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on 28 June 2013
In the booklet which accompanies the CD, Jordi Savall reminds us of the meaning of the term Balkan. It was coined by the Ottoman invaders in the 16th century and is derived from two Turkish words representing blood and honey. The region has continued to exemplify this description in the hundreds of years which have followed; a richly diverse area certainly, but also one which has suffered terrible bloodshed and deprivation.

The booklet contains some thought-provoking essays explaining the ravaged history of this geographical region. It's a weighty little tome and at nearly 400 pages, generous (though it has to be said that the literary content is translated into a dozen different languages). The many photos are a fascinating insight into the recording process, which took place - as with all of Savall's recent ventures - in the atmospheric surroundings of the ancient chapel of the castle at Cardona, near Barcelona.

Savall has brought together leading musicians from all over the Balkan Peninsula to explore this musical landscape and to celebrate and lament in the true Balkan spirit. Bands from Serbia and Rumania, Hungary and Turkey join members of Hespèrion XXI, bringing an exotic diversity of instruments: the Sephardic ney and oud, the Macedonian kaval and gadulka, the Tzigane bracs and cimbalom, all combining with that eastern-European staple, the fiddle.

The music itself is as much a mosaic as the peoples of the Balkans; Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, Gypsy and Sephardic cross-currents merging and then dissolving in a fervently charged and often spectacular course.

If you've enjoyed other recent Savall recordings, perhaps particularly Armenian Spirit (Esprit d'Arménie) or Istanbul: Dimitrie Cantemir, The Book of Science of Music and the Sephardic and Armenian Traditions, or indeed the music of Goran Bregović such as Champagne For Gypsies, then this is one for you!
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on 21 November 2015
This is not a CD with a booklet. This is a book with a CD. There is lots to read... The music on this record is not as flamboyant as 'typical' Balkan music records I have come across including what is broadcasted by Swedish radio stations but the qualty of the musicians and the music has totally won me over.
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on 15 July 2014
Long may Jordi Saval continue to explore the music of the world. His wonderful musicality and depth of understanding make me want to take all of his recordings to my desert island.
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on 9 February 2016
JORDI SAVALL is one of our age's great cultural heroes.
In BALKAN SPIRIT he continues his exploration of the musical world heritage
of the fringes of Europe- focusing in particular on the gypsy and
Sephardic connection in music from the Balkans.
Masterful performances of
Wonderfully envigorating music.
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on 23 August 2014
I have a big collection of Savall albums. I am biased. I love everything he does.
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on 13 December 2014
Beautifully arranged, lively and stimulating. Genuine Balkan fist of sounds.
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on 28 February 2014
Just wonderful music, and a wonderful CD book to go with it. Simply superb - anyone with an interest in the music of south-western Europe will enjoy this
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on 13 September 2013
The talent and dedication of the musicians on this disc bring out the beauty and variety in the music from the different countries/traditions.
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on 18 May 2015
Simply a masterpiece.
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on 15 February 2016
a real master piece
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