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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Various Artists

By Michael Stone
Published October 23, 2008

Princes Among Men: Journeys With Gypsy Musicians
Asphalt Tango

Princes Among Men reflects Garth Cartwright’s journey through the Balkans in search of traditional gypsy music the disc complements the author’s book of the same title (a carousing read in its own right). Along with gems from better-known artists such as Fanfare Ciocarlia, Jony and Boril Iliev, Toni Iordache, Kocani Orkester, Boban Markovic, Ferus Mustafov, Esma Redzepova, and Taraf de Haidouks, this 18-track compilation exposes listeners to other artists equally talented and diverse. Captured here are the speeding brass lines, knuckle-breaking accordion, bounding tsimbal melodies, relentless start-and-stop percussion, thumping bass, searing vocals, boundless energy, good humor, and high spirits that distinguish the living gypsy legacy in the Balkans.