Oi Va Voi

UK tour December 2003

Album “Laughter Through Tears”

www.oivavoi.com / www.outcaste.com

“Musicians who sound like everything we?ve heard but nothing we know.” – Time Out

“Exotic and mercurial? a genuinely fresh and exciting sound.” – DJ

“Wild, bewildering, enthralling.” – The Independent

“A diaspora-wide delight.” – The Observer

“One of the most exciting bands in Britain today.” – The Daily Telegraph

“If only more bands would bravely combine wild Balkan brass with rap, or lay down a seductive Hungarian folk song with a subtle pop sensibility?” – The Evening Standard

Inrigued? Then read on…

Oi Va Voi will tour the UK in December. This six-piece will take the songs from their debut album “Laughter Through Tears” to five venues around the country. Details follow:


  • Tuesday 2nd – London Camden, Lock 17
  • Tues 9th – Birmingham Ceol Castle
  • Weds 10th – Liverpool Academy
  • Fri 12th – Bristol Fiddlers
  • Sun 14th – Cambridge Fez Club

Oi Va Voi released “Laughter Through Tears” this Autumn on Outcaste. Firmly installed as one of the UK’s finest ‘world’ acts (“One of the world music albums of the year.” The Times) and already acclaimed by print, radio and online media, “Laughter Through Tears” looks set to reveal the band to a mainstream audience. A new single will be released in Spring 2004.

Oi Va Voi are Nik Ammar (guitar), Josh Breslaw (drums), Leo Bryant (bass), Steve Levi (clarinet/vocals), Lemez Lovaz (trumpet/vocals) and Sophie Solomon (violin/accordion). Their début album ‘Laughter Through Tears’ is the sound of six young Londoners searching for an identity in 21st Century Europe. Steeped in the rhythms of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and beyond, ‘Laughter Through Tears’ is the soundtrack to 1001 Urban Nights. Poignant universal stories sit alongside the deepest of grooves, drawing as much on their cultural heritage as contemporary sounds. No other group is out there mixing things up as boldly and as brilliantly as Oi Va Voi.

Oi Va Voi (a Yiddish colloquialism for ‘Oh my God!’) burst into life back in 2000, the six members of the group drawing on disparate musical experiences including traditional klezmer performances, Djing out leftfield jazz, Latin and drum and bass, drumming in hip hop and rock bands and playing classical violin. Heat on the band grew as they won over crowds from Glastonbury to New York’s Knitting Factory, attracting comparisons as wide-ranging as The Pogues and Massive Attack. In 2002 the group received two nominations in the BBC Radio 3 World Music Awards: all this from an unsigned band that then had no official CD release to their name. It’s easy to fathom the appeal. Oi Va Voi have both an ear-friendly sound and an emotive singer-songwriter quality that’s built around a unique instrumental line-up of trumpet, clarinet, violin, guitar, bass and drums, all complemented by emotive, resonant lyrics.

Late 2002 Oi Va Voi signed to Outcaste, a label with a proven track record in nurturing British artists like Nitin Sawhney. Earlier this year the band went into the studio with producers Kevin Bacon and Jonathan Quarmby (David Bowie, Finley Quaye) and emerged with ‘Laughter Through Tears’, surely one of the débuts of the year, and certainly the first release to find room for jazzical rude boy Earl Zinger (on the “Balkan brass dancehall” of ‘Gypsy’), venerable Yiddish singer Majer Bogdansky and Uzbek pop sensation Sevara Nazarkhan as well as the emotive vocals of the “astonishing” (The Independent) Scottish singer KT Tunstall, none more so magnificent than on the blissful ‘Ladino Song’ – sung in Sephardic (the language of the Spanish-Jewish diaspora).

Oi Va Voi are forging a unique identity – their music speaks of the ‘here and now’ but knows of the ‘way back when’. Although underpinned by a sense of cultures deliciously melting into each other, ‘Laughter Through Tears’ is nevertheless a coherent set of timeless songs, elevating this record to more than just a great idea.


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