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World Music CD Reviews Europe

BORIS KOVAC AND LA CAMPANELLA

By Tom Orr
Published September 23, 2005

World After History
Piranha

Following the apocalyptic themes of his releases The Last Balkan Tango and Ballads At The End Of Time, saxophonist/composer/multimedia artist Boris Kovac now brings us World After History. Kovac hails from Novi Sad in the Pannonian plains of Yugoslavia and has lately taken a cross-cultural musical approach to his part in the artistic re-emergence of that troubled land. So while La Campanella’s core elements of sax, accordion, guitar, double bass and drums carry a Balkan feel throughout the disc, the “Pannonian-Mediterranean Round Trip” suggested by its subtitle is in heartfelt evidence. The tracks, some bearing such cheeky titles as “Limping Waltz” and “Beguine Again,” are a completely engaging mixture of melancholy and chipper that embraces influences as far afield as Gypsy swing, French cabaret and tango. The band is tight and attuned, moving easily from stately melodic flows to flourishing interludes and occasional, almost-subliminal vocal passages that bring variety and nuance to each piece. There is sadness and longing in this music, but joyful release in equal measure. Very nice.