Ladom Ensemble’s first self-titled album is an enjoyable listening experience. The members are four University of Toronto music graduates of exceptional musical prowess. Pianist-composer Pouya Hamidi plays a sparkling piano while incorporating traditional Persian musical elements to his excellent compositions. Accordionist-composer Nemanja Pjanić’s colourful runs and rhythms add spice to the music while his Balkan flavoured compositions add a contrasting element to the ensemble’s sound. The equally soulful performers, cellist Marie-Cristine Pelchat St-Jacques and percussionist Adam Campbell, complete the ensemble.
There is a wide-ranging original sound to Ladom. Their tight chamber sensibilities are well-suited to the Piazzolla cover Fugata. The rousing Pjanić composition The Flying Balkan Dance is a short yet toe-tapping Balkan selection which features each member in a lead role and a satisfying mournful, slow, brief cello solo in the middle. Hamidi’s Goriz utilizes his Persian roots especially in the driving rhythmic sections. In contrast his Noor (meaning “light” in Farsi) is an exceptional track in that the performers seem to remove their more “classical” performance sensibilities to create a more spontaneous-sounding slower soundscape ending with Hamidi’s perfect, subtle piano tinkling. Here’s hoping the group will explore more of this aspect.
Production values are high with the live quality captured adding an additional listening dimension. Thanks, too, for not removing the clicks from register/switch changes on the accordion! Ladom Ensemble is a great group performing great music in a new world music direction.
Concert Note: Ladom performs a matinée concert at Hugh’s Room on Sunday February 16.