It’s not just because Les Yeux Noirs are fronted by two violin-wielding brothers that the word ‘fraternity’ comes to mind. Eric and Olivier Slabiak have produced a band that, while scoring extremely highly on the musical front, also come with a peace-love-and-understanding vibe fitted as standard. Considered and complex yet wild and occasionally raucous, Les Yeux Noirs (The Black Eyes) certainly give notions of musical purity a good bruising.
Theirs is a sound that ignores the divisions of political maps, sneaks past border patrols and extends the hand of – it’s that word again – fraternity right across Central and Eastern Europe. Equal parts gypsy and klezmer (with plenty of jazzy flourishes to boot), the band draw on music from right across the region, from Hungary down to Armenia.
It’s an exhilarating, winding journey, most often conducted at a pedal-to-the-metal, breakneck speed. Fans of Taraf de Haidouks or Nigel Kennedy’s work with the Polish band Kroke are well-advised to get on board. Their new favourite band has just arrived.
For twelve years, LES YEUX NOIRS (« Black Eyes ») have been carving their own path down the road of Yiddish and Gypsy music, supported by a growing audience. Inspired by different influences, LES YEUX NOIRS invite us to share in moments of intense emotion and indescribable joy, as they weave their magic with extraordinary energy.
Both joyous and nostalgic, this nomadic music perfectly reflects the lives of a persecuted people in exile, caught up in a massive Diaspora, all with an unshakeable will to live.
In 2000, the band left behind traditional standards and enriched their line-up with drums, cymbalum, electric bass and guitar, incorporated their own compositions into the mix and reinterpreted a French song in the style of LES YEUX NOIRS. Balamouk, their fourth album, has made a name for itself as a reference in the genre, both in France and abroad.
In 2001, LES YEUX NOIRS debuted their career in the United States, starting from scratch. To date, they have performed more than a hundred concerts in their six tours in the States and they now regularly tour the US three months out of every year.
The Live album, released in 2002, portrays the evolution of the band’s universe.
LES YEUX NOIRS have widened their original base out of the comfortable networks of cultural centers and theaters, conquering new venues worldwide: reggae, jazz and classic festivals, Californian biker clubs, churches and smoky cellars… Meeting these different audiences, the band has fulfilled their dreams and revealed its multiple facets.
The brand new album tChorba (“soup”) is made up of these contrasting experiences. It gathers various ingredients that were recorded, co-produced and mixed by the colorful Stuart Bruce (Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Paco de Lucia, John McLaughlin, Al di Meola, Amadou & Maryam, Susheela Raman, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, etc.)
Self-produced by the band for the first time, this album includes some songs in French as well as rich and heady atmospheres that are just like these very eyes.