Les Yeux Noirs
tChorba (or “soup”) is the latest release from Paris-based septet Les Yeux Noirs (The Black Eyes). An irresistible group fronted by brother violinist-vocalists Eric and Olivier Slabiak, Les Yeux Noirs plays an extraordinarily infectious, seamless blend of Yiddish and Gypsy music, underscored at times by charismatic, almost quirky cimbalom (a type of Hungarian dulcimer) and funky electric bass, guitar and drums. Francois Perchat’s sensuous cello adds just the right depth of passion to “Desirs Derisoires” (“Trivial Desires”). “Reve” (“Dream”), a contemplative, romantic song also sung in French, makes use of bowed strings to help set the right mood. “La Belle Amour” is enticingly frantic. “Zam’hora Pe Opt” is a wild romp featuring some fast, wacky cimbalom and woodblock playing. For the spirited “Le Voyage,” Olivier Slabiak added words, and sampled female vocals, to a Charles Baudelaire poem. “Trado Trado” and the vibrant, extremely danceable “O’Djila” feature traditional Romanian lyrics in arrangements by Les Yeux Noirs. I give this CD, as they say, two thumbs up—for listenability, creativity and sheer fun.