Dancing in Tetuan

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Joglaresa are well known in classical early music circles, but with this release, focusing on medieval Jewish Sephardic music, they're dipping their toes into the murkier waters of world music. Made up of music professors and sessions musicians, this is a band that can really play, and the loose arrangements leave plenty of space for improvisation, but it's so seamlessly done it's hard to tell what's original and what's new. Inasmuch as there's a star on this release, it's singer Jeremy Avis, whose "Triste Esta El Rey David" and "Esta Muntanya D'Enfrente" are both beautiful and moving. But group director Belinda Sykes is no slouch in the vocal department, either, biding things together and standing out on her contributions (duets between the two singers are spellbinding). There are also instrumentals that fit the mood well, but the joy is the songs, all tiny, glistening gems. Lest anyone think this music is esoteric, the chorus of "Hibbi Zawindi Qublah" is almost pop, open and accessible. The overall result, apart from its beauty, is one of opening up a whole world.

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