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Les Yeux Noirs: Gypsy, Yiddish and Folk Influenced Music


I love Jazz music. From bebop to jazz fusion, ragtime to free jazz, acid jazz to Afro-Cuban jazz. But also reggae, Gypsy and Klezmer music. I enjoy listening to any style of music as long as I find it entertaining, and French band Les Yeux Noirs definitely is. First time I heard of them was in 2002 when they released their album ‘Balamouk‘. If you listen to ‘Yiddishe Mame‘ (Jewish Mother) and ‘Rozinkhes‘ (Raisins) and if you appreciate Gypsy, Klezmer and Eastern European music then you will really love the songs from the album.

The good news is Les Yeux Noirs just released their new album: ‘Tiganeasca‘ and it is as good as the previous ones. Again, Gypsy and Yiddish music with Russian and Eastern European melodies but for this album, new musicians joined the group: Julien Herné and Elise Blanchard on bass guitar, Dario Ivkovic on Serbian accordion, Vincent Peirani on jazz accordion and some exceptional guest appearances with Klezmer clarinetist Yuri Schraibman, guitarist Tomas Gubitsch, percussionist Thomas Ostrowiecki and Smadj (electronic remix).

Founded by the violin-playing Slabiak brothers almost 20 years ago, Eric and Olivier Slabiak follow the steps of their Uncle Leo (violin-player Leo Slab who played with Django Reinhardt) and Grandma Esther. Les Yeux Noirs is among the best if not the best of its category as there are not many bands playing with such an amazing virtuosity. Their repertoire draws from an incredible variety of sources and ‘Tiganeasca‘ with songs like ‘Lomir zikh iberbetn‘ (Let’s reconcile) and ‘A brivele di mame‘ (A letter to the mother) is a must-have.

They toured in the United States for years and they will be in Paris (L’Alhambra) in a few days, a great opportunity to see them live. Below is a video of a concert they gave in Samois sur Seine (France) in 2007; the song they play is one of my favorite: ‘Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen‘ composed by Sholom Secunda.

Listen, watch, enjoy and buy their album. Spread the word about Les Yeux Noirs!






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