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Doina Violin...the story

Little Moshlo and his mother

The Doina is a lament consisting of an expressive melody in free rhythm with improvised variations and embellishments. Originating in India and the Middle East, it spread throughout Eastern Europe. Its eloquence depends on its ability to charter a journey from grief, to loss, to acceptance, to resignation. to love - a gamut of emotions which finally resolve into a spritely dance of joy.



This album - Doina Violin - is a retrospective of significant musical influences which have shaped and nurtured me. In Poland where I was born, my mother would sing haunting lullabies - songs tinged with the melancholy of our Jewish heritage which I only later recognised as Doinas.  So when I was in Berlin preparing to record the doinas, the city and its history awakened my own long dormant memories. The traumatic remnants of World War 2 in the city distilled a recognition of suffering and sadness which seemed best expressed in the Doina. The dance that follows, brings with it the joy of hope and renewal.  



When words often seem limited to express emotion, the almost primal sounds of the Doina have a universality beyond language. The violin has an affinity to the voice, so it can infer with shifts and vibrato, the subtle movement of emotions particularly in the free form of the Doina. No wonder then that throughout the ages, Gypsy and Jewish musicians adopted this type of music to express their melancholy, and in the process almost evoke a state of mystical trance.






© 2013 by Carla Thackrah. Photos by Chris Osbourne and Steve Swayne

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