Yet again a musical set of juxtapositions with styles, languages and harmonies not often heard on this sceptred isle. Collectif Medz Bazar is a largely French Armenian band that calls Paris home. The sound, tones and colours of the album are minor Asia-centric, with melodies and harmonies that migrated via the near east from India and formed the building blocks of many musical styles used by gypsies and Balkan musicians. It also bears the influence of jazz, French Chanson and in places there is a feel of cabaret, and, just when you thought that was it, a western swing that sounds just like a tribute to Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks.
The happy crew of CMB consists of Raffi Derderyan (percussion), Shushan Kerovpyan (percussion and double bass), Vahan Kerovpyan (percussions), Elâ Nuroğlu (percussion), Marius Pibarot (double bass), Ezgi Sevgi (clarinet and sax) and Sevana Tchakerian on accordion. Solos and backing vocals are performed by various members of the band.
The songs are sung for the most part in Armenian and Turkish, with a sprinkling of French and English. The album oozes character and ethnicity, this is not an album you will listen to in order to hear flamboyant performance, it is an album you will find yourself feeling. Whether it is pentatonic voices or jazz vocals, whether it is an ancient lament sung in Armenian or a haunting slow hypnotic melody in Turkish, it always oozes passion. Not all of the tracks can be easily fathomed and in one or two cases those of us who were not born between Istanbul and Yerevan may never be able to make a connection.
The album features entirely acoustic instruments and the recording quality is above average, warmish and accurate. Poshmanella is a breath of fresh original music, an album that should be on the wish list of any world music lover, and is recommended very warmly for those who wish to take a holiday from the cookie cutter mould of average music.
If you want to get an idea turn on Spotify and listen to ‘Kanadim Degdi Sevdaya’, a famous Turkish song, followed by ‘Balik’, ‘Khio Khio’, and the western swing ‘Hand Me Down My Walking Cane’, an American piece.