Well, oy vey!, opa!, and oh my gosh!, here's a world-music collective that plays an enchanting blend of Gypsy music (two of the five members of Fishtank Ensemble actually traveled across Europe in a caravan as Croque Mule) and other exotic styles, including klezmer, polka, punk, flamenco, classical, and rock. And these aren't inner-city American kids trying to sound cultured (although they are based in northern California now), but rather a hodgepodge of players from the U.S., France, and even Japan jamming out on obscure instruments like the violintromba, the shamisen, and the saw. The latter instrument, eerily played by Ursula Knudsen, meanders through the music like a drunken psycho staggering down a dark alley looking for a victim. But the sinister-sounding saw is offset by Fishtank Ensemble's propensity for bouncing through the percussion-heavy folk styles of Hungary, Sweden, Romania, and other countries. The band says its debut album, Super Raoul, will take listeners "from the smokey cafes of Bucharest to the Gypsy caravans of yesterday," and it's bursting with ethnic energies. The live show could be a trip. Literally.
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