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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Perunika Trio

By Jeff Tamarkin
Published June 20, 2008

Introducing Perunika Trio
World Music Network

The three Bulgarian-rooted, London-based female voices that account for nearly every sound on Introducing Perunika Trio—only a tarabuka drum and kaval flute augment them, and even then very sporadically—are sometimes so light and airy, there’s a sense that they’ll simply float away and dissipate into the ether. At other times, there’s more of a palpable strength, or a deliberate otherworldliness, to their harmonization, as if to remind us that they are, after all, contemporary urbanites and not craggy oldsters who’ve never left the countryside. Either way, the trio delivers a pure, decidedly ancient sound—almost churchy in its solemnity and austerity, but often coming with a twist: a slightly bent and discordant note here, a sharp turn of rhythm there, perhaps accompanied by a sandpapery rasp that tries to sully a diamond tone. Together for less than three years and united in their feistiness, as well as their loyalty to their Balkan roots, the members of Perunika Trio don’t adhere strictly to tradition so much as give it an upgrade.