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on 2 September 2002
It is in only a few genres that the true expressive talent of the human voice is allowed total free reign. This album allows a whole choir that freedom. Imagine the Cocteu twins havng not one singer but a host, add to that the fact that they are all singing in Bulgarian, so you don't strive to understand what is being sung and you have the full opportunity to allow yourself to be carried along with the power of the pieces.
Hair sticking up onthe back of the neck type music.
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on 3 April 2001
This is extremely moving vocal music, caught somewhere between the byzantine orthodox christian church and balkan folk melodies. dont let either of those tags put you off. guaranteed to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end!
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on 27 February 2004
I can still remember the first time a friend played me some of this music. She thought it might be "my kind of thing", and boy was she right. It's very rare that new music grabs me on first listening, but within about 20 seconds I knew I had to listen to as much of the Voix Bulgares music as I could find. It's still one of my most treasured sets of CDs.
The music is, for me, a perfect mix of 4-part choral music with a western/christian influence, with the more daring and interesting harmonies and intervals common to eastern music. At times you hear chords that could have come from a Queen rock anthem, at other times you hear more jazzy and chromatic chords reminiscent of Miles Davis or Debussy. At other times, they sing in two part harmony using seconds, semi-tones and other intervals that are unusual to western ears, but the effect is always stunning.
The power, beauty and deeply spiritual aspects of this music cannot fail to touch you, even through the language barrier. The mix of styles covers everything from lively dances, to solemn, tender and even melancholy pieces. The incredible precision and unity of the choir is often dazzling.
No wonder that people like Frank Zappa and George Harrison rated this music so highly!
I love all of the first four volumes of the Voix Bulgares, and find it hard to recommend one above the others. They are similar in style and content, though number 2 probably has more songs that are personal favourites. Do yourself a favour - try at least one of these CDs and then spread the word!
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