The California-based string sensations, Vincent & Vedant, create moving pieces of string music inspired by European sensibilities, flamenco, rumba, gypsy, and instrumental genres. The emotive music is rich with charisma and talent. The wholly instrumental album does not feature electronic dance music or rock music, but the music is still powerful enough to get some feet moving.
“Fiddler’s Green” opens with a giddy, upbeat melody that is not afraid of opening strong. The vibrant rhythm is classic and possesses melodies from across Southern Europe. The effervescent result is fairly danceable and contains a bit of Appalachian and Southern musical foundations. However, the music is not blues or gospel-based. The music is filled with string sounds, but a little acoustic guitar is thrown in for a rousing melody indicative of any folk song with a European heritage.
“We Sing We Dance” continues in a similar vein with “Fiddler’s Green.” However, the acoustic guitar reaches flamenco frenzy, along with the strings. Light finger-tapping percussion on a guitar and a swirling blend of rhythms and melodies leads to a bluesy swagger mid-song. The slower tone saunters along, but speeds up near the end of the song in a type of klezmer frenzy. Vocals are void throughout the song.
“Adventure” begins with earthy violin playing and a bit of percussion rich with taps and acoustic guitar lines. The violin flutters along with little interruption, because the violin leads the way through the song and the finger-tapping guitar percussion fills in for more complexity. The classic sounds are enriched by a giddy, Southern folk style that would be great at any hoedown. However, the flamenco guitar stylings add a little spice to the repertoire.
“Joyful” actually opens with a guitar and not a violin. The spritely rhythms and joyous, breezy opening lines set the stage for a danceable and catchy song. The instrumental medley could be a lost Dexy’s Midnight Runners song, but the incredible violin virtuoso and flamenco guitarist take the song to a whole new level—where few musicians tread. Vincent & Vedant are a duo that explores two different instruments in congruous ways. This is one of the best songs on the new album, because it is the catchiest.
“The Crossing” begins with a flamenco guitar opening and light drum-slaps without additional instrumentation. Shortly thereafter, a wavering and droning violin adds a little texture for the song. The heartfelt instrumentation is clever and shows signs of Euro folk indicative of English, Spanish, and French incarnations. Whatever the influence, this song reverberates with emotive violin sounds and upbeat guitar stylings.
“Tarantas” is a glittering showcase of folk guitar arrangements with some fast picking and strumming in-line with Spanish folk music. The music is flamenco-like, but the guitar is more folk-centered without additional instrumentation to ruin its potential. Consequently, this song is a perfect combination of subtle melodies and engaging rhythms.
Vincent & Vedant channel European, Spanish, and French-tinged folk music on violin and guitar without adding any vocalizations. The ten songs on the new album represent a brilliant cross-section of musical talents on guitar and violin. The evocative melodies, earthy violin, and gypsy-style compositions are some of the best songs in this genre. Remarkably, the US-based group knows how to create moving moods with Euro-tuned instrumentation and folk melodies, which makes it seem like the music is coming directly out of Southern Europe. At any rate, fans of the Gypsy Kings, Ottmar Liebert, and others with an instrumental, folk, Spanish, and Southern European musical style will find Vincent & Vedant to be a refreshing group that is sure to be the life of any party. Nothing is amiss here.
Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)