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World Music CD Reviews Europe

BORIS KOVAC & LADAABA ORCHEST

By PAUL-ÉMILE COMEAU
Published June 5, 2006

Ballads At The End Of Time
Piranha

Boris Kovac’s bittersweet saxophone leads a small ensemble—appropriately enough, La Danza Apocalyptica Balcanica—of clarinet, accordion, double bass, drums, violin and guitar eloquently. The composer’s dark music was inspired by the war-ridden Balkan states, encompassing tango, waltz, rumba and calypso. Some titles, such as “Beguine At The End,” “Cha Cha” and “Broken Waltz,” are reflective of the music, but as played by a salon-orchestra at a time and place decadent or worse. The album is a sequel to last year’s The Last Balkan Tango, though more elegiac and mournful in certain respects. This is nonetheless for a post-apocalyptic mood, when hope begins to rise slowly from gloom. The album starts with the sound of a dog howling (the composer cleverly reinserting canine yelps later), which evokes both pathos and faith. Kovac has declared this to be his last Ladaaba project; a strong impression to finish with, indeed.