The debut album from the upstart multiethnic group Children of the Revolution, Chapter One was perhaps their first exposure beyond the festival circuits that made the group a regional phenomenon. Here, they're recorded in their prime element: in live concert. As with all of their albums, it's a spectacular mix of cultures, culminating largely in something based on flamenco and Greek music. Flavors of the Middle East are common in the songs as well, along with various bits and pieces from around the world. This Mediterranean focus suits the group well, mixing the basic core of lead singer Vassíli's guitar and bouzouki with Eric Jaeger's flamenco stylings. A nice addition here comes from Bob Beer's saz as well. Unlike other albums, violinist supreme Jeffrey Sick takes a smaller role here, making his presence known but not going into full-fledged showmanship very often. Standout percussion is provided by mainstay Mustafa Alkhedairy and Fijian Anil Prassad. The final element is song; taken primarily by powerful vocalist Vassíli, along with singers from Japan, Spain, Greece, Croatia, and beyond, the mix is complete. Moreover, it's this mix of cultures into a coherent whole that's the real key to the music here. Much of what is now known as worldbeat is based on a core of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors and styles, then pumped up into a fusion piece that loses most of its power in a trade for sheer danceability. Children of the Revolution instead make a fusion with some of the same base material, but keep the music's authenticity, finding rhythms and melodic ideas that work together naturally rather than forcing them into a whole. The whole here is much greater than its parts, but the parts are quite worth hearing as well.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg