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East Meets East
     

East Meets East

by Nigel Kennedy
 
Nigel Kennedy may have lost -- and now regained -- his first name, but he never parted with his adventurous spirit. On East Meets East, the path-breaking classical violinist joins the Kraków-based band Kroke to explore traditional musical styles from eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and the result is a

Overview

Nigel Kennedy may have lost -- and now regained -- his first name, but he never parted with his adventurous spirit. On East Meets East, the path-breaking classical violinist joins the Kraków-based band Kroke to explore traditional musical styles from eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and the result is a beautiful crossover collection that takes in klezmer, Gypsy, and other folk-inspired styles. Kennedy's knack for this music is clear on every track, and he blends in with the three-man Kroke like he's one of their own (in fact, he calls Kraków his second home and has often revealed a soft spot for folk music in his concerts). Surprisingly, perhaps, he never steals the spotlight, preferring in the lyrical numbers to soar above the trio and spin out gorgeous melodies with his shimmering tone, while in the fast-paced dances, he doesn't hesitate to get down-and-dirty with the earthy rhythms. Other guest musicians join in, too, adding some plugged-in flavor to the up-tempo tracks and extra lushness to the slower ones, and vocalist Natacha Atlas provides a taste of Arabia on the opening "Ajde Jano." Yehudi Menuhin and Ravi Shankar's landmark West Meets East albums may be the inspiration here (especially as Menuhin was Kennedy's mentor), but the British violinist is nothing if not an innovator. Whether playing jazz, gussied-up classics, or the folksy music on this engaging album, Kennedy never fails to surprise.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Rick Anderson
As a classical violinist, Nigel Kennedy has always cultivated a very careful reputation as a rebel (scruffy beard, spiky hair, no bow tie) while making a comfortable living playing a generally pretty safe repertoire; audiences who wouldn't cross the street to hear genuinely difficult music by Elliott Carter or Michael Tippett could go listen to the T-shirted Kennedy play "The Four Seasons" and feel like they were on the cutting edge. Outside the classical arena, his projects have been a bit more interesting, and none has been more affecting than this eerily lovely collection of new compositions and folk tunes drawing on Polish and other Eastern European traditions. Teamed up with the Krakow band Kroke (violist and flutist Tomasz Kukurba, accordionist Jerzy Bawol, and string bassist Tomasz Lato), Kennedy delivers a set of tunes that are, by turns, dramatic, soothing, emotionally tormented, and romantically yearning. "Lullaby for Kamila" and "One Voice" are not only two of the loveliest performances of Kennedy's recorded career, they are also two of the most gently affecting compositions committed to tape in any genre in recent memory. "Ajde Jano" features a beautiful cameo appearance by the brilliant (and recently ubiquitous) singer Natacha Atlas, and "Kukush" showcases Kennedy's electric violin in a very sonically interesting setting. (As does "T 4.2," though the latter is much less musically interesting than "Kukush.") Highly recommended.
Gramophone - Barry Witherden
All credit to Kennedy for continuing to show us different perspectives so effectively.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/22/2003
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0724355751225
catalogNumber:
57512

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nigel Kennedy   Primary Artist,Violin,Electric Violin
Mo Foster   Electric Bass,Guest Appearance
Natacha Atlas   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Miles Bould   Percussion,Guest Appearance
Aboud Abdel Ali   Violin
Aboud Abdul Aal   Violin,Guest Appearance
Jerzy Bawol   Accordion,Vocals
Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra   Strings,Performing Ensemble,Guest Appearance
Tomasz Kukurba   Flute,Percussion,Viola,Vocals
Kroke   Band,Ensemble
Tomasz Lato   Double Bass
Natasha Atlas   Vocals

Technical Credits

Harry Kandel   Composer
Jaz Coleman   Producer
Goran Bregovic   Composer
Andy Green   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Annabel Wright   Illustrations
Dariusz Grela   Engineer
Sam O'Kell   Engineer
Wojciech Gruszka   Engineer
John Stanley   Producer,Liner Notes

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