Edinburgh Festival 97: Music: Loyko

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The Independent Culture
Direct descendants of a 300-year-old gypsy tradition, this phenomenal Russian three-piece put on a truly wild and glorious display, armed only with two fiddles, a guitar and the dramatic, haunting power of their singing.

Theirs is music of extraordinary, tortured passion, at once thrillingly intense and gorgeously camp. Masterfully embroidered with long, lavish improvised stretches, many of the tunes are easily comparable with extended classical cadenzas, the fiddles' flamboyantly intricate flights through scales and dynamics beautifully counterpointed by fleet-fingered, sharply rhythmic guitar work. The instrumentation is fluidly intertwined with deep, dolorous vocal harmonies, swelling proudly in successive resplendent crescendos while, elsewhere, a playfully tripping all-pizzicato piece, or a mischievously comic "conversation" between the two fiddles add a touch of lighter contrast. Amid this blizzard of bravura technique, there's also a far more visceral instinct for rhythm and swing, the dance tunes strutting and whirling with blithely loose-limbed vigour. This is music that verges on theatre - virtuoso scarcely covers it.

Cafe Graffiti. To 29 Aug (0131-557 8330)