Customer Reviews

14
4.6 out of 5 stars
Laughter Through Tears
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2003
This is one of the few albums I’ve heard that successfully marries ‘traditional’ forms of musical expression with contemporary dance styles without simply cashing in on the current trend for quirky ethnic sounds. There is genuine expression here, both in the themes and lyrics of the songs, and in the rich and varied soundscape that is explored. The music touches on modern dance genres rather than basing entire songs around them, ranging from the gentle breakbeat of ‘Refugee’ to the rolling house backdrop of ‘D’Ror Yikra’. Sequencing is kept to minimum, with live drumming preferred on most of the tracks – essential for the more complex rhythms used, such as the 7/8 in ‘Ladino Song’. The use of the clarinet and trumpet add extra dimensions to the sound, and the rich 4-Hero-esque string arrangements are particularly effective on tracks like ‘Od Yeshoma’.
The band demonstrate their Jewish roots with clever use of the Klezmer musical tradition – you can hear plenty of accentuated 4th notes and subtly worked harmonic minor modes, but this never clashes with the more contemporary harmony. I’m no expert on Klezmer but the singing seems to me particularly authentic, and evokes the folk tradition well. Their use of Hebrew, Hungarian and other languages is a brilliant vehicle for the soft, reflective lyrics; in some tunes the words are repeated in English, as if to emphasize their relevance in a modern context. The playing in general is rock-solid throughout, with interest continually generated through fluid basslines, clever use of percussion and and a rich harmonic spectrum. This album pushes back the frontiers of ‘crossover’ – I’d definitely recommend it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2003
I am an old fan of Oi Va Voi and have heard them live on many occasions. Their new album exceeds my expectations! The sound is a mix of the familiar - the old Klezmer melodies moderned up with the funky dance beats, and the new. KT Tunstall has a fantastic voice and is a great addition to the band. This is a CD for all moods and occasions - its chilled out, impassioned, frantic and soulful. Definitely worth a listen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2003
Smooth production, superb instrumentals, and powerful lyrics make this a great album. Possibly it isn't as 'raw' as some established fans would want, but it is still one to listen to again and again. Eclectic styles, but the album really hangs together as a whole.
I heard this described as a real contender for the Mercury next year, and I reckon that might just be right. Well worth a listen.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2005
I saw Oi Va Voi at last year's Glastonbury, I had only heard the name before and they were the first band I saw during the weekend. They set the tone of the whole Glastonbury festival for me - I absolutely loved the performance as the whole band had such energy with a huge variety of instruments used to play pop, chillout and traditional Jewish folk. They were like nothing I'd heard before.
The CD is quite different to the live Oi Va Voi as its a much more chilled out set of music. It took a while to get into, but the songs are all very easy on the ears and great for anyone looking for what is essentially a pop record with a wide variety of folk influence.
I might add that the female singer has one of the beautiful voices I've heard!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2003
Relevant & interesting but by no means exceptional. Oi's live performances are electric, vibrant and moving, both for your emotions and for your feet. I found the album a touch overproduced, dampening their vivaciousness. The album has less kletzmer and less drum & bass (save for a scant smattering of tired breaks), than expected. However, I am still happy with the album, a jarring melancholic journey through modern European Judaism. It is not the upbeat relevancy I was hoping for, rather it is a soul-searching deepness to get lost in. The final track explains that this was the intention. It asserts that expression through tears is so deeply ingrained in the Jewish psyche that it cannot be ignored. Based on these assumptions, the album certainly achieves what it set out to do with great aplomb.
Nevertheless the album manages to be refreshing and entertaining, while impressing with the technical abilities of the violin, piano and oboe playing. If only I could get hold of Digital Folklore, their first album, which I have heard is more what I was expecting. 'Laughter Through The Tears' is certainly more weepy than cheerful, but it is all the more brave and stimulating for it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2006
I love Laughter Through Tears and am thrilled that the Oi Va Voi violinist, Sophie Solomon now has a solo CD. We saw her at Koko in December and her performance was amazing. I haven't stopped playing the CD and am sure that with it's great beat and lyrics, Burnt By the Sun with Richard Hawley will be a huge hit. The tracks with KT Turnstall and Ralph Fiennes are a great combination of sounds and talents.
This is a must.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2006
This is one of the best albums I've have heard in MANY time. It's what Enigma was. But it's still more it's a convination of Enigma, Aria, Afro Celt Sound System, Delerium and Secret Garden.

I don't know how to describe this music, I just know that I love it.

I like it so much that even though I got the CD from a friend, insted of making a copy -I listen to music mostly on my mp3 player, on the go- I'm buying the original.

This is a masterpice, if you like music, you'll love this one.

This is an essential recording for sure!

If you are going to buy just one record, today, this week, month year, or in your whole life, make it be this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2003
Absolutely love it, - maybe due to my roots, but I think it is very interesting, unique, and rather haunting. A mixture of Eastern European Zero 7 meets pantomime klezma.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2004
I heard this album on Radio 2 & was immediately intrigued by the glorious sound of the tracks. I bought it immediately. The tracks can absolutely be classified as 'World' music as they are influenced by areas all over the globe. Excellent performers!
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on 28 September 2014
I love this album ,very soulful ,with a klezmer influenced trancy dance style ,great clarinet playing and soulful lyrics .
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