Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Selim Sesler, Jim Stoynoff, & Lamajamal - Martyrs' - Chicago, Illinois - Monday, September 27, 2010
The 12th Annual World Music Festival Chicago wraps up tomorrow. As usual, there were just too many interesting-looking shows for me to attend during its 10-day run at multiple venues throughout the city, but that's a nice problem to have. My friend Mike, who I first met at one of the John Berberian events at the Old Town School of Folk Music back in April, got in touch with me last week and strongly encouraged me to meet him and check out the musicians who were scheduled to perform at Martyrs' on Monday, September 27. One of them, Macedonian-American clarinetist Jim Stoynoff, is a friend of Mike's and someone who he was sure that I would like, both personally and musically. Of course, he was right. Stoynoff is an amazingly talented clarinet player who can handle Balkan, Turkish, klezmer, and other material with equal skill, and it was a joy to experience his music in a live setting. His set was followed by a performance from another woodwind virtuoso, the Turkish Roma clarinetist Selim Sesler, who is rightly regarded by cognoscenti as a legend in his own time. I've been fortunate enough to attend a lot of great concerts this year, but I don't think that I had goosebumps at any of them as consistently as I did on Monday evening. Both artists were expertly backed by the sublime Middle Eastern-Turkish-Balkan fusion group Lamajamal, whose members' collective proficiency on all manner of exotic instruments was extremely impressive. Sesler was also accompanied during his set by several musicians who I believe also came from Turkey. In short, you missed a hell of show if you weren't there.