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Begnagrad - Begnagrad CD (album) cover

BEGNAGRAD

Begnagrad

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.80 | 34 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars A mainly acoustic Slovenian quintet that released three albums during the 80's and early 90's, and I'm about to review the first in its French AYAA label reissue with different sequencing of tracks and two bonus (let's one biggie and an intro) and vastly different artwork (borrowing more to their third and last release) that was released in 92. Keyboardist & accordionist and leader Bibic writes the majority of the group's music, a gentle jazz-Manouche with Klezmer touches, while guitarist Romih writes the rest, but in a similar vein. Other instruments are violin, congas, ocarina, melodica, both acoustic & electric guitars & bass, whistling and happy vocals that distil some humour throughout the album. Musically speaking we are hovering between Von Zamla and a happy Univers Zero and Begnagrad precedes many other groups that will indulge into this kind of soundscapes. Thankfully for me, the accordion is not as present as I first feared when I rented this album from the library as the clarinet seems to be main lead instrument. The more bizarre track must be Zvisgovska (Whistling Ursulla) where the music Most (if not all) of the members are multi- instrumentalist, which allows for a good variety and avoid too much repetition in a genre that has since been over-flogged to death. Listening to the whole album in one shot might prove a bit too much for some, but if you're into a bit of burlesque humour (ala Von Zappa) into a sometimes improvised eastern folk/jazz (the great bonus track, unfortunately finishing in a jig) that allows for some fine interplay between the five.

Difficult to call this a pop/rock album, with its eastern folk/jazz, but the happy feel that pervades through the music would make it pop(ular) in its own right. If you already have a few album in the Gypsy Jazz/Klezmer/Eastern Folk realm, Begnagrad might not be essential or even a must- own?. But if you're just discovering the style of music, this could be a must-have, but that's really up to you.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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