Theodosii Spassov & Balkan Tales | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader
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Theodosii Spassov & Balkan Tales 

When: Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m. 2011
Price: $21-$25
Theodosii Spassov is a master of the kaval, a traditional Bulgarian flute, and has made loads of diverse, cross-­cultural albums. But most of what I've heard has either bored me to tears or insulted my taste; like cheesy pan-flute megastar Gheorghe Zamfir, Spassov has an unfortunate tendency to tackle every kind of music he encounters. Yes, the name on the marquee is Spassov's because of his star power, but as far as I'm concerned this show belongs to another member of the band, New York-based Bulgarian singer and arranger Vlada Tomova. Her recent Balkan Tales (Kuker), which gives the project its name, updates traditional Bulgarian folk with a jazzy kind of elasticity, featuring flourishes from flamenco, Indian classical music, and even Brazilian pop. Luckily, the liberties Tomova takes never get out of hand, and her songs don't drift too far from the styles she knows inside and out. Aside from Spassov and Tomova, tonight's six-piece will include the former leader of art-rock band Church of Betty, Chris Rael, who'll play sitar, Portu­guese guitar, and 12-string guitar. —Peter Margasak

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