Album Review of
Animal Republic

Written by Joe Ross
December 27, 2021 - 4:00pm EST
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Reaching as high as #2 on The Roots Music Report’s Top 50 World Album Chart, Besarabia’s Animal Republic is a refreshing collection of distinctive compositions that draw inspiration from the animal world.  Based in Valencia, Spain, Besarabia fuses Balkan and Mediterranean sounds with Valencian lyrics. Their thrilling world music has distinctive instrumentation, melodies, rhythms and lyrical subject matter that paint sonic landscapes of different cultures and traditions.

Formed in 2013, Besarabia includes three consummate musicians with diverse backgrounds, Heidi Erbrich, Eva Domingo and Jaume Pallardó.  Born in London, violinist Heidi Erbrich’s Polish, Czech, Swiss and English blood is just as diverse as her interests in classical, jazz, Latin, rock, Klezmer, flamenco and folk music.  As a young man, Jaume Pallardó studied clarinet and electric bass, but his later interests in traditional music led him to play such instruments as the tombak, bendir, riq, lute and saz. Percussionist Eva Domingo, an actress and musician who founded her own music/theatre group (Rodamons-Trencaclosques), has interests ranging from renaissance and medieval music to that from Egypt, Iran and the Balkan regions.

During the pandemic, many turned to nature for therapy and relief. The eleven originals on Animal Republic convey images of various animals, in unique habitats, all seemingly on some whimsical journey. Opening instrumentally with “The Real Royal Turkey,” the trio then proceeds to tell tales of a beautiful swallow delivering a love letter in its beak (“Oroneta”), a forgotten toy giraffe in a garage that is finally discovered by a little girl and given freedom (“Giraffe by the Sea”), a serpent that unites with the mother goddess to create all living beings in an endless cycle of life and death (“Dansa de la Serp”), or an elephant that longs to enter a china shop to see and hear her soul in a mirror (“Elefanta I”).  Other songs convey the loneliness of losing a pet (“Perdut”), playfulness of a cat (“El Gato Rubato”), and sorrow of losing a loved one (“Spider Tears”).

Besarabia’s Animal Republic  takes us on an adventurous musical safari full of enchanting folk tales and fables with moral lessons that leave us with hope and optimism for a safer, loving and more compassionate world. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)