Saturday, December 20, 2008

LOS DESTERRADOS - Miradores (Crusoe Records)

Los Desterrados are to be found where Sephardic music meets its flamenco and balkan neighbours and that’s a vibrant, spicy place to be as they mature their contemporary rendering of a traditional repertoire for their third album.

The group has recently appeared in an American documentary alongside such literary luminaries as Isabel Allende and Doris Lessing, and even those of us who have no understanding of Ladino (the previously near-defunct language of the Sephardic Jews that has been famously revitalised by Yasmin Levy), these sensitively arranged songs - covering such timeless themes as war, love, family and evil mothers-in-law - have a musical lyricism that connects as well as any first-language narrative.
Acoustic guitar, violin, percussion and the striking, soulful timbre of main lead vocalist Hayley Blitz weave a sumptuous, multi-textured sound (sometimes smooth and reflective, sometimes briskly ear-catching) that carries hints of a Jewish Ojos de Brujo, the flightier end of klezmer music, hints of jazz, and a rich, percussive Middle Eastern stew of call and response and plaintive intonation.
With help from the impassioned cry of extra vocalists Daniel Jonas, Mark Greenfield and Andrew Salilda and timely interjections from mandolins, ouds and flute that give a distinct eastern Mediterranean tinge to proceedings, Miradores is a rich and heady brew.

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