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Musicians

Tev Stevig is a Boston-based guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, specializing in a variety of plucked string instruments from the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey. Currently Tev performs with his solo/duo project called Jeni Jol, which incorporates elements of music from the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey in his original compositions and arrangements for clawhammer style fretless guitar. Jeni Jol's first album, entitled Jeni Jol: Music of the Balkans, Greece and Turkey, was released in the fall of 2013 and is the first in an exciting new series of releases featuring solo clawhammer style guitar. Tev also plays electric guitar and oud with the klezmer/Balkan/jazz/rock band Klezwoods. He plays tanbur with the Ottoman art music group Orkestra Marhaba and acoustic guitar and oud for the Balkan/new-grass group, Hickory Strings. He also regularly appears as guitarist and steel guitarist with Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica, the space-age pop big band performing the lost arrangements of Juan Garcia Esquivel, and as a member on resonator guitar, oud and tanbur with the Orchestrotica global jazz and exotica quintet. His musical travels have brought him to the main stage at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Wassermuzik Festival in Berlin, the Apollonia Festival of Arts in Bulgaria, as well as many other music venues in North America and Europe. He has performed with such seminal Balkan folk artists as Yuri Yunakov, Goran Alachki, Gieorgi Yanev, Adam Good, Beth Cohen, and Walt Mahovlich. He has also performed with Ramon de los Reyes Spanish Dance Theater, Julia Madeson and Aljashu (Sephardic music), Zamir Chorale, and the Turkish art music ensemble, Dunya. The New York Music Daily calls Stevig "one of the world’s most brilliantly individualistic guitarists," and The Boston Globe says he "initiates something genuinely new by connecting and combining seemingly disparate musical cultures." Jeni Jol: Music of the Balkans, Greece and Turkey was named one of the top releases of 2013 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Find out more about Tev's musical projects at www.tevstevig.com.
Brian O'Neill is a versatile multi-percussionist and composer based in New York City and Boston. A "percussion master and musical polymath" (Boston Phoenix), he has performed in a variety of contexts including opera and classical (South Florida Symphony, Boston Festival Orchestra, Arizona Opera Ring Cycle Orchestra, Flagstaff Symphony), as a concert soloist (Sun City Symphony), pop music (Kristin Chenoweth, Donna Summer, Archie Bell, the Del-Larks), and jazz (Bert Seager, Peter Erskine, Wallace Roney, Ernie Watts). Currently, he is the percussionist with Balkan-klezmer rockers The Klezwoods, Bert Seager's new quartet "The Why", the Boston-based sephardic trio Aljashu, and he also performs as pianist/occasional guitarist with the contemporary chamber quartet, CORDIS. He also is a regular guest artist with the hit Mexo-Americana band, David Wax Museum. Brian's musical adventures have brought him to the Montreal Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and beyond with a variety of ensembles. In addition to being a sideman, he also leads Boston's "2012 Best World Music Act" (Boston Phoenix), Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica, which is comprised of two unique ensembles: a vibraphone quartet performing global jazz and exotic chamber music, and the world's only big band performing Brian's transcriptions of the lost music of Juan Garcia Esquivel–the late 1950s Mexican arranger of space-age pop music. In 2010, his Exotica for Modern Living recording series launched with an homage to Esquivel that received "four stars" from the Sunday Times London and that CD, along with a subsequent CD by the quartet in 2011, each made the Huffington Post's Top 10 CDs for 2011. AllAboutJazz says, "O'Neill may be, in the long run, a better exoticist than [John] Zorn." Keep up with Brian in English, Spanish or Portuguese, and learn about his addiction to global tambourine techniques at crashandboom.com or on Twitter (@orchestrotica).

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!

 

Tev Stevig - Fretless/Fretted Guitar, Banjo

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Brian O'Neill - Percussion

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Jeni Jol Duo

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Photo by Kelly Davidson

Album Artwork by Helianthe Stevig, Design by Leslie Bordonaro

Album Artwork by Helianthe Stevig, Design by Leslie Bordonaro

Purchase Jeni Jol CD/mp3s

Tev Stevig: Jeni Jol: Music of the Balkans, Greece and Turkey
Photography by Kelly Davidson

Photography by Kelly Davidson

Photography by Kelly Davidson

Photography by Kelly Davidson

Photography by Kelly Davidson

Photography by Kelly Davidson