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Artist: Mark Van Overmeire
Label: Kramúsica Records 001
Times: 6 tracks / 41 minutes

Oh, to be able to travel the world and then compose music about one's travels! This is the life of composer Mark Van Overmeire. When I read the program notes regarding his life in South America for several years and absorbing the atmosphere of this continent to enrich his musical knowledge, I decided to stop reading and listen to the six-track CD right away.

My idea of reflections in water was right, but I wouldn't have matched it with the high-altitude Lake Titicaca. This is what Overmeire tries to accomplish in this album. He chooses a location in South America and then describes it through music. If you've traveled there, fine; if not, the general flavor may appear to you. Except for the first piece, "Cotopaxi," which I found not as interesting as the rest of the selections, the other five pieces are innovative.

Mark Van Overmeire, with fellow musicians, Arne Deforce, Jozef Dumoulin, Osman Martins, Gwenaël Micault, Alexander Busschaert and Carlo Van Belleghem, bring a combination of jazz and klezmer influence to the music. "Patagonia" definitely has a South American mood with intricate keyboards and percussion. The mood is catchy, though I would have thought "Argentina," instead. "La Danza De Los Emigrantes" is an 11-minute composition in three sections ("La Integración," "La Seducción" and "La Celebración") that really makes one want to dance on a moonlight beach. There is a Peter Nero piano-influence at times. "A Bokher Un A Meydl" is klezmer music influenced (and a great cello part by Arne Deforce) that may remind the listener of a caravan that could just as easily be on another part of the world than the Middle East. Somewhat deceptive is the last selection, "Os Meninos Inocentes," which is about Bahia, a happy-go-lucky community, but instead, the music is almost child-like in flavor, or perhaps, the innocence of Bahia is to be discovered slowly?

Next, Mark will travel through Cambodia and Laos for inspiration for a new album. Bon voyage.

Copyright 2004 Marie Asner  



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