La Cantiga Del Fuego (Arc Music EUCD2417, 2012)
The more unique an artist’s path to self expression is, the more heroic and delightful is the result. Ana Alcaide expresses herself with, to quote Wikipedia, “a nyckelharpa (literally “key harp”, plural nyckelharpor), sometimes called a keyed fiddle, … traditional Swedish musical instrument. It is a string instrument or chordophone. Its keys are attached to tangents which, when a key is depressed, serve as frets to change the pitch of the string“. Okay, that’s off the beaten path in itself, but here’s where it gets really good — She uses her nyckelharpa to play music, as her label puts it, “inspired by the journey of the Sephardic Jews and the city of Toledo.”
So meet Olga at the casbah, but not before dusk on Saturday. There is a hint of the exotic, Moorish flavor to her music, but none of the minor key drone one would expect of klezmer, another Jewish musical form. This is the sound of fresh air, hope and excitement, of packing for a better life, of pageantry and rhythm.
It is easy to say that it is good and stimulating, but not particularly easy to describe. For that, readers, please visit the album’s website, arcmusic.co.uk/shop/lacantigadelfuegoanaalcaide-p-1069.html take it from there.
You can also read an interview with Ana here: Interview with Rising Sephardic and World Music Performer Ana Alcaide