The much-anticipated second release of local instrumental group Ladom Ensemble features tight, infectious, energetic and virtuosic performances by each member. Pianist/composer/arranger Pouya Hamidi, accordionist Michael Bridge, cellist Beth Silver and percussionist Adam Campbell play both as soloists and ensemble musicians in the wide-ranging musical genres performed.
The four classical arrangements for Ladom show respect for the original work while exploring new sounds in the transcriptions. Of note is the entertaining Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No.5 in G Minor featuring rapid accordion melody lines with tremolo bellowing, and contrasting dramatic fast and slow sections. The first movement of Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No.7 in G Minor is an interesting approach with contrapuntal lines against more modern, almost party-like rhythms. The stylistically accurate East Coast Medley featuring the “fiddle” parts on cello, a straightforward rendition of Piazzolla’s Libertango, and an orchestral flavoured cover of Radiohead’s Weird Fishes/Arpeggi bring welcome sonic contrasts. Vocalist Brenna MacCrimmon sings on two tracks. Her clear, beautiful vocals on the traditional Azeri Lullaby are supported by held notes to the final “falling asleep” cello pluck. Three original works are performed. Hamidi’s The Walls are Made of Song is a slower tonal soundscape with dramatic build and dynamic contrasts while his Gift is more a reflective almost mournful piece. Maziar Heidari’s Summer in Tehran features well placed short ideas.
Ladom Ensemble is an exciting, evolving group with musicality, technical acumen and an overwhelming sense of joy in playing.