Canadian duo Kamancello's debut album captures a dynamic musical conversation between two extremely talented and expressive performers.
Shahriyar Jamshidi plays exquisitely articulated kamanche (an Iranian bowed string instrument) with, against and around Raphael Weinroth-Browne's muscular, precise cello work. Their East-meets-West sound contrasts and complements in consistently exciting ways, with neither player overshadowing or overstepping the other; theirs is a most harmonious union, even when they purposefully pursue disharmony.
While both musicians are clearly classically trained in their disciplines to the point of seemingly effortless virtuosity, they also display distinctly modern influences in these compositions, and a keen willingness to blend and borrow from other musical traditions. Some of the riffs — especially when the cello gets deep and nasty — are downright metal.
With a strong emphasis on rhythm and melody, even while fingers are flying and modalities are furiously modulating, the six pieces that comprise Kamancello should carry allure to listeners beyond classical and world music circles, should they be lucky enough to hear this beautifully composed music. (Independent, kamancello.bandcamp.com)
Scott A. Gray (Independent)