****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Oana Catalina Chitu: Divine

Wanna try something adventurous that will still appeal to your jazz sensibilities? How about ROMANIAN CABARET MUSIC?!? Did I get your attention yet?

GOOD! Singer Oana Catalina Chitu delves into a songbook that I can guarantee NO ONE in the US is taking songs from; traditional tunes  Romania diva Maria Tanase made famous in her home country a couple generations and a whole world of music ago. She fronts a band that is sort of what you’d expect if  The Hot Club of France lived behind the Iron Curtain; swinging and sensuous with a gypsy flair. The accordions and violins are bouncing off of the walls of this smoky nightclub of sound. Chitu’s voice is alluringly earthy, and the band can roar like a stampede as on the incessant “Trenule Masina Mica” or delve into a tango-ish dance floor special on “Habar N-ai Tu”. She gets playful on “Lunca, Lunca” and can make a mournful ballad drip with pathos on ”Pe Vale.”   There are translations of each song inside, but who cares? The swing is the thing, and wait until you hear the band whirl around like a top on the manic “Tananica.” This is a force that needs to be dealt with. Get them to the States NOW NOW  NOW!!! Pretend that I’m the Jack Bauer of jazz journalists, “You’ve got to trust me.”

Asphalt Tango Records


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