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Black Earth

Rodzevski Kristo

Black Earth

Label: Defkaz

Genre: World Music


  • LP 180gr €28.99
    In Stock
"During the lockdown of the Covid pandemic, I found my old Macedonian tambura in the closet of my
East Village, NY apartment, buried behind clothes, books, and old boots. Over the next few days, I
spontaneously started playing some archaic melodies and old songs - the ones that my grandparents
used to sing it to me or that I overheard during family celebrations, weddings, etc., while I was growing
up in Bitola (Monastir), North Macedonia. I decided to record a few songs on my I-phone and sent them
to Bill, to cheer him up, I guess. I was impatient to hear what he thought of the sound, irregular rhythms,
and progressions. Bill called that night and said we should blend and record this material in a way
George Russell's "Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature" album was arranged. It can work out, he
said. The supernatural thing, telepathy, or pure coincidence of that moment was that when I answered
his call I was already holding that very LP in my hands and was putting it on my turntable, unaware of the
unconscious motivation to do so." - Kristo Rodzevski.

Black Earth has eleven traditional Macedonian songs infused with African aesthetics, including Gnawa
undertones, Congo rumba, and African field recordings. The core of the traditional Macedonian
harmonies and rhythms was developed over the centuries from the Ancient Greek and Roman Empire's
lyricism, Byzantium's chants, and the Ottoman Empire's classical music progressions, by way of multiple
migrations, storytelling, wars, myths, tribalism, reconciliations, etc. (Fun fact: there are also some micro-
influences from India and North Africa, brought in by circus members from India who migrated to the
region during the Ottoman Empire and North African mercenaries who fought in the region during the
Balkan wars, respectively.)

In a nutshell, Black Earth is a filtrate of the trans-generational transmission of resilience, trauma, love,
and naivete. The concept of the record is loosely based on George Russell's - Electronic Sonata for Souls
Loved by Nature, and the master musicians on the record create an immaculate foundation for effortless
storytelling and heartfelt emotions.

With Dominic James (Paul Simon, Angelique Kidjo, Harry Belafonte), Josh Werner (Matisyahu, Lee
Scratch Perry, Wu-Tang Clan), Adam Rudolph (Pharoah Sanders, Yusef Lateef, Foday Musa Suso, Herbie
Hancock), and the person who needs no introduction - Bill Laswell.

All songs are traditional Macedonian songs, arranged by Kristo Rodzevski(BMI) except Armenia by Kristo
Rodzevski(BMI) and Dominic James (BMI)

Kristo Rodzevski (tambura, acoustic guitar, vocals)

Dominic James (electric guitar)

Josh Werner (bass)

Bill Laswell (bass, field recordings)

Adam Rudolph (sintir, percussion)

Recorded at Orange Music, West Orange, NJ

Engineer: James Dellatacoma

Mixed by Bill Laswell

Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtletone Studio

Cover paintings by Anastasios Babatzias

Disc label photo by Kristo Rodzevski

Layout Design by Alan J

Produced by Bill Laswell

Gatefold cover