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Friday, August 17, 2007

Music for melancholy moments

Rufus Cappadocia - Songs For Cello (Cappadociasongs Bmi; 2007) ****

Frank London - Invocations (Tzadik, 2000) ****

Depressed? Melancholy? In a lonely and emotional mood? Then I can recommend both these albums. What trumpeter Frank London did on the Tzadik label some years ago, is now sort of repeated by cellist Rufus Cappadocia on his own label : creating an intensely sad piece of music, for the length of an entire album, and without any mood shift at all, no moment of joy, no moments of fun, no hope, no ray of light, only sorrow and sadness, lamentation, powerlessness, gloom, mournful moaning and misery ... Paradoxically the expressive power of the music is intense, partly due to this sustained monotony. And not by the compositions themselves, harmonic structure and rhythmic changes are of less importance than the melodies and the language of the lead instrument. Although Frank London does not play solo - he is accompanied by either harmonium or bass, which actually emphasizes the loneliness - both albums reflect in essence the loneliness of one musician in the wide universe, alone in the vast expanse, little and insignificant, a speck of dust in endless infinity. Obviously spirituality and religious feelings are not far away. Both musicians use musical ideas from a broad range of world genres, jewish cantorial singing with London, but also the blues, jazz, ottoman or middle-eastern music, and both manage to use their instrument to its full extent, London producing long wailing shifting tones on the trumpet, Cappadocia heart-piercing double tones on his cello. Really great, melodic and expressive. But keep these handkerchiefs close by.

Listen to :
Frank London :
T'Kias Sofar
Ezkeroh Elokim
Tzaddik Rabbi Elozar

Rufus Cappadocia :