The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hil­lier

Yas­min Levy

World Cir­cuit

★★★ ✩

IS­RAELI diva Yas­min Levy seems to be on a mis­sion to blur cul­tural bound­aries while guard­ing the cen­turies-old tra­di­tion of Judeo-Span­ish Ladino song that is her her­itage. Match­ing a Turk­ish Mus­lim string orches­tra with a multi-in­stru­ment Jewish band sets her pa­ram­e­ters wider than hith­erto in Lib­er­tad, with­out stray­ing too far from the for­mula of her pre­vi­ous five al­bums. The blend of Ladino and An­dalu­sian fla­menco that has be­come her trade­mark is still preva­lent. But within the con­fines of three tra­di­tional Ladino songs, five of her own poignant com­po­si­tions and sundry of­fer­ings ar­tic­u­lat­ing the joys and sor­rows of la vida (life), La Levy and her com­bined crews have ef­fec­tively cre­ated a cos­mopoli­tan hy­brid in which em­a­na­tions of Ar­gen­tine tango, Por­tuguese fado, Latin jazz, Per­sian and even Parisian mu­sic can be per­ceived. Sev­eral tracks, un­for­tu­nately, are di­min­ished by the singer’s in­cli­na­tion to­wards melo­dra­matic de­liv­ery, as in the dis­ap­point­ingly over-pro­duced ti­tle track, which is marred fur­ther by clat­ter­ing ca­jon (box drum) and cheesy key­board. Piaf-es­que the­atri­cal­ity also taints Tal

Vez and Aman Dok­tor. Iron­i­cally, the guest pres­ence of an­other Mediter­ranean siren, the sul­trily husky Ma­jor­can Con­cha Buika, puts an over-emot­ing Levy in the shade in a duet on

Olvi­date de Mi. Per­haps be­cause it is sung in nei­ther Ladino nor Span­ish, Shoef Kemo Eved has a ten­sion that is lack­ing in other works. Adroit dabs of ac­cor­dion, clar­inet, trom­bone and flute tend to re­dress any im­bal­ance caused by over-the-top string ar­range­ments. The shim­mer­ing Strings Orches­tra Is­tan­bul jus­ti­fi­ably holds sway in two early pieces, La Nave del Olvido and Firuze.

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