Oi Va Voi - 3 CD's Discography

 Oi Va Voi - 3 CD's Discography

Laughter Through Tears - 2003

Dance & Electronic, Klezmer, Eastern Europe
Released: 2003 | Label: Outcaste Records | Cat No: CASTE29
LOSSLESS (Ape.Img+Log+Cue) | 271 MB | Front+Back Covers

And now for something rather different on these pages. Oi Va Voi makes music that may owe as much, or more, to current electronica and trance dance beats as to traditional Jewish music. The result is a refreshing, danceable - how could the hip hop wedding of klezmer and electronica be anything else?

If anything else, the album is a statement of fragmented identities. The album opens with "Refugee". The song laces an underlying dance beat and ambivalent lyrics (a personal odyssey? a national one?) to immediately pull the listener in. "Yesterday's Mistakes," playing back and forth between English lyrics and Hebrew chant, followed by "Od Yeshoma", setting the traditional text to a new dance beat reminiscent of recent work by Ladino singer Sarah Aroeste continue to cultural exploration and fusion. Later on the album the band will sing in Yiddish, Hungarian?, Hebrew, Ladino, and more.
Like the Klezmatics, who have fused Jewish music with a variety of current American musical idioms, or even moreso, Toronto's Flying Bulgars with their fusion of world dance music and Yiddish, Oi Va Voi is not about reproducing traditional music in a modern form. Rather, what I hear is a rich variety of world music underlying traditional and new words, in a form that seems to fit now. Truly, this is this year's best manifestation of the story I used to tell to justify "modernist" impulses in the klezmer revival bands: that one can imagine God sitting on her throne in heaven listening to such music and sighing, "at last, I can listen to it live". In this particular instance, one more readily imagines God on the dance floor and the heavens shaking with new/old rhythms.

Part of what makes this album special is that there are new songs - new words. It isn't just new settings of old songs, or even new words in languages inaccessible to most Jews today. Rather, most of the songs are in English. That also makes the album more accessible to a wider audience (witness this album's presence on the New York Times "Top 10 of 2003" list), which is also a good thing. At the same time, this is an album that draws on a much wider variety of Jewish sources than is common, which is also welcome. The words also provide for some interesting collaborations - in many cases, the song's writer or co-writer is the guest singer, as with Sevara Narakhan on "7 Brothers" or "Gypsy", by Earl Zinger. Ultimately, as the band sings on "Hora," prior to the closing thoughts by Majer Bogdanski that give the album its name:

It's all about identity
A retrospective odyssey
But where I live and who I meet
Are stronger in defining me

When I am busy over-intellectualizing about "New Jewish Music," it is easy to point to amazing songwriters such as Josh Waletzky, Bayle Schaechter-Gottesman (Yiddish), Michael Alpert (most often Yiddish) or Sasha Argov and a generation of Israeli songwriters. But this album represents a rare instance of new Jewish music in English. For those of us who live in English-speaking countries, many of whom have lost touch with ancestral tongues, that is a good thing. For all of us, the danceable, wonderful rhythms and music that make up the core of this album are extraordinary. Try it. The past is still with us, but the present is at hand.

Reviewe Found on klezmershack.com

Nik Ammar: guitars
Josh Breslaw: drums, percussion
Leo Bryant: bass
Steve Levi: clarinet, vocals
Lemez Lovas: trumpet, vocals, piano, keys
Sophie Solomon: violin, viola, pinao, accordion, melodica

Tigran Aleksanyan: duduk
Laura Anstee: cello (track 4)
Gergely Barcza: saxophone (track 8)
Majer Bogdanski: vocals (track 10)
Lenny Breslaw: additional vocals (track 9)
Valerie Etienne: backing vocals (track 8)
Chris Franck: kwakeb
Ben Hassan: lead vocals, darbukka (track 7)
Andy Kershaw: tuba (track 8)
David Lasserson: viola (track 4)
Judit Németh: vocals (track 4)
Toby Nowell: 2nd trumpet (track 8)
Sevara Nazarkhan: vocals (track 6)
KT Tunstall: vocals (tracks 1, 2, 5)
Earl Zinger: vocals (track 8)

1. Refugee (music: Lovas, Oi Va Voi; words: Lovas, Tunstall) 3:37
2. Yesterday's Mistakes (music: Oi Va Voi; words: Lovas, Tunstall)
3. Od Yeshoma (music: Lev, Oi Va Voi; words: trad., Levi) 4:54
4. A Csitári Hegyek Alatt (music: Oi Va Voi, trad; words: trad.)
5. Ladino Song (music: Ammar, Lovas, Oi Va Voi; words: trad., Lovas, Tunstall)
6. 7 Brothers (music: Ammar, Oi Va Voi; words: Sevara Nazarkhan) 4:33
7. D'ror Yikra (music: Oi Va Voi, trad.; words: trad.) 5:56
8. Gypsy (music: Lovas, Oi Va Voi; words: Earl Zinger) 4:46
9. Hora (music: Lovas, Kop, Solomon; words: Lovas, Solomon) 3:57
10. Pagamenska (music: Solomon, Levi, Oi Va Voi; words: Majer Bogdanski) 4:03

Hidden Track: 7 Brothers (Hefner Remix) 4:58

Download Lossless Here

Oi Va Voi - 2007

Dance & Electronic, Klezmer, Eastern Europe
Released: 2007 | Label: V2 Records | Cat No: VVR1046242
LOSSLESS (Ape.Img+Log+Cue) | 254 MB | + Covers

In the current political climates it is sometimes difficult to remain open minded about other cultures and ways of life. Oi Va Voi will hopefully change all of that. With such skills of musically variety, their second self entitled album sonically encapsulates a world of increasing diverse people. Fusing jazz, hip hop, Jewish klezmer and everything in between, their music is all encompassing.
Not the best known act, Oi Va Voi's talent is immediately obvious. They have already given the world KT Tunstall (a former singer with the group). Now, this time around with former Jamiroquai and Kylie producer, Mike Spencer on board, Oi Va Voi are out to make a name for themselves and have unleashed an astonishing album to do so. While chilled out in nature, no two tracks on this album follow the same style. Trumpet driven Balkanik sits side by side with the flamenco guitar based Black-Sheep. Bizarre it may be. But it works.

Everything from Bjork to Zero 7 to Gogol Bordello is reminiscent in this album. Yet no amount of comparisons can get close to how good this band sound. Stand out tracks are perhaps the slowly swelling melodies of Look-Down and the Eastern European Ska-romp Yuri, yet the rest of album never slips below standard and everyone is likely to have their favourite.

The monologue at the end of the album, thanking the listener and hoping they've enjoyed singing along is a little insipid. The duration of only ten tracks is also a bit of a let down, leading to cravings to listen again. But how often do you hear an album of 10 solid tracks? I'll tell you-not very often! With such a good release it would be criminal if Oi Va Voi did not garner the success they deserve. Seek them out now.

Bass, Double Bass - Leo Bryant
Clarinet, Vocals - Steve Levi (2)
Drums, Percussion - Josh Breslaw
Guitar [Classical], Guitar [Electric] - Nik Ammar
Producer, Mixed By - Mike Spencer
Trumpet, Keyboards, Vocals - Lemez Lovas

1 Yuri
2 Further Deeper
3 Look Down
4 Dissident
5 Balkanik
6 Black Sheep
7 Nosim
8 Dry Your Eyes
9 Worry Lines
10 Spirit of Bulgaria

Download Lossless Here

Travelling The Face Of The Globe - 2009

Pop-Rock / Klezmer / European | MP3 VBR @ 180 kbps | 58 Mb
Label: Oi Va Voi | Language: English

The first surprise is that such a good record can pop up with so little warning, a collection of 12 songs just like an album from another era, and almost every track worthy of inclusion in its own right. The second is that it had seemed safe to assume Oi Va Voi had disappeared for ever, after their three previous shots had failed to hit their targets.
The third realisation is that the UK finally has a band to match the best of the current American groups who are exploring alternatives to the guitar, bass, keyboard and drum line-up that has become such a cliche of international alternative music. Watch out, Calexico, DeVotchKa, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Beirut, you have company. Pizzicato violin and rattling percussion launch this record and an ensemble of clarinet, trumpet and soaring violin soon establish that this music is not to be lumped in with anything else you've heard recently.
By my calculations, this is the fourth album under the artist name Oi Va Voi. Several of the original group have left the band and much credit is due to the surviving founder members Nik Ammar, Josh Breslaw and Steve Levi for their thoughtfully crafted songs, and especially to the featured vocalist Bridgette Amofah, who delivers them with such poise and conviction.

Unfamiliar with the London-based Amofah, I tracked her down at MySpace to confirm that she is clearly a singer of promise; but at the moment this band is her best context, just as these musicians equally need her voice to avoid being bunched with all the other indie boy bands cluttering up the racks. The duet Every Time gives Levi a shot at taking the lead vocal, but he is soon blown away when Amofah comes in to join him.

Guest vocalist Agi Szaloki establishes a distinctive atmosphere on the Hebrew song S'brent, one of several highlights. Levi's clarinet comes back to lead the way through Dusty Road - this would be a good start for any radio show (and I'm planning to use it for one of mine). I'm bewildered by the familiarity of Foggy Day - having listened to the album four or five times, it already sounds as if it has been here for ever. The band's trademark sound of clarinet, acoustic guitar (Ammar) and violin (Anna Phoebe) is so coherent, it's hard to believe that nobody discovered such a combination before.

There are just a couple of tracks where Amofah slips dangerously close to the little girl whisper that bedevils so many English female folk singers, but the rest of the album is so good, she can be forgiven - especially when the violin sweeps in to rescue her, and us.

There's a strange last track which has the listener glancing across the room to make sure nobody surreptitiously switched to a different album. A Frenchman called Dick Rivers intones a monologue that seems to bear little relation to what has gone before. But no doubt somebody has thought this through and its logic may become clearer to me in due course.

All in all, the album is an impressive phoenix arisen from the ashes of Oi Va Voi, and much credit must go to producers Kevin Bacon and Jonathan Quarmby who were also responsible for the band's previous success, Laughter Through Tears, but had nothing to do with the catastrophic follow-up that makes this enjoyable and welcome fourth album so unlikely.

Nik Ammar (Guitar, Vocals)
Bridgette Amofah (Vocals)
Josh Breslaw (Drums)
Stephen Levi (Clarinet, Vocals)
David Orchant (Trumpet)
Anna Phoebe (Violin)
Lucy Shaw (Bass)

01. Waiting
02. I Know What You Are
03. Travelling The Face Of The Globe
04. Every Time
05. S' Brent
06. Magic Carpet
07. Dusty Roads
08. Foggy Day
09. Wonder
10. Long Way From Home
11. Stitches And Runs
12. Photograph




Anonymous said...

Thank U! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thans!! I think they are really nice!