Friday, May 20, 2005

Trio Talisman, Komedia Tues 17 May

These three very accomplished musicians from Russia and the Ukraine played a hybrid of flamenco, tango and gypsy music. Guitarist and singer Vadim Kulitski led the group and with a cheeky grin told the audience the stories behind the songs. There was one about a man who sold his horse to make money for his wedding ("Don't sell your best friend even if you're gonna marry"). Olekxander Klimas, a virtuosic violinist played a range of instruments, and Oleg Nehls played superb accordion.

The three drew upon a very wide range of styles. Most of the pieces were composed and arranged by themselves, with a few traditional pieces. Breaking the mould of what might be expected from a traditional gypsy band, the band were sometimes reminiscent of the queasy French fairground style of Yann Tiersen (composer of the soundtrack to Amelie), and sometimes drew upon eastern influences and traditional Indian music (ragas and talking drums).

Their vocal harmonies were close-knit, strong and loud but also with some sweet moments. The pace was sometimes mournful and sweet, and at other times frenzied and chaotic.

However, after a while there was something rather over-the-top and cabaret style about the group, as they bordered on novelty. Their charm began to wear off somewhat towards the end of the first half, and by the time they returned after the interval it was hard to maintain interest, particularly as the Komedia had set up the space
cabaret style with no dance floor. This was definitely a dancing gig rather than a sit down affair, and the sedentary audience was incongruent with the energetic, percussive, frenzied playing of the three musicians.


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