Review of “4” by Stjepan Vrečko

The Macedonian group Baklava introduced themselves in 2006 with the debuting an eponymous album, on which they bravely stepped into the processing of traditional songs, and with the next, the second (Kalemar, 2008) to an author’s approach in the wake of their own heritage. The third album, 2011’s “Me mankas mucho”, has been expanded with new world music influences. Looking at their music journey as they mature and grow up, the conclusion is self-explanatory: the fourth album, “IV”, released in January 2020, is a natural turn and one step further in the quest to answer the question of how far the musical boundaries can be moved. If musical boundaries are genres, and there really are many of them here, from all directions – from world music, jazz, ethno, rock; it is even sung in multiple languages ​​- the answer is quite clear: the border exists to be crossed, because only when we know where the border is, is that we know that we are free. And the album “IV” is one of the most beautiful dedications to musical freedom.

The mixture of ‘all and everything’, tradition and novelty, abstract and material, forms one extremely interesting heterogeneity which listeners cannot predict exactly where it will take them, so there is always an element of surprise. I believe that even the authors – guided by love, exploration, curiosity and a keen understanding of music – sometimes did not know in which direction they were going, but they let it carry them.

Because music is an emotion, and those who do not understand it should simply not deal with it. And if there were more of these unencumbered artists, who dare to leave the imposed box of the genre, the term “world music” could really begin to grow true to its meaning.

Stjepan Vrečko

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