blaring clarinet of “Trygona” that slowly leads a plodding sing-along. Blowers is both a valuable document of early Balkan music and as vital-sounding as any modern recording.