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Sedmina - Onkraj Reke  (1990-1994)  CD (album) cover

ONKRAJ REKE (1990-1994)



Prog Folk

3.97 | 7 ratings

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3 stars Well after more than a decade since the last album, a change in wives, a complete overhaul in supporting cast, and a stint under the band name Duma, Veno Dolenc returns with a third Sedmina studio release. Klarisa M. Jovanović replaces Melita Osojnik both in Dolenc’ life and in his music, and the rest of the players are all new as well with the exception of violinist Božidar Ogorevc.

Jovanović has a voice that is both broader in range and in emotion than Osojnik, but on the flip side she also comes off as more of a mainstream talent than an the earthy traditional folk sound Osojnik managed on the band’s first two albums.

Instrumentally this is also a broader and richer sounding record. In addition to Ogorevc on violin, La Danza Apocalypsa Balkanica multi-instrumentalist Boris Kovač adds saxophone to the band’s repertoire, along with providing the clarinet and piano previously played by Lado Jaksa. The group also invited a Slovenian string quartet led by Enzo Fabiani into the studio, as well as tuba player Stanko Kemperle who appears on “Marija in Brodnik” most notably, and less prominently on several other tracks. Former Buldozer guitarist Uroš Lovšin takes the band electric for the first time, and also plays some lute but not all that noticeably; and classical artist Slavko Meglič plays upright bass. There is also a second violinist, cellist, percussionist, and accordionist Mirko Šlibar. Oh yeah – and I can hear the Jew’s harp in a few places again as well.

So there are a lot more sounds to work with here, which surprises me a bit since there doesn’t seem to be a lot of care taken by Dolenc to capitalize on all the new sounds he has at his disposal. His voice is once again strong and rich, and Jovanović walks a tight line between harmonizing and coming across as a second featured singer in her own right. On several tracks like “Volk” Dolenc dominates, while on others such as the title track the two of them seem to be interested in presenting a duet of equals.

But the rest of the instrumentation is just a bit too understated in my opinion. The Van Gogh tribute “Hommage Vincentu van Goghu” includes a bevy of accordion and percussive sounds; and on “Na poti v Krasnodar” the piano turns electric; but besides the Baroque-like “Sarabanda” the large group of talented backing musicians are underemployed in the studio as far as I’m concerned.

Too bad, because these arrangements would have led themselves quite well to more string, keyboard and percussive embellishment. But maybe that’s part of the point with prog folk music: to not get caught up in a sort of ‘wall of sound’ approach to music-making. If that’s what Dolenc was going for – he nailed it.

Either way, this album is quite good but not exceptional in my mind. I’m tempted to give it four stars like its predecessors, but it’s just not quite that great. So three stars it is, but still well recommended, especially to world music fans.


ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |


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