Gypsy Queens Various Artists (Double CD)
"Gypsy Music" as a term encompasses songs and dances from every country the Roma (Gypsies) have inhabited, and there is still relatively little documentation of their music compared to the plethora of recordings in other genres. As a result, most of us are dependent on the choices presented in the various compilations that have come out. Gypsy Queens is an interesting collection of six female Rom vocalists. It presents a good range of styles, both national and artistic. Some of the choices in this collection were inevitable; there can be no compilation of Rom divas without Esma Redzepova, who was the first to gain international fame. She can certainly still blow the house down, and she rolls her r`s with incredible zest. While her rendition of the chestnut "Djelem Djelem" is overblown, she is incomparable when she sings a song straight out. It is a pleasant surprise to hear the refined tone and subtle phrasing of the two Romanian`s, Gabi Lunca and Romica Puceanu. Their interpretations of traditional Romanian and Gypsy songs are a treat, although "Omul Bun N-are Noroc" sounds like swing filtered through some bad LSD. For a real descent into hallucinatory madness, listen to this track while staring at the publicity photo of Puceanu in what looks like fox-trimmed Reynold`s Wrap. Then again, Romanian music can be pretty trippy in general. The androgenous Dzansever came in from Istanbul, where she now resides, to record a few numbers for this compilation. Word is that she has now been subsumed by the pop scene in Turkey, so this taste of her former style makes one want to search out her previous recordings. The youngest, and certainly the most pop sounding of the group is Mitsou, the lead singer of the group Ando Drom. She has a childish-sounding chest voice that just goes straight up, without changing registration. The woman has pipes, and when she abandons the posturing that clutters much of her singing, she is very, very good. There is a pleasing range of vocal textures here; the harsh sound of La Macinita is a contrast to Dzansever`s node-free clarity and the restrained, elegant delivery of Lunca. The quirky contralto of Puceanu contrast well with Mitsou`s kittenish timbre. The accompaniment is all quite wonderful and one cannot fault any of the ensemble playing; it is classic stuff. - Michal Shapiro
Released by Network Medien GmbH, 1999, Format: CD
20,00 EUR

Track 1 

Track 2 

Track 3 
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