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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America


By Tom Orr
Published September 13, 2005

The Charm Of Chamme
Weltwunder Records

Accordion music from Argentina? Tango, right? Nope. Make way for chamme, a lilting but raw sound that's equal parts African roots and Creole/indigenous melding. Chango Spasiuk is considered the genre's Astor Piazzolla, playing with an intricacy and intensity that takes the accordion miles beyond the silliness sometimes associated with it. In many of the tracks on the disc (culled from three previous releases), Spasiuk cuts a sharp, jazzy swath across arrangements that include bass, guitar and percussion along with occasional violin and flute. Melody and groove both come out swinging often enough, though melancholy passages in which the accordion can sound as somber as a funeral organ sometimes bring pensiveness to the party. The stately edge of tango is absent, but in its place are enticing sounds that might put you in mind of polkas or Tex-Mex, European sophistication (reflective of Spasiuk's Ukrainian heritage) classical chamber music, Caribbean quadrilles or even the folkloric strains of places like Appalachia. Whatever you glean from it, though, it's likely you'll find it both different and delightful.