Moberg Ensemble

World Music from Prague

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A men's choir of eight voices, a women's choir of 11 voices, and a backing band of nine musicians: that's what the Moberg Ensemble consists of. World Music From Prague is exactly that: world music, as opposed to folk, from a Prague-based perspective. What it means is that the songs are taken from the Czech and Moravian folk traditions, but the arrangements stretch further, encompassing African percussion (lots of djembe), new age keyboards (only occasionally, luckily), jazz leanings, and a wide array of vocal techniques and styles that range from pre-Gregorian chanting to Arvo Pärt's vocal works. That being said, the main impression is of rich arrangements of East European folk songs. The music is at times joyful, at others sad, but always bombastic with a lot of pathos -- typical in East European folk. Of course, what draws the attention first and foremost is the mixed choir. The vocal arrangements are lush and often complex, making great and at times unusual use of the male and female sections. The use of keyboards is sometimes annoying, but the percussion arrangements are surprisingly convincing, opening up the music to new horizons without defacing it of its cultural origins. An elegant English translation of all lyrics is supplied in the booklet. Most of all, the selected songs (grouped under two headings: life and love) are touching and strongly interpreted, making this album an excellent choice for world music and choir music fans.

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