FROOTS GLOBAL RHYTHM WHOLE NOTE


FROOTS MAGAZINE REVIEW
Issue 282 December 2006




LEIGH CLINE & NIKOLAS MICHAILIDIS


Al Asha Bi Daha: Traditional Songs of the Eastern Black Sea

Scimitar Records SRD 0601



The title is a traditional Black Sea call for flagging dancers to rejoin the circle: one more
time! Canadian multi-instrumentalist Leigh Cline is rightly respected for his work in
Greek and Turkish traditions, and here he teams up with Greek vocalist Nikolas
Michailidis for a set of 16 pieces from the Turkey/Georgia border.

Of Black Sea ancestry, Michailidis plays the three-stringed Pontic fiddle called
Pontiaki lyra in Greek and Karadeniz kemencesi in Turkish (much of the repertoire is
common to the two communities) as well as the imposing davul drum. His authoritative
renditions provide the main narrative of this CD. These are traditional pieces but what
distinguishes the production from many similar releases is Cline’s success in creating a
soundscape that is both danceable and repays repeated, close listening. He plays guitar
throughout. Now, bad guitar playing – sometimes by famous names – can drown modal
music by the crass use of primary and sophisticated chords, but Cline displays a musical
intelligence that complements and enhances the intriguing harmonic implications of this
non-harmonic music. Also, he has negotiated a tempo that invites appreciation of the
vocal and lyra line, as well as the underlying pulse. Combine this with a technically
sensitive recording of the vocals and fiddle that has rarely been bettered and the result is
a delightful, refreshing CD of Black Sea music.

This title is shortly to be released in Greece with the title translated as Mian Ki’allo.
Available via the Scimitar website at www.scimitarmusic.com or also from www.leighcline.com

Chris Williams
© Folk Roots Magazine 2006
Reprinted by Permission






FROOTS GLOBAL RHYTHM WHOLE NOTE


GLOBAL RHYTHM MAGAZINE REVIEW
April 2007



LEIGH CLINE & NIKOLAS MICHAILIDIS


Al Asha Bi Daha: Traditional Songs of the Eastern Black Sea
Scimitar Records



Toronto native Leigh Cline (guitar, saz, tambura, synthesizers) began his career in Celtic Music
and North American Folk and Blues, and also worked as a concert producer and music magazine
editor. A chance meeting with a pair of Greek gypsy musicians in the early 1970s widened Cline’s
horizons, leading him to explore the music of Greece and Turkey, the Black Sea region and the
Caucasus. Cline pairs with Greek counterpart Nikolas Michailidis (vocal, three stringed pontic lyra,
davul or double-skinned frame drum) in a sonic essay of traditional dances from the Turkey-Georgia
frontier. The lyra is the focal instrument on this recording, and Cline, who moved to Northern Greece
in the mid-1970s to apprentice with regional tradition bearers, is at home in music whose unusual
rhythms and modal, non harmonic quality pose a challenge to guitarists exclusively schooled in
North American folk idioms. The result is a unique blend of disparate traditions.

Michael Stone
© Global Rhythm 2007
Reprinted by Permission



FROOTS GLOBAL RHYTHM WHOLE NOTE


WHOLENOTE MAGAZINE REVIEW
September 2006



Al Asha Bi Daha, Traditional Songs of the Eastern Black Sea
Leigh Cline; Nikolas Michailidis
Scimitar Records SRD 0601




“Al Asha Bi Daha” is a Pontic Greek call to the dance. The Pontic people, in case
your historical geography is a little rusty, are descendants of the ancient Greeks who settled
on the south eastern shore of the Black Sea, in present-day Turkey. Featuring the rhythmic
virtuoso lyra (an ancient fiddle) playing and incisive singing of Nikolas Michailidis, the CD
purveys 16 dance tracks, essential for any old-school Pontic dance party.

While none of the selections is more recent than the 1970s – and the roots of most are
lost in the mists of time – there is hope for the survival of this ancient acoustic music in the
current sea of superficial electro-pop which seems to pervade the popular Greek and Turkish
musical landscape, thanks to musicians like Nikolas Michailidis who are taking their heritage
confidently into the 21st century. Between his cultural roots and musical depth, and
producer/guitarist Leigh Cline’s dedication, the future of Pontic music seems in capable hands.

Andrew Timar
© Whole Note Magazine 2006
Reprinted by Permission



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