Traditional gypsy music isn’t exactly something you see the kids falling over themselves these days.  But let’s just say it is, let us  imagine for a sec that all the sorority girls are begging their parents to send them to Transylvania for spring break.  In this perverse vision where beer parties on a warm Floridian beach are passed up for trekking through the dark Carpathian mountains in solitude, Csókolom would be in every kids walkman.  They bring this music to life in a way few artists in western recording world do.  Let’s not beat around the bush, Eastern European music isn’t for the masses.  On a given Csókolom album you may hear songs sung in four different dialects, none of them English.  But what’s in a word anyway?  In the music world I think it’s more important how words are sung then what words are sung and these words are sung perfectly.

Csókolom is a traditional gypsy band at it’s core(although I’m sure the hardcore would find some disagreement).   The band is string driven, dual fiddles, kontra and a double bass.  In this style the two fiddles switch all over the place, they’ll play in unison, harmony, back each other up, go out on different solos at the same time, it’s truly a feast for the ears.  For those not familiar a traditional kontra is like a three string fiddle.  It’s played with a bow but has only three strings.  It’s primarily a accompaniment instrument but I’m sure it finds other uses at times as well.

While this band has gone through a couple bass players the other three musicians have been static since the band has existed, at least as far as I know.  They are the band’s front women Anti von Klewitz(voilin/voice), Anneke Frankenburg(violin) and Sander Hoving(kontra).  While Anti can sing in various languages she also scats and calls out randomly in songs adding a live element to even the cleanest of studio recordings.  The instrumentation in every Csókolom song is a fine example of furious, passionate yet flawless playing, really what the gypsy style is known for.  If you were ever interested in listening to or learcsokol2ning more about Eastern European music this is a perfect band to start with.

Here is a list of all Csókolom’s western releases on Arhoolie Records.  I can’t speak for anything that may be released in their homelands but these are all solid albums, you can’t go wrong across the board.

1) May I Kiss your Hand (1998)
2) Ludo Luda~Fools Fancy (2001)
3) Dog Daze (2006)

You must be logged in to post a comment.