Guzulka is the second release on Dunya (after "Bajan" FY 8002) for one of the finest accordionists around, the Ukrainian VLADIMIR DENISSENKOV and provides ample confirmation, as if confirmation were needed, of his astounding talent and musical sensibility.
DENISSENKOV who has travelled the world over, has for several years now elected Italy as his adopted homeland, leading to collaborations with major Italian artists such as Fabrizio de Andre (on Anime salve), Moni Ovadia and Ludovico Einaudi.
Presenting a variety of new material, his latest album features DENISSENKOV fronting a sizeable band well in syntony with his ideas and focuses, much more than the previous record, on the accordionist's own compositions which carry the music beyond the traditional cultural confines of his country of origin. Together with his virtuosic qualities as an instrumentalist on a Russian accordion known as the bajan, DENISSENKOV also demonstrates a considerable creative vein in assembling these excellent quality pieces.
The atmospheres of Guzulka are in continuous mutation, presenting sudden rhythmic and emotional shifts and jarring juxtapositions (from frenzied joy to deep melancholy, passing through a myriad of intermediate states) which mirror DENISSENKOV's aim of putting together a record representative not only of his musical career but also of his real life experience, filtered through his memories and reminiscences.
Listening to this record gives one the impression of sitting at the window of a speeding train yet able to clearly discern the scenery and events outside: vistas and landscapes each as singular as a human face, a pair of eyes, the infinite nuances of a gaze. DENISSENKOV's music captures with exquisite precision the very sources of the sensations that inspire it. In this he is helped by the three female vocalists in his group, who appear both solo and occasionally in chorus, adding dynamism to tracks such as Maricka and Guzulka, expressing the infinite nostalgia of Santa Russia and even exploding at one point in the lacerating scream of Eterlesi. Highly effective too is the use of brass, both trumpets and trombones, to add punch and verve to a number of tracks whose sonorities have something in common with Balcan music. Lastly DENISSENKOV's solo passages on Guzulka (on for example Chasing ogres, Ale e Franz) are particularly delightful, demonstrating the maturity of an artist who never allows his virtuosity to overshadow the musical material.
Sure to become an essential work in DENISSENKOV's discography, Guzulka is both a synthesis and the acme of the accordionist's twenty-year plus career as well as the potential departure point for thrilling new musical adventures.