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World Music CD Reviews Europe

MOJMIR NOVAKOVIC I KRIES

By Tom Pryor
Published September 9, 2005

Ivo i Mara
Kopito KR 2 CD 005

From 1992 until 2002, Croatian singer Mojmir Novakovic led the ethno-rock band Legen through innovative fusions of traditional village music with outside pop and rock influences. While Legen is no more, Novakovic continues to explore the collision of tradition and modernity with his new band, Kries. The band takes its name from an old Croatian word for bonfire, and Kries throws of plenty of musical heat. The group achieves a raw and intense sound by combining the lijerica (a traditional knee-violin, ably played by Ivo Letuni -- with African djembes and traditional bagpipes. Add in Novakovic's passionate vocals and some discreet techno flourishes, and it's a winning recipe that finds just the right balance between innovation and tradition. Also included is a bonus disc of Kries' first work, the soundtrack to director Branko Ivanda's 2003 historical film Konjanik (Horserider). Taken together, these two discs open up whole new vistas for Slavic soul music.