Jeni Jol: Music of the Balkans, Greece and Turkey
Solo Clawhammer Guitar series: Claw 001 (2013)
Jeni Jol, pronounced “Yeni Yol” literally means “The New Path” a Macedonian line dance of Roma Origin. The sub title of the album “Music of the Balkans, Greece and Turkey” give a fair description of the content. Tev Stevig is a master of this music, the first three tracks, and track eleven are composed by Tev, the remainder are traditional arranged by Tev.
If you were expecting the more raucous side of Balkan music well this is at the other extreme, gentle plaintive melodies, played mostly as solo performance pieces.
Tev’s fretless style is impressive and flawless, the whole album is very easy to get totally immersed in. Fretless nylon string guitar, fretted steel string guitar, and fretless gourd banjo are used on the album. The gourd banjo debuts on track nine: “Kalaidzijsko Oro” (Craftsmen’s Dance) it has a unique sound, if you imagine a fretless banjo with nylon strings, you are in the right area.
Track eleven “Dinner at the Meades’ ” is the one outing for the fretted steel strung guitar demonstrating Tev’s prowess at clawhammer style. The whole album hangs together well and is a joy to listen to, when it finishes you just want to run the whole thing again, which is recommendation itself. If you have never heard Turkish fretless music it really is worth exploring this album, if you already know a little, it will be like finding an old friend. Highly recommended.
Review – Jahloon