Yuri Yunakov

Balada - Bulgarian Wedding Music

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The sophomore release (in America, at least) by the great Bulgarian saxophonist Yuri Yunakov and his ensemble after the days of the Trakija orchestra. This is wedding music at its best, as Yunakov and his band rush through a number of dances at breakneck speed, warbling their instruments all the way. The parallel lines played by Yunakov and Neshko Neshev on accordion work perfectly as they play through a complex passage together, only to break apart for a short passage of counterpoint. Also, the vocal work of Lauren Brody and Carol Silverman provides a worthwhile listen as they lay out a thick layer of melody over the top of melody and harmony alike. While Bulgarian vocal music has taken the world music scene by storm for some time, wedding music has slowly built up a fan base due to its virtuosity and speed. Yunakov has been at the forefront of this movement, and shows off just why he is regarded as a master on this album. It would make a good addition in collections of those interested in Balkan music, and a good starting point for the uninitiated, as it shows off the range of abilities from a virtuoso in the genre.

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