Ray Lema, Professor Stefanov and the Bulgarian Voices of L’ensem

Ray Lema, Professor Stefanov and the Bulgarian Voices of L’ensemble Pirin

Ray Lema, Professor Stefanov and the Bulgarian Voices of L’ensemble Pirin

Tinder

Fans of Stewart Copeland might recognize Lema’s name from his collaborations on The Rhythmatist. Others might know the eerie, unsettling sound of the Bulgarian Women’s Choir. How the two got together is anyone’s guess, but I’m glad someone was around to document it.

The melding of Eastern European vocal harmonies and African (specifically, Congo/Zaire) musical sensibilities is not as uncomfortable as you might assume. Though it works better in some places than others, for the most part it’s quite good. “Nalelela” has Lema’s plaintive voice and the choir singing in call and response, against a piano accompaniment, and what sounds to be shakers. On the opposite side there’s “Iyolela,” whose bouncy ditty-like nature is put off-balance by the occasional Slavic keening. Though I’d hesitate to call it bad, I have to admit that it works only intermittently.

Overall, this disc is a must-have for fans of world music — it will be impossible to categorize in any way other than alphabetical, but its ideas and creativity have a lot to offer. Tinder Records, 619 Martin Ave., Unit 1, Rohnert Park, CA 94928; http://worldmusic.com/tinder

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

From the Archives