ARC Music EUCD 1789
label website

Talisman is Loyko reborn after the famous late Gypsy Trio disbanded in the summer of 2000. Loyko's guitarist Vadim Kulitskij immediately founded the new trio Talisman with Oleksandr Klimas on violin and Oleg Nehls on button accordion. All three are master musicians but if the crown of devilish chops must go to one of them, it is to Klimas whom aficionados already call Russia's new Paganini, so superhuman is his virtuosity.

Perhaps more ungodly yet is the mindbending precision whereby these three sail effortlessly through drastic time changes and the cossack-style prestissimo finales whereby Russian Gypsies speed up tempi to beyond what seems possible. With haunting vocals compliments of Kulitskij in the lead, and diverse effects by way of pizzicato and guitar-style strummed violin, Russian Gypsy Fire takes folk tunes and similarly inspired material and transforms it into conservatory-style concertizing of the very highest caliber.

Like the Nedim Nalbantoglu/Roberto de Brasov trio with Turkish violin and Bulgarian accordion, Talisman manages to sound far denser than seems possible for a trio formation. These musicians conjure up a microcosm of folkoristic symphonica such as Zoltan Kodaly and Bela Bartok put to score. And lest one suspect multi-dubbing trickery, performance applause between tracks reminds us that we're listening to a live performance. That's when you really shake your head in utter disbelief. In short, this is fiery music, fiercely demanding from a technical perspective and equal parts passion and bravado. It's as though the guitar and accordion equivalents for moviedom's Red Violin had met up in Buchara and found themselves in the hands of gods letting 'er rip for one round of mortal excess, shredded strings, hoarse throats and bloodied fingers to be transformed in the hereafter.