O Lásce (About Love)

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Jirí and Helena Vedral have been performing traditional Czech music for a while and they even released a couple albums as a duet. O Lásce presents them as part of a fully integrated group. Besides the violinist and guitarist (both are also singers), the quartet is comprised of bassist Jan Dvorák and percussionist Cécile Boiffin -- she mostly plays marimba. Trumpeter Jan Delozal and extra singers add their touches on a handful of tracks. O Lásce (About Love) is a collection of traditional folk songs from Wallachia, a region of Moravia. The Vedrals' arrangements tend to emphasize the volatile nature of these songs and the feelings they convey, much like Iva Bittová, although in a different register. Muziga sticks closer to tradition, both in terms of instrumentation and delivery, but the affinity between Vedralová and Bittová is detectable through the typical Moravian vocal fiorituras and the arrangements in the closing "Vím Zahrádku Trenenú," very Bilé Inferno-esque. The first half of the CD contains straightforward renditions. The songs are good but not stellar to start with and the performance lacks a bit of passion. Things become very interesting with the long "Byl Starícek Stary," a nice vocal duet. "Súzení"'s more daring arrangements and the beautiful "Dar" give the music a different spin. Vedralová's charming voice focuses the attention, but it is often Boiffin's marimba that brings the welcome odd element. After a slightly cold beginning, the album warms up and turns out to be first-class Moravian folk.

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