Mostar Sevdah Reunion

The Legends of Life

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There's a sense of redemptive joy in this second collaboration between Mostar Sevdah Reunion and singer Ljiljana Buttler. After luring her out of retirement for a 2003 disc and a tour, they came back together for this album, recorded in 2005, which also features the wonderful Saban Bajramovic singing with her on "Rupuni." This is the sound of Bosnia's gypsies, not the madcap melodies of so much of the Balkans, but slower, more mournful and emotional. Buttler's voice is a perfect complement, the way she immerses herself in a lyric, especially on "Placem Vec Tri Dana." There's plenty of more traditional music here, too, but it's interpreted wonderfully by the band, who evoke blues and jazz in their fluid playing -- Mustafa Santic is little short of a virtuoso on the unlikely combination of accordion and clarinet. The playing is spare, every note thoughtfully executed, the instruments not only framing the voices, but also creating moods. Listen, too, for the trumpet of guest Naat Veliov on "Andro Verka," which he fills out gorgeously. A lovely and moving record.

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