Briga & Bahtalo Records
A product of Montreal’s multicultural music scene, and formerly with Les Gitans de Sarajevo and Rembetika Hipsters, Briga (Brigitte Dajczer), launched her debut solo project “Diaspora” in 2009, with recent performances in Toronto and Kingston. This accomplished violinist presents a lively and varied mix of Balkan pop/jazz, gypsy style violin, and song, on two CD’s with a back-up band of equally polished musicians on keyboards, accordion, drums, various traditional percussion, and bass. The first disc is completely instrumental, and here Briga shines as either composer or arranger of most of the tracks, as well as exuberant violin virtuoso, displaying extraordinary technique and passion. By contrast, the second disc is a collection of songs, all but one (Les Paul’s Johnny, Tu n’es pas un Ange) with lyrics and music by Briga, in English and French. While her singing is not as developed yet as her violin playing (her intonation is not always spot on), there is obvious talent here, both as singer and songwriter. And she still plays violin on the vocal tracks, though it’s not clear whether this is simultaneous or overdubbed.
One fault of this CD set is the lack of detailed liner notes; though the musicians and their instruments are named, and song lyrics are provided, there are no bios, nor any background information on the music itself, nor translations of the lyrics. Nevertheless, this is a praiseworthy first release by an artist worth following. Notable also is the stellar darbuka playing by Tacfarinas Kichou throughout.