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Kalinka Ensemble | Yule

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Easy Listening: Crooners/Vocals Jazz: Jazz Vocals Moods: Mood: Seasonal
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by Kalinka Ensemble

Christmas songs. The fantastic voice of Emilia Kirova, alternated with instrumental arrangements. You'll hear a lot of singing, violin, piano, cimbalom, gypsy guitars, double bass, and underneath: string arrangements (yeah the real thing!).
Genre: Easy Listening: Crooners/Vocals
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
3:45 $0.85
2. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
4:07 $0.99
3. Jingle Bells
3:14 $0.85
4. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
2:43 $0.85
5. Lara's Theme
3:30 $0.85
6. Driving Home for Christmas
4:06 $0.99
7. Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town
3:36 $0.85
8. Evening Bell (Вечерний Звон)
2:49 $0.85
9. Edelweiss
3:26 $0.85
10. White Christmas
3:44 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Kalinka Ensemble is a quartet that usually plays gypsy music.
For a long time they have been working with Emilia Kirova as a guest singer.

For this Christmas project they had to reinvent themselves, because the orderer/sponsor gave them very strict orders.
He asked for an easy listening Christmas cd that could please everybody. The music had to be smooth, not too obtrusive, and tasteful all the same. It should fit any Christmas dinner in any country.
A big challenge for musicians who are used to play "hot".

The first thing they had to do was to ask their accordion player NOT to cooperate on this cd.
That was the easy part, out goes the accordion, because it doesn't sound like Christmas.
In comes an excellent pianist, Werner Meert (who's responsible for the harmonica solo as well).
Many discussions follow about how to make this thing work.
Popy Basily, a famous gypsy guitar player is found willing to play on a few tracks.
A string ensemble is engaged to make a deep and smooth sound.
A drummer plays along on one track, to create some more variation.

These guest musicians complete the basic setting of violin, guitar, cimbalom and double bass.

The arrangements are quite varied, the choice of which instruments play on which track is carefully made, to get a balanced unity, the solo violin for example is omitted from several pieces.

Six vocal tracks and four instrumentals is the final result of this challenge.

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
Werner plays the first notes on the cd, and proves that his respect for the great Toots Thielemans is more than just admiration. An easy-going vocal track that defines the christmas atmosphere immediately.

Happy Xmas (War is over)
John Lennon would have been very pleased (and Yoko is, probably) with this daring arrangement, in which the pizzicato violin has an important role, and the cimbalom plays the countermelody. Emilia's singing is simply beautiful.

Jingle bells
The hottest track on the CD, a gypsy jazz instrumental with fantastic violon and guitar solos, played by Pal Szomora and guest musician Popy Basily. These two met each other for the first time just one hour before this recording!

Have yourself a merry little christmas
A sober arrangement. Just when you think that this song is only for piano and vocal, the strings intervene and lift the song to sublime heights, to disappear again unexpected, only coming back to play the last few chords.

Lara's theme
Violin player Pal Szomora is the soloist, the nice string arrangement and the cimbalom solo by Ernest Bango make a beautiful sound.

Driving home for christmas
One of the most entertaining songs on the CD. Smoothly driving home for Christmas, with a thousand memories, fluttering guitar and piano solos, and an outstanding string ensemble led by Stefaan De Rycke.

Santa Claus is comin' to town
A Christmas classic, played instrumentally, in the pure easy-listening style of a piano trio. Smooth jazz with the support of drummer Danny Martien, and a nice bass solo played by Herman De Rycke

Evening bell (Вечерний звон)
The only song in Russian instead of English. Emilia is delicately singing with very little accompaniment, the double bass is playing the melody as well.

Instrumental version for the violon of the everlasting Christmas movie The Sound of Music, floating on a warm bed of strings.

White christmas
Vast landscapes, reindeer, sleighbells in the snow, singing on strings

Emilia Kirova: vocals and violin
°1965 Burgas (Bulgaria)
Emilia Kirova studied music at the Pantcho Vladigerov State Conservatory in Sofia, where she specialised in classical violin and singing. As a composer, as a violinist and as a vocalist she won several prizes including the "Golden Orpheus" International Competition for pop songs and vocalists. She performed on festivals in Norwich (UK), Paris (FR), Pyongyang (Korea), Nicosia (Cyprus) and Sofia (Bulgaria). Since 1997 she lives in Belgium where she performs with many different bands. When invited by Gipsy Band Tzigani as a guest singer/violinist, she sings and plays traditional gypsy music from Russia and the Balkans, as well as music composed by Goran Bregovic for several well known "gypsy movies" by Emir Kusturica.

Pal Szomora: violin and viola
°1975 Budapest (Hungary)
Pal Szomora was born into a family of gipsy musicians that has been passing on the violin tradition from father to son for many generations. As a six year old, he started touring the world with a gipsy orchestra of thirty members, as a soloist, he kept on touring until the age of seventeen. In Budapest he studied at the Rajkó Orchestra, a school orchestra which specialized in keeping the culture of the Hungarian gypsy music alive, and at the Ferenc Liszt Conservatory. In 1996 he moved to Belgium, where he continued his violin study with Rudolf Werthen at the Royal Music Conservatory of Ghent.
Pal is the violin player of the Kalinka Ensemble since 2006, and the co-founder of Tzigani.

Ernest Bangó: cimbalom and guitar
°1968 Budapest (Hungary)
Ernest Bangó grew up in a musical family, his father Ernő Bangó being one of the most famous cimbalom players of his time. At the age of 5 he started to study the violin and the piano, but when he was 8 he switched over to the cimbalom.
He studied classical music in Budapest. At the same time he got a training in gypsy music from his father, and he also became an excellent guitarist.
In 1990 he started to work with Roby Lakatos. He stayed 17 years, while Lakatos turned into the world’s most famous gypsy violin player, playing with Quincy Jones, Stéphane Grappelli, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov.
In 2009 he played the guitar as a guest musician on Tzigani’s first cd “Budapest”. One year later he became a regular member of Tzigani, mainly playing the cimbalom, and sometimes the guitar.

Herman De Rycke: double bass & sleigh bells
°1960 Oudenaarde (Belgium)
Herman De Rycke started playing music as a bass guitarist in different rock bands. Later he studied the double-bass with Frank Coppieters and took jazz lessons with Marc Matthys at the Royal Music Conservatory of Ghent. In that period he played the double-bass in several jazz ensembles. Gypsy music became his specialty after accidentally being exposed to it. His training in this style focused entirely on practicing, accompanying many different Hungarian and Russian gipsy musicians. He is the founder the Kalinka Ensemble. He also used to be the double-bass player of "Mich en Scène", the band around Frederik Caelen and Micheline Van Hautem, with whom he went on several tours in Australia.

Werner Meert plays the piano & keyboards on tracks 1, 4, 6 and 7

Alain Van Zeveren plays the piano & keyboards on track 10

Popy Basily plays solo guitar on tracks 3 and 6

Danny Martien plays the drums on track 7

The string ensemble led by Stefaan De Rycke plays on tracks 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9
Stefaan De Rycke: violin
Eva Ackerman: violin
Emilia Kirova: violin
Pal Szomora: violin or viola

The string arrangments were written by Stefaan De Rycke, Herman De Rycke and Pal Szomora



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