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Posted October 1, 2010
If Ensemble Unicorn is great, Unicorn combined with the Middle-Eastern-inspired Ensemble Oni Wytars is even better! Actually, the two groups seem to share many of the same members, along with Ensemble Accentus (which focuses on Spanish and Sephardic music), but with different directors for each: Michael Posch for Unicorn, Marcos Ambrosini for Oni Wytars, and Thomas Wimmer for Accentus. This CD brings the musicians together to offer a stimulating combination of western and eastern-influenced music that might have been heard or played by medieval Pilgrims making the journey eastward. The European tunes focus on the Christmas season, while the Balkan and Near Eastern selections are traditional, handed down orally through the centuries and interpreted here with a zeal that should be as appealing to belly dancers as to early music enthusiasts (and I know many people who fall into both categories!). Instruments used include chalumeau, cheremia, cornemuse bechonnet, darbukka, davul, def, gayda, gittern, kaval, nyckelharpa, sackpipa, tamburello, tombak, vihuela d¿arco, and a number of others that you actually might have heard of before--bagpipe, rebec, recorder, rebec, shawm, ud and the like. Ellen Santaniello contributes vocals. I was surprised and delighted when I played this CD for the first time, and I continue to be each time I hear it again. If you like this recording, be sure to check out the other collaboration between Ensemble Unicorn and Ensemble Oni Wytars, ¿Music of the Troubadours¿, also from Naxos.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.