Ida Kelarová

Staré Slzy

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Staré Slzy (or "Old Tears") pairs singer Ida Kelarová with the gypsy group Romano Rat. It is a dark, sad album drowned in themes of love lost and lost loved ones. The singer's low register (think of Yiddish singer Chava Alberstein) gives the songs extra gravity. The vocal harmonies obtained with Desiderius Duzda and Marie Duzdová are often beautiful, but in general the music feels too common to grab attention. Beyond the exasperated pathos one usually finds in gypsy mourning music, you are presented with a soft jazz recipe that attempts to adapt Diana Krall to a Central European market. It is particularly obvious in "Sunen," a slow number twice too long at ten minutes. And this reviewer can't shake off reminiscences of Christopher Cross during the catchier melodies ("Le Phralores" and "Apsora," in particular). The group hits target twice with "Dzivava" and "Mamo Miri," the latter being quite poignant, thanks to a great duet between Duzda and Kelarová. These songs stay closer to gypsy tradition and feature Roman Horváth at the accordion. But when the musicians trade that for a Fender Rhodes electric piano and a saxophone, as in "Savore Roma," they loose their charm and turn into any international easy listening jazz band. Disappointing.