The Sounds of a Torn Region United in Many Languages

Jordi Savall’s ‘The Cycles of Life’ at Alice Tully Hall

At the end of “The Cycles of Life: A Musical Exploration of the Balkans,” conceived and presented by the Catalan early-music explorer Jordi Savall at Alice Tully Hall on Sunday, five soloists sang five different songs at once. In five different languages. Layered on top of the Hebrew traditional “Torah” sung by the Israeli cantor Lior Elmaleh, the Turkish tenor Gursoy Dincer sang an Ottoman song about love on the muddy road to Uskudar, while the soprano Irini Derebei delivered a Greek ode to a dark-eyed maid with a beauty spot on her cheek. The French baritone Marc Mauillon’s rendition of a Sephardic romance (in Ladino) blended with a Serbian folk song about a lass with gold-tangled hair that the folk singer Stoimenka Outchikova-Nedialkova sang dressed in a traditional Bulgarian costume. Read the whole article