Caravan

Caravan

by Kronos Quartet
     
 
The intrepid Kronos Quartet has undertaken many musical voyages over the years, but none of their prior releases has covered as much uncharted territory or defined their exploratory spirit so well as KRONOS CARAVAN. Starting with the Balkans as a home base, the quartet dons gypsy garb and roams the globe to Portugal, India, Mexico,

Overview

The intrepid Kronos Quartet has undertaken many musical voyages over the years, but none of their prior releases has covered as much uncharted territory or defined their exploratory spirit so well as KRONOS CARAVAN. Starting with the Balkans as a home base, the quartet dons gypsy garb and roams the globe to Portugal, India, Mexico, Argentina, and the Middle East, picking up local musicians as collaborators along the way. Few of the featured composers will be familiar -- except for Terry Riley and perhaps, for tango aficionados, Anibal Troílo -- but just as Kronos brought Astor Piazzolla's music to the attention of many listeners a decade ago, there are names here that merit a brighter spot on our multicultural radar. Among them is Carlos Paredes, a Portuguese guitarist and composer whose two works on this album -- sensitively arranged, as is much of the program, by frequent Kronos collaborator Osvaldo Golijov -- show a gift for devastatingly gorgeous lyricism. Equally striking is the mesmerizing brilliance of Rahul Dev Burman's "Aaj Ki Raat," an artifact of Bollywood, India's vibrant film industry. This is the first recorded outing for new Kronos cellist Jennifer Culp, who replaced Joan Jeanrenaud in 1999. Culp seems to take naturally to the quartet's unique repertoire and style; listen to her long solo at the beginning of Lebanese composer Ali Jihad Racy's "Ecstasy" for a taste of her expressive, versatile playing. There's something here for everyone. Even if the synthesized brass and percussion of Riley's "Cortejo Fúnebre" sound slightly out of place, and Kayhan Kalhor's contribution from Iran seems a bit too literal-minded in its depiction of galloping horses, there's no arguing with Kronos's ability to masquerade in a multitude of styles and blend effectively with their guests, whether it be the Romanian gypsy ensemble Taraf de Haïdouks or rock drummer Martyn Jones, who sits in for a rousing reading of surf guitarist Dick Dale's "Misirlou Twist" that spotlights the familiar tune's Armenian ancestry.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Adam Greenberg
On their 2000 release, the Kronos Quartet has appeared with an album worthy of their name. On Caravan, the quartet uses songs from the world round, with all of them rearranged as needed to fit a string quartet. There are compositions from Yugoslavia ("Pannonia Boundless"), Portugal ("Cancao Verdes Anos" and "Romance No. 1"), India ("Aaj Ki Raat"), Mexico ("La Muerte Chiquita"), Turkey ("Turceasca"), Romania, Hungary, Iran, Lebanon, and Argentina. There are guest artists left and right on the album: Hindustani tabla great Zakir Hussain aids on the Bollywood work "Aaj Ki Raat" (Tonight's the Night). Taraf de Haidouks, a gypsy ensemble, provides extra violins and accordions on "Turceasca" to make the work outright exhilarating. Lebanese nay player Ali Jihad Racy appears on his composition, as does Iranian kemancheh player Kayhan Kalhor. The Kronos Quartet has shown themselves to be quite adept at ethnic musics (though Westernized thoroughly by the time the quartet is through with them) since Pieces of Africa, and possibly even better than their American based works (see Music of Bill Evans album). That part still continues. They again use stunning virtuosity to make a tango play through smoothly on this album, as tangos almost seem to be a specialty for the group. There is quite a rough spot on the album on Terry Riley's composition, "Cortejo Funebre en el Monte Diablo." The work sounds like some kind of classicized version of a cross between industrial punk and video game background music -- needless to say, not the greatest work ever done by the group. To end the album, the quartet takes on an interpretation of surf guitar king Dick Dale's hit "Misirlou," adapting it to their format with surprising efficiency. Overall, the music is for the most part relatively incredible, despite the rough spot on Riley's composition. Kronos Quartet are occasionally on-again-off-again, but here, they're almost entirely on.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/18/2000
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597949025
catalogNumber:
79490

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kronos Quartet   Primary Artist,Ensemble,String Quartet
Terry Riley   electronics,Ensoniq
Ali Jihad Racy   Ney,Nay
Hank Dutt   Viola
David Harrington   Violin
Zakir Hussain   Tabla
John Sherba   Violin
Martyn Jones   Drums
Jennifer Culp   Cello
Kayhan Kalhor   Kamanche
Taraf de Haïdouks   Ensemble
Souhail Kaspar   Tar
Ziya Tabassian   Tombak,Tambak
Constantin Lautaru   Violin
Ionel Manole   Accordion
Ionel "Ionita" Manole   Accordion
Constantin "Costica" Lautaru   Violin
Viorel Vlad   Double Bass
Anghel "Caliu" Gheorghe   Violin
Marin "Marius" Manole   Accordion

Technical Credits

Robert Hurwitz   Executive Producer
Gustavo Santaolalla   Producer
Judith Sherman   Producer
Craig Silvey   Engineer
Ken Hunt   Liner Notes
Frank Olinsky   Art Direction
Osvaldo Golijov   Arranger
Rahul Dev Burman   Composer
Enrique Rangel   Composer
Kees de Visser   Engineer
Aleksandra Vrebalov   Composer
Pandit Pran Nath   Liner Notes
Mimmo Paladino   Cover Art,Painting Photography
Ralf Schnellback   Engineer
Axel Schneider   Painting Photography
Alighiero E. Boetti   Artwork,Cover Art

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