Children of the Revolution

2003: Malaka Music

  1. Kalimera
  2. Polo Margariteño [featuring Yva Las Vegass]
  3. Burnt Sugar
  4. Broken Pieces
  5. Clarinet Improv [featuring Shawn Weaver]
  6. Jonathan
  7. Mariposas [featuring Yva Las Vegass]
  8. Minor Swing (to Django) [featuring Geoffrey Castle and Reggie Watts]
  9. Jasmine
  10. Angeles de Bolivia
  11. Liberation
  12. The Road Song
  13. Take Me Home
  14. Bu Sene [featuring Bob Beer]
  15. Hoof [featuring Mustafa Alkhedairy]

An astonishingly talented local 10-member “supergroup”—my introduction to them was Encarna and Eric performing as a duo at local restaurant Madrid 522, and my friend and I chatted with them afterwards, which was very informative. The range of styles combined or juxtaposed on this CD is impressive: Greek, Arabic, Swing, Flamenco, Klezmer, Rock, and much more. It’s just bursting with talent, as are they.

Although I have a strong affinity for Vassily’s fine Greek tracks, in which now and then a word I know will register (such as the title of the opening track, which means Good Morning), it’s surprisingly “Mariposas” (Butterflies) which grooves me best here, even though Yva Las Vegass’s voice is a little quacky to my ear (her intensity, however, is glorious throughout her tracks). “Mariposas” is a fantastic fusion of flamenco and rock, especially wonderful because it establishes the former first with all its intense poignancy and drama before translating its exuberance into first a tasty rocking extension and later a full-on electric-guitar-driven form. And through all of this it retains the episodic structure and “sonic lighting” that makes flamenco so visually engaging even when you’re only hearing it.

The Django Reinhardt tribute track is delightfully silly, the title track is a beautiful mostly-instrumental journey, and “Bu Sene” is smoky and mysterious. Really “The Road Song” is the only full misstep (tedious rap), with “Take Me Home” just after it unfortunately featuring a limp children’s choir singalong (to me that’s the musical equivalent of fingernails scraping a chalkboard).

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