[HOT TRACK]A Strange but Joyful Voyage

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[HOT TRACK]A Strange but Joyful Voyage

"Gypsy Passion" is a solo album by the violinist Sergei Trofanov, who first picked up a bow in his native Moldova. Now living in Montreal, Trofanov heads the quartet Djelem, whose gypsy-style music is so moving that a few Korean TV programs have used its tunes to crank up the drama.

Trofanov paints in "Gypsy Passion" images of a forgotten world and time. The music starts akin to the album cover - the wonder of a Venice dusk.

Flamboyant with a yen for drama, Trofanov is known for his extraordinary bow control. His knack for dynamics and nuances creates a stream of moods ranging from stern to merry to nostalgic.

The first track, "Moldova," starts the listener on a strange but joyful voyage. Moldova, once a part of the Soviet Union, is one of the poorest countries in the world; but this song, composed by Trofanov, celebrates the simple life, as a steady piano accompaniment by Oscar Gelfqand complements Trofanov's soaring violin.

Ethnically a Romanian, Trofanov grew up in a village near a tribe of Gypsies, who introduced him to the violin when he was 5 years old. After studying at the Conservatory of Kishinev, Moldova's capital, he traveled the world with the Moldavian National Folk Orchestra.

He settled in Canada 1991, forming Djelem in 1994. "Djelem" is a Gypsy word with several meanings. In fact, it means "Gypsy," and a popular Gypsy song, "Djelem, Djelem," means "I have traveled."

Djelem's music has been used in local TV programs such as KBS's "Blue Fog" ("Pureun Angae" in Korean) and and SBS's "Father and Son" ("Abeojiwa Aduel"). The popularity of the songs compelled a local music label to release a compilation with many of the group's songs. The music for "Gypsy Passion" also includes three original scores by Trofanov, traditional Gypsy songs and two classic pieces by Brahms and Satie.

Two tracks that listeners may recognize from TV dramas are "Dark Eyes" and "Two Guitars." "Dark Eyes" begins slowly, like a sultry dance by a long, dark woman. Then it changes gears and becomes playful, as if the dancer is whirling with exhilaration.

Trofanov's passion for his music shines through to the end. The last track, "Un Amor," is a lonely and haunting violin solo, with pauses in the music that seem like a heart stopping. As the last notes linger, you feel the dream ending and a new day breaking.

by Joe Yong-hee

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