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About the Album

Jeni Jol: Music of the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey

"It would be hard to find a more fitting title for this album than Jeni Jol. The term (pronounced "Yeni Yol") means "the new path" and also refers to a Macedonian line dance of Roma origin. In these 12 tracks we hear the music of the Balkan region rendered in an astonishingly unique fashion, and executed without a hint of gimmickry.  Tev has immersed himself in the music of Turkey, Greece and the Balkans for the past 12 years. He has studied the traditional musical structures and instruments of these lands and internalized the subtle rhythmic nuances that the dancers demand.  He is also a master of clawhammer, a technique of African origins that is often used on the banjo in American folk music, but rarely used on the guitar.  In this album he brings these distant worlds together, united and transformed on solo clawhammer guitar. This truly is a New Path."

Steve Baughman, May 2013
Track Information:

1. Cherambe 3:15
2. Ruchinitsa 2:52
3. Leo in the Morning 2:49
4. Ey Zahit Saraba Eyle Ihtiran 3:53
5. Agir Halay (Saza Niye Gelmedin) 4:11
6. Ah Edip Cirpinan 4:49
7. Ramo Ramo 3:46
8. Bir Ah Cektim 3:38
9. Kalaidjisko Oro 2:22
10. Dersim Dort Dag Icinde 3:30
11. Dinner At The Meades' 3:33
12. Cuperlika 3:30
Album Credits:

Tev Stevig: fretless nylon string guitar, fretted steel string guitar, and gourd banjo

Executive Producer: Steve Baughman
Produced by Tev Stevig
Recorded at Soggybottom Sound, Swampscott, MA
Mixed and Mastered by Derek Bianchi at MuscleTone Studios, Berkeley, CA
Cover Design by Leslie Bordonaro
Cover Art and Conceptual Art by Helianthe Stevig

Special thanks to Kristin and Leo and the rest of the Stevig-Lewis clan. Additional thanks to Brian O'Neill, Colin Sapp, Klezwoods, Orkestra Marhaba, and Hickory Strings for their support of this project.

All songs traditional, arranged by Tev Stevig Copyright 2013, except
Tracks 1-3, 11 by Tev Stevig, Polydaktylos Music, ASCAP
Track Notes:

Cherambe - Tev Stevig
This melody is based on a fascinating dance from Macedonia called Berance (pronounced "beranche"), which has so many stops and starts that there is a long standing debate over how long the rhythmic cycle is. Here, I have reversed the rhythmic cycle for Berance to create a new dance in 12/8. Tuning l to h: FGCgcd.
 
Ruchinitsa - Tev Stevig
Ruchinitsa is a very fast dance from Bulgaria in 7/8. This is the first original tune I wrote in the clawhammer style and is meant to mimic the sheer energy of this dance when played on traditional instruments. Tuning l to h: FGDgcd.

Leo In The Morning - Tev Stevig
This original tune is one of the first I attempted in Steve Baughman's "high-5" tuning on steel string guitar. It is mostly based on a dance in 11/8 from Bulgaria called Kopanitsa. Tuning l to h: EeAEab.

Ey Zahit Şaraba Eyle İhtiram - Harabi (after Erkan Oğur and Ismail Hakkı Demircioğlu)
Erkan Oğur is a very highly regarded musician from Turkey and is often credited with being the first person to use a fretless guitar in the '70's. He has a fantastic musical partnership with Ismail Demircioğlu and this is one of my favorite tunes they play together. Tuning l to h: FGCgcd.

Ağır Halay (Saza Niye Gelmedin) - Ibrahim Tatlises
I know this slow dance from my time as a member of the band Rakiya in Boston, MA. It has a very melancholic melody in 10/8, which is a common rhythm from Turkey. Tuning l to h: FGDgcd.

Ah Edip Cırpınan - Sefil Selimi (after Özlem Özdil and Güler Duman)
When the fretless guitar is played clawhammer style, it has the ability to interpret melodies and to ornament them in a similar fashion to the saz, but it has a warmer sound not unlike the oud, due to its nylon strings and fretless neck. One can hear all these elements on this melody in 5/8, which I fell in love with after hearing these two amazing female vocalists and saz players from Turkey perform it together. Tuning l to h: FGCgcd.

Ramo Ramo - Traditional
Medleys are very common in Balkan folk dance performance. This medley starts with a well-known, upbeat song in 4/4 from the Balkans that I paired with another tune in a different key after hearing an obscure version on a Greek brass band CD. Tuning l to h: FGDgcd.

Bir Ah Çektim - Traditional (after Brenna MacCrimmon and Selim Sesler)
Brenna and Selim's album together, entitled Karsilama (also the name of the dance in 9/8 that goes with this tune), is a true classic and still one of my all time favorites. The melody here really just flirts with the time signature. It often starts in the middle of a beat cycle and is extremely slippery, all of which make it an interesting song to arrange in the clawhammer style. Tuning l to h: EGEgbe.
 
Kalaidzijsko Oro (Craftsmen's Dance) - Traditional
I found this Macedonian tune in 11/8 on a CD of field recordings from throughout the Balkans. The clever melody is played this time on a custom gourd banjo made by Jay Moschella of Jamaica Plain, MA and speeds up towards the end, as many Balkan dances do. Tuning l to h: aDAde.

Dersim Dört Dağ İçinde - Traditional (after Erkan Oğur)
Here is another meditative melody in 10/8 from Turkey, interpreted after Erkan Oğur's version. Simple and beautiful. Tuning l to h: FGCgcd.

Dinner At The Meades' - Tev Stevig
I wrote this tune while my family was in-between homes and staying with good friends. I was trying to capture the laid back vibe of their household, mixed with the craziness and uprootedness of ours. The theme comes off as much more Western sounding than anything else on this CD, but it is mostly in another common 7/8 dance rhythm from the Balkans. Tuning l to h: EeAEab.

Cuperlika - Traditional
This is the first melody I arranged for clawhammer style guitar, a little over 2 years ago. I first learned this dance in 7/8 on the cümbüş, which is somewhat like a banjo version of the oud, while I was researching a particular style of urban folk music from Macedonia called calgija. Tuning l to h: FGDgcd.

Jeni Jol Press Kit

Please follow this link for more info and booking details for Jeni Jol.

Overview

Jeni Jol ("New Path" in Macedonian) is the brainchild of Tev Stevig and explores the potential of playing the fretless nylon string guitar in the clawhammer style. Clawhammer, or frailing, is typically associated with old time American folk music played on the banjo, but Tev uses this uniquely American playing style on the fretless guitar to arrive at new arrangements of his favorite tunes from the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey, as well as some original material. There is a certain simplicity to the clawhammer style, that when combined with the intriguing dance rhythms of the Balkans, brings a dance-like rhythmic drive to the music. While clawhammer is quite common amongst banjo players, there is only a very small community of guitarists utilizing this style, most apply it to the performance of old time American folk or Celtic music.  By combining Balkan, Middle Eastern and American traditions in this way, Tev hopes to create a new folk music that is both listenable and danceable, while paying deep respect to all of his cultural and musical influences. The duo formation of Jeni Jol features Brian O'Neill on pitched percussion.

Jeni Jol: Music of the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey features eight of Tev's arrangements and four originals, all in the clawhammer style on solo fretless nylon string guitar, fretted steel string guitar, with one track on gourd banjo. Guitarist Steve Baughman says the music on this recording is "rendered in an astonishingly unique fashion, and executed without a hint of gimmickry." Teja Gerkin, contributing editor to Acoustic Guitar Magazine, calls Jeni Jol "one of the best albums of 2013."

Learn More about the new album below. The electronic press kit is here!