Exposé Online banner

Sviraj — Ciganine
(Omnium OMM2101, 2000, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2001-03-01

Ciganine Cover art

Omnium’s primary mission is releasing “folk music that rocks,” and they turn slightly aside from that with this disc. Though Sviraj (pronounced “svee-rye”) have energy to spare, they do not “rock” by any definition. This American band plays (so the liner notes inform me) “tamburitza,” which is a music tradition from the Balkans, combining Hungarian, Serbian, Croatian, and Roma (Gypsy) roots. There are none of the complex harmonies of Bulgarian vocal groups here, and the overall sound is rather like the Gypsy Kings with fewer guitars. There is plenty of passionate fiddling from Raczar Lopatic, who is considered one of the best Americans in the tradition, and I can see why. He is backed by Lenny Tepsich on upright bass, Danilo Yanich on bugarija (like a large guitar), accordion, and guitar, and Vlad Popovich on cello and brac (a small five-string guitar). All except Popovich sing, often in harmonies a little reminiscent of Mexican folk music with a Gypsy tinge, though the a capella “Ajde Jano” has a great sound. Occasionally they venture into one of the most intriguing Balkan traditions: odd meters. “Bitola” is a mid-tempo 7/8 song, and “Stacy’s Recenitsa,” the single instrumental piece on the disc, is 7/8 so fast it feels like fast 3/4 with a stuttered rhythm.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 21, 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Sviraj

Latest news

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more

2018-06-13
Jon Hiseman RIP – One of the great drummers of the rock era has died. Jon Hiseman was a veteran of such ground-breaking groups as Colosseum (I and II), Tempest, John Mayal's Bleusbreakers, and was a founding member of the innovative large band United Jazz + Rock Ensemble. » Read more

2018-06-05
Koenjihyakkei Seeks Funding for New Album – It's been quite a few years since the last new studio album by the amazing Koenjihyakkei. Now they are preparing Dhormimviskha for worldwide release, and they're asking fans to pre-order via a Kickstarter campaign to help it happen. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Kalaban - Resistance Is Useless – The long-awaited second release by this Utah based five piece is well worth the waiting; they have produced an outstanding album that is at once very forward looking, while also being reasonably...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues