3 Mustaphas 3

Play Musty for Me

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Is this the swan song for Mustaphas? It certainly seems as if this live collection, drawn from the decade 1981-1991, might be the last listeners hear of the crazy Brits masquerading as bizarre Central Europeans. But what a way to go out. They were always a dynamic live unit, with a powerful sense of humor to match their musical ability and curiosity, drawing from here, there, and everywhere, and putting tunes traditional and modern through their special Cuisinart. Crowd favorite "Speed the Traktor" (an adaptation of the English Morris piece "Speed the Plough") gets a thorough workout, while the Brazilian bossa nova standard "Perfidia" is delivered with heavily accented relish. One could almost think of this as a primer in world music, as they perform glories on the Nigerian classic "Nylon Dress" before taking a transcontinental hop on the epic "Urbas Voda/Prepisor," which goes from Balkan dance music to Cameroonian bitkutsi rave-up, all in the space of eight minutes. What this does, more than anything, is reminds listeners just how influential Mustaphas were in the dissemination of world music during their early growing period, and lets listeners know just how much they'll be missed now that the genre has become serious business.

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