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Charming Hostess - Sarajevo Blues CD (album) cover


Charming Hostess



3.80 | 8 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Which describes this better: Avant-progressive rock featuring members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum? Or Klezmer and Traditional music with lots of great vocal harmonies, influences from various other genres, and beatboxing?

Umm, both?

For sure, this album sits closer to the second description and the use of the word "Rock" to describe this music feels ill-advised from the beginning. But such considerations are irrelevant, because this is definitely a musical album - bandleader Jewlia Eisenberg presents her vision strongly and concisely. She is surrounded by a surprisingly high number of musicians, given how much space there is in the music here.

The music is largely lead by voice - both in the vocal harmonies, lead vocals, and the beatboxing present on a lot of tracks (I wasn't joking about that point above!). There's a great ethnic edge to this thanks to the use of various traditional musics.

While voice is the predominant force on the album, the instrumental accompaniments are superb, enhancing the melody and mood of the album. Listen to the guitar and the violin on Tunnel - they create space for the music, emerging to emphasize the mood and the words. Superb!

A fair portion of the album (from The Tunnel to Zenica Blues) are part of the "Sarajevo Blues" part of the album. This album is based on a book of poems by the same name, based on the Bosnian Siege. This is a time when civilians would often be shot at by snipers - a concept that is important in two tracks, Death Is A Job (which asks the question: who is more evil, the sniper shooting people, or the photographer who tries to get a picture of it happening?), and A Relatively Calm Day (Snipers are in action / only a few have been killed / we're informed a relatively calm day has passed). For sure, this is the section of the album with the most punch and the most emotion to it.

The remaining tracks are split between a two other sections: The first two tracks are traditional Jewish songs, and the last three are labelled as Poem songs.

Great album, check it out!

TheGazzardian | 4/5 |


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