While it may sound like an entire Balkan gypsy orchestra playing modern songs as mournful ballads and upbeat marches, Beirut's first album, Gulag Orkestar, is largely the work of one 19-year-old Albuquerque native, Zach Condon, with assistance by Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw). Horns, violins, cellos, ukuleles, mandolins, glockenspiels, drums, tambourines, congas, organs, pianos, clarinets and accordions (no guitars on this album!) all build and break the melodies under Condon's deep-voiced crooner vocals, swaying to the Eastern European beats like a drunken 12-member ensemble that has fallen in love with The Magnetic Fields, Talking Heads and Neutral Milk Hotel.

"...stunning spring-to-summer gypsy-klezmer...beautiful and disarming."


"...awe-inspiring, wonderous, almost intangible composition of raw talent, emotion, and complexity, reminding us why we listen to music..."
I Guess I'm Floating

"...a feat because it is a folky record that is so much fun."
Said The Gramophone

"This kid...is a genius, who...has created one of the most diverse and creative albums of 2006 thus far."

01. The Gulag Orkestar
02. Prenzlauerberg
03. Brandenburg
04. Postcards From Italy
05. Mount Wroclai (Idle Days)
06. Rhineland (Heartland)
07. Scenic World
08. Bratislava
09. The Bunker
10. The Canals Of Our City
11. After The Curtain


pass: bluesmen-worldmusic.blogspot.com


ELERITZ said...

a very interesting blog. i'm happy i've found it. greetings from lisbon.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your two posts of Beirut. Il was looking for since a long time. Greetings from France and have a nice day

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