La Zingara, the ninth album by CAO is a collection of songs and tunes connected to the Gypsy lifestyle, including French, Greek, Finnish, Colombian, Mexican, Cabo Verdean and American sources. Highlights include two stunning vocal performances by long time CAO collaborator Diane Jarvi and appearances by clarinetist Tony Balluff. Diane is at her sultry best on the classic Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and quietly rocks a cover of Cesaria Evora’s Nha Cancera Ka Tem Medida. Tony steps to the front to lead the band through a gorgeous rendition Sidney Bechet’s sentimental ballad Si Tu Vois Ma Mere, and then swings like a demon on the Gypsy jazz standard Rythmes Gitans.
Bandleader Dan Newton plays tasteful and inspired accordion throughout the album, and lends his voice to the Texas swing classic Nothing Much to Worry About. Mandolinist Eric Mohring brings an exotic sound by singing a Greek Rembetika piece, and shines on La Partida, a Gypsy classic from Venezuela. The tracks include Fourth Street Mess Around, a jug band tune featuring ensemble vocals and the New Orleans-style banjo of Robert Bell. Robert’s guitar work shines on the album’s title track, a haunting Gypsy waltz. Bassist Erik Lillestol and percussionist Joe Steinger are rock solid from start to finish, and really drive Cumbia Cantina and the Finnish folk anthem Sakkijarven Cumbia.
CAO is led by DAN NEWTON on accordion and vocals, with ERIC MOHRING on mandolin, violin and vocals, ERIK LILLESTOL on bass and vocals, ROBERT BELL on guitar and vocals and JOE STEINGER on percussion. CAO has been delighting audiences and dancers alike since 1995. They have appeared in New York at the Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing series, the International Akkordeon Festival in Vienna, Austria, the Minnesota State Fair, as well as festivals, theaters and dance halls across the United States.