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World Music CD Reviews Europe

LES YEUX NOIRS

By TOM PRYOR
Published June 4, 2006

Live
Harmonia Mundi/ World Village

American fans of klezmer and Eastern European roots music had a real treat last year with Balamouk, the stateside debut of Les Yeux Noir. The Parisian band’s unique blend of Roma, Yiddish and Manouche traditions was a minor revelation, but those lucky enough to catch them at their few North American appearances soon learned their album paled in comparison. In case you missed those gigs, now comes Live, capturing Les Yeux Noir in all their frenzy. Led by the twin-violin attack of brothers Eric and Olivier Slabiak, the group tears through a hard-rocking set of cross-culturally tweaked horas and freylekhs and more. And just when the runaway cimbalom and accordion leave you panting, the group catches its breath with a gorgeous slowburner like “Lluba.” Play this one next year at Purim and invite all your gypsy friends over for a drink.