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flag Czech Republic - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 4 - 02/22/97

Sum Svistu
BMG Records

Initially, Tancirna (Dancehall) held a promise of eleven danceable World Beat grooves assembled by a large group of musicians (half percussionists and half horn players). The instrumentation included a guiro, surdo, talking drums etc., as well as a bassoon, soprano sax, a clarinet and so on. The styles reached every corner of the globe and the arrangements spanned decades, from the Big Band era to present. We got to travel from South America (Light Explosion) to Mozambique (Lo-Lo Dzama), from the 40's (Swinging) to the 50's (Singing), from group-chanting to falsetto singing.

But the promise of this recording went mostly unfulfilled. Grooves stayed grooves and never developed. The mood seemed to be more important than any potential emotional impact. The lyrics were largely nonsense syllables and almost every song sounded like a soundtrack to a movie that you thought you've seen before. It's as if every Beatles song had the lyrics similar to (Here Comes) The Sun King from Abbey Road and the emotional emptiness of You Know My Name, Look Up My Number.

The problem however may not be with Sum Svistu. Maybe - just maybe - the problem lies with us. With our shallow multinational multiculturalism, with our short attention span and our smug David Letterman in-jokes. After all, this band only reflects what we feel. And wouldn't the German BMG Records release only what they hoped we'd buy?

Czech it out anyway.

Copyright © 1997 Ivan Sever e-mail address

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