Moishe’s Bagel

Salt for Svanetia

(Eachday Music)

Moishe’s Bagel’s first venture into providing soundtracks for silent films proved a great success when Salt for Svanetia was shown, with the band playing live, at the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema in Bo’ness in March this year. The film gives a startling snapshot of life in a landlocked, remote and self-contained Soviet community in the 1930s yet the quintet’s music, together with notes on the scenes it accompanies, captures the visuals so vividly that it stands up as a dramatic, wonderfully atmospheric work in its own right. Violinist-mandolinist Greg Lawson’s theme tune conveys both the hard lives led and the unforgiving grandeur of the location with a soulfulness that permeates the album as a whole, and the rhythmical intricacies of bassist Mario Caribe’s The Towers of Svanetia and the contrasts between dancing, accordion-led work songs and the searing sorrowfulness of pieces such as pianist Phil Alexander’s Milk to the Soil combine to create an affecting portrait that resonates long after the music stops.

Rob Adams