One of the most revered musicians in Bulgaria, clarinetist Ivo Papasov is a master of Bulgarian wedding music. The superb and largely instrumental Balkanology draws not only on Bulgarian elements, but also the music of Greece, Turkey and Romania. Listening to this heartfelt music (much of it quite fast), one can hear the parallels between Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and East European forms. Papasov is quite the improviser, and in fact, American jazz has had a significant impact on his loose and very spontaneous modal playing.
It is utterly astounding to see what new levels these performers have taken these instruments to. You've never heard clarinets, accordians, and saxophones do things like this. Combine those three instruments with bass, drums and guitar and you've got an eclectic mix. The odd time signatures (9/8, 11/16, etc.), the rapid fire tempos they're capable of, and the bizarre key changes these guys are capable of will simply astound you. The female singer (only on 3 songs) has an ethereal voice that is typical of the fine tradition of Thracian singers. Not only are these amazing musicians with incredible imagination & skill...they know how to play fun music that will make you want to dance (it is wedding music after all!)
Highly recommended to the adventurous!