Briga: Turbo Folk Stories

Briga
Turbo Folk Stories
Bahtalo
2012-02-22

The band doesn’t play turbofolk per se, explains the blurb, nor does it play Bulgarian chalga, but “merely alludes to them as a reference point.” The stiletto heels on the front cover are mild next to turbofolk’s queens in their chains and leather and the group’s ambitions are milder, too: not dominating the mainstream charts of its homeland, just adapting Eastern European music for a North American audience. Give that thing an acoustic swing. Give it a piece of pop chanson in the middle. (“Lela”.) Give it tabla.

This version of “Duj Duj” starts with a quiver of wait-for-it piano — the musicians have a got a lot of this showmanship. Briga herself travelled from Quebec to Eastern Europe to work on her fiddle, a whippy kicker. Not an aggressive fiddle like a Fanfare Ciocarlia fiddle or a Taraf de Haïdouks fiddle, but quick and accurate. The voices are okay and yet the instruments are so much better that the two lamenting vocal tracks feel like wasted opportunities. (“On the 40”, “Night @ Officer’s Club”.) We could have been listening to more accordion here, people.

RATING 6 / 10
PopMatters