Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 30 - 03/31/99
Back in 1990, Enigma conquered the world by
combining Gregorian chants with modern rhythms and
sampled sounds. Now capitalizing on the new-found
freedom of religion and of expression in Central
Europe, composer/producer Pavel Vaculík and
Bára Basiková based their album on the
It is an ambitious project. In addition to a
Gregorian choir recorded in Italy, there is an eight
piece vocal group, as well as a keyboard-based drums &
bass accompaniment that was provided by otherwise
anonymous 'FAMA'. Since her debut solo album, the anorexic Ms. Basiková has
gained some weight, got married and was cast in the
title role of a new musical loosely based on the
Antonín Dorák's opera Rusalka.
Gregoriana contains 15 cuts, but five
of them are alternate versions. The single Veni
Domine (all the text is in Latin) is repeated
three times, once as a pop ballad, once as a piano &
voice piece, and finally over an insistent disco beat
with the Italian monks thrown in for a good measure. In every case, the effect is the same: Basiková
sounds like Olivia Newton-John doing the Jesus
Christ, Superstar soundtrack.
The two versions of Kyrie Eleison take almost 10 minutes. The complete lyrics (credited to M.
Láznovská) consist of Kyrie Eleison,
aha, aha, with an occasional yeah.
Still, it is less annoying than Pascha which
ends with the vocal chorus Sa-ah-ah-santi spiritus,
The other annoying thing is the slick yet utterly
useless booklet. It consists of pages of repeating
Latin phrases (for instance Sancta Maria printed
19 times, from the top of the page to the bottom), but it
has very little other information. Also included was
a not very flattering, signed snapshot of Ms.
Basiková from her wedding, and a little stem of
an unknown herb (laurel? myrrh?).
I'm afraid there wasn't much I liked here. While
on Miserere Basiková sounds strong, most
of the time her singing is weak and phony. As for
Vaculík's compositions, many of the progressions are more new age-y than liturgical. Laudate
Nomen is the only exception.
Contrary to the noble intentions and the dramatic
cover photo, unfortunately Gregoriana comes off
as a fluffy, featherweight effort.
Copyright © 1999 Ivan Sever