If only for the ethnic composition of the group, Vershki Da Koreshki is one of the most radical ensembles in the world. Composed of a Tuvan singer and musician (Huun-Huur Tu's lead singer, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg), two Russian avant-garde jazz instrumentalists (Vladimir Volkov and pianist/accordionist Alexi Levin), and a Senegalese singer and percussionist (Mola Sylla), Vershki Da Koreshki truly brings the world under one musical umbrella.
The group's multi-weave of East and West is dazzling. The wiry Asian inflections of Khovalyg's awe-inspiring throat singing abut complex tribal polyrhythms and Sylla's warm West African melodies. These disparate elements are spliced with progressive jazz accompaniment and wild improvisational soloing, creating a shifting, seething whole that is at once dark, evocative, propulsively rhythmic, and celebratory. As the band's name indicates ("Vershki" is Russian for 'leaves,' while "Koreshki" means 'roots'), these international experimentalists are simultaneously anchored in fundamental world rhythms and dedicated to exploration in the more ethereal realms. They meld the two approaches to create an organic whole. THE REAL LIFE OF PLANTS, the band's debut, is more than a musical document. It is a beautiful articulation of a singular global musical vision.