Milagro Acustico

The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam

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For their second album, Milagro Acustico take on something big, and with a massive reputation -- The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, one of the great literary masterpieces. Translating it, or at least some of it, into a musical setting offers a fascinating challenge, but their pan-Mediterranean approach is uniquely suited to the task. At times the group sounds like a chamber orchestra (as on "The Road of Nishapur, Pt. 3," with its Persian vocals), at times the folk element is so pure, such as with the solo voice on "Komakam Kon." With a full 13 members, the band can offer a range of tonal colors, from brass to strings and piano, and even the Indian santur, but in the main they aim for -- and achieve -- a hanging delicacy, typified by "Viristi U Munnu." This is a stunningly beautiful record at times, as befits the poetry, one which doesn't put any performer above any other, but utilizes the qualities and talents of the whole ensemble to create jewel-like settings. It's a reminder, not only of how lovely the words of the text are, but also that the music of the Mediterranean can contain crystalline melancholy as well as sunny vibrancy.

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