Tcha Limberger


CD REVIEW – Les Violons de Bruxelles – The World Music Report

16.01.2013 – Les Violons de Bruxelles

‘Tcha Limberger is one of those rare virtuoso musicians who also happens to be a multi-instrumentalist, playing among others, the guitar and violin, with unbridled genius. He is also a fabulous composer and an ethnomusicologist who recently walked in the footsteps of Bela Bartok among the legendary folk musicians of Hungary, reviving and adding to the literature of Magyar Nota music and laments, czardas and szaporas from the Transylvanian region of Kalotazeg in Hungary ; and he is and did all of these things while being blind.

Mr. Limberger cut his proverbial musical teeth while still a young child in the legendary Waso ensemble of Belgium, which also featured the great rhythm guitarist, Vivi Limberger (his father) and the phenomenal Manouche guitarist Fapy Lafertin, considered the only legitimate heir to Django Reinhardt. More recently, Mr. Limberger has been associated in two mighty guitar duet recordings with another extraordinary guitarist from the Netherlands, Herman Schamp. On Les Violons de Bruxelles Mr. Limberger is heard in all his glory on violin, leading a quintet that plays mostly his own music and that of Mr. Reinhardt’s.
This is Manouche music at its finest, interpreted by some of the finest musicians from his native Belgium and throughout Mr. Limberger is at the top of his game. As a violinist just as he is on guitar Tcha Limberger is unconventional, being self-taught and somewhat of an experimentalist. Yet his superb grasp of technique and expression shows him to be the equal of some of the greatest conservatory violinists. In fact Mr. Limberger’s mastery of the instrument is so great that he might easily be said to rival the playing of Stephane Grappelli, who was for all intents and purposes the alter ego of Django Reinhardt. This is not only because Mr. Limberger is a virtuoso violinist of the highest order, but because he also wields his bow like a fabled paint brush, dipping it into a palette of a myriad colours both real and imaginary, core to the violin and blended with those associated with every instrument in the family. He can daub a melody with colour that varies in consistency and density so that he captures the deepest and innermost secrets of the soul. In his spirit lurks a celestial being that glides rather than walks on earth. Thus when he solos, Mr. Limberger can turn melodies on their heads as he plays them inside out and with dash and verve. His lines loop and strut in wide arcs and leap from plane to plane like winged things that take off from the delicate brushing of the hair of his bow on the strings of his burnished instrument.
On Les Violons de Bruxelles Mr. Limberger and Renaud Crols, the other fines violinist on this date create an astounding tapestry of music woven with the most extraordinary design and dyed in vivid colours. Both violinists combine with the altoist, Alexandre Tripodi and the guitarist Renaud Dardenne to make magic on the classic standard “I’m Confessin’”. Here Mr. Limberger is a true revelation on vocals too. Violins and guitar and contrabass continue to recreate a gorgeous musical topography as they traverse continents, with a beautiful Brazilian choro, “Amoroso”; while earlier on the record, the musicians navigate through a Latin version of Mr. Limberger’s own “Tcharangito” that turns the ensemble into an authentic charanga ensemble. Mr. Limberger has also brought the great Hungarian Kalotszegi musician and bassist to this date. Vilmos Csikos plays contrabass on “La Primera,” “Valse Moustache” and “Saraca Inimamea” playing con arco, as is traditional in folk music of the Kalotaszeg region of Transylvania. On all these charts, Mr. Csikos bows throughout adding great depth and gravitas to the colours of the violins and counterpoint to the staccato playing the guitar. These contrapuntal variations are also brilliantly displayed in the improvised cadenza of on “Swing 39” a spectacularly interwoven section bristling with freedom and invention.
With this and his most recent guitar duet with Herman Schamp, Tcha Limberger should be decidedly better-known today. However, it is one of those travesties of the art of music that while the appreciation of great music from world apart is more appreciated today the industry still controls how well it will be known through aspects as banal as music marketing and distribution.’


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