Trio Kavkasia: Ian Gasser, Carl Linich (tenor); Stuart Gelzer (bass voice).
Personnel: Carl Linich (tenor); Stuart Gelzer (bass voice).
Recording information: Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY (08/04/2003-08/09/2003).
Fox and the Lion is definitely a bit of an oddity, but a very glorious one. Three American men singing polyphonic music from Georgia (the republic, not the state). Trio Kavkasia tackle a very fair range, from work songs to more or less liturgical music, from many different Georgian regions, and there's obviously not only a love of the music itself, but a deep level of scholarship here. The most important thing, however, is that they do what they set out to do, and very well, too. Achieving these unusual Georgian harmonies isn't easy for voices used to Western music, but the trio manage it with both skill and conviction, a rare combination. To be fair, there are some things all the practice and the will in the world can't achieve, and they're never going to be able to completely replicate the tone of Georgian singers who grew up with this. It's learned, not in the genes. But in many ways that's minor carping. They've succeeded in capturing the music -- there are some wonderful love songs, for instance -- and bringing it to (hopefully) a slightly wider audience, as well as doing their bit for cross-cultural relations. ~ Chris Nickson