Despite their sound being based firmly in the Hot Club of France this trio are no tribute band. Each member brings their own skills and ideas to the party.
According to the Koshka website the trio comprises Oleg Ponomarev, Nigel
Clark and Lev Atlas but Lev Atlas was unavailable (probably playing with
Scottish Opera, another of his projects) and his place was taken by a Croation
guitarist whose name I was unable to catch (later found to be Drazen Derek).
Whatever; his support, solos and leads made him a worthy replacement and
his solo rendition of an arrangement of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'
was beautiful and encouraged a completely new attitude to what can be a rather
Oleg played with all the flair and excitement that I remember from when he played with Loyko, despite breaking a string just before the interval with all the concomitant problems that a new fiddle string can cause. He even copied the trick of unhitching the strings on his bow, passing the wood of the bow under the fiddle and the strings over the top enabling him to play all 4 violin strings at the same time whilst playing a Joe Venuti composition.
Nigel supported all the clever stuff nobly with a driving rhythmn that made the likes of Dave Kelbie (no slouch on gypsy rhythmn guitar as his performances with such as Angelo Debarre, Tcha Limberger and Szapora demonstrate) look pedestrian and his beautifully arranged and played solo showed the influences of Spanish classical guitar, as well as the likes of Guy van Duser, on his work.
The music was wide ranging from Benny Goodman's 'Sweet Sue, Just You' to Bach via Chick Corea. From a free-wheeling Brazilian bossa nova written by Antonio Carlos Jobim to a formal, traditional Scandinavian gypsy tune (No, I didn't know there were Scandinavian gypsies either) via Central European folk melodies. Nearly all the tunes were well known but they all had this band's stamp firmly imprinted on them.
Each number or medley was accompanied by an introduction, some factual, some apocryphal and some downright fairy tales. The sound was generally pretty good, if a little loud and the audience was greatly appreciative if a little reserved.
An excellent evening's entertainment.