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Katalena - (Z)godbe CD (album) cover

(Z)GODBE

Katalena

 

Prog Folk

3.00 | 3 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars It’s actually little hard to tell if these guys should be considered folk or not. On the down side they appear to be quite popular in parts of Europe, particularly in their native Slovenia. They are also fronted by a young, attractive and fashion-conscious women whose vocal inflections would suit her just as well on-stage next to Fergie or some ethnic hip-hop band. The band’s tunes also tend to get your foot tapping, and might even get you up and dancing in a weak moment. And I’m not talking polka either.

On the up side though the band has a penchant for reinterpreting Slovenian folk standards in a new and innovative way that appears to be winning them a growing following, and to be creating a renewed interest in the art form.

This debut came as a result of a 2001 workshop whose purpose was to resurrect some older Slovenian folk tunes and rework them with modern instrumentation and fresh passion in their messages and tales. That proved successful enough a venture that the participants took their show on the road, culminating in this studio recording.

The overriding mood is quite upbeat, improvisational, and warm. There is heavy use of keyboards, brass (clarinet mostly), and lots of percussion, leading to an inevitable jazz sensibility to the music. The vocals of Vesna Zornik are deep, passionate and reflective, drawing in the listener and complementing the keyboards and flights of clarinet that abound on every track.

I can’t say that any track stands out particularly, although the lengthy and jazz-diva dominated “Zrelo je žito” is the best representation of what the band would evolve to over their next two albums. The two parts of “Istrska” are full of wonderfully stilted piano and improvisational percussion; and the instrumental “Po cesti mi gresta študenta dva” builds slowly to a polka-like happy dirge that would make for a great listening experience in a smoky jazz club, or just as appropriate for a summer evening in the park.

Like other bands of the former Yugoslavia it can be difficult to make sense of some of this music because of the language barrier, but the fresh approach by this young band of talented musicians is well worth a listen or two for those who are a bit adventurous and looking for something new. A very high three stars, and well recommended to both prog folk and modern jazz fans.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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