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Next, Ozzy Will Yell at Sharon in Latin

July 21, 2002|Erik Hamilton

Come All Ye: "Sabbatum" is a tribute album to the perennial metal band Black Sabbath, but there's a twist. The 12 songs are sung in Latin, with medieval arrangements.

The Court Jester: Mihkel Raud, 33, record producer and president of Beg the Bug Records in Estonia, is the brain behind the concept. He first heard Black Sabbath 15 years ago after his dad smuggled the English band's early-'70s records into Estonia, then part of the Soviet Union.

"I'll never forget when I first heard the band," he says. "The music was not like any of the pop or rock music I had heard before. I always wondered what they would sound like if the music was played with medieval instruments."

M&M: For whatever reason, Raud says, metal and medieval music are very popular in Estonia. "After years of flirting with the idea about putting Sabbath to medieval music, I finally did something about it about two years ago. I asked around the medieval scene to find out who might be the one to approach about my idea. The name Rondellus kept coming up."

The Minstrels: Rondellus, also from Estonia, is a five-piece ensemble that is well known in the Baltic states, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. Besides, "Sabbatum" ("Sabbath" in Latin), the band has three other albums out. However, don't expect any AC/DC songs. It's strictly medieval and renaissance music on those collections.

A Natural Transition: "They thought I was crazy," says Raud of his first meeting with the band. "But after listening to the songs, they began to see my vision. The chords, the keys, the transitions, even the Latin, all seemed to cross over very well. We all agreed Sabbath would have been at home in the 1300s."

Ozzy and Beyond? Raud says he has sent copies to all four original band members, but has yet to hear from Sabbath's most famous member, singer Ozzy Osbourne. "He's probably too busy with touring and his hit TV show," the producer speculates.

Where Art Thou? The album is available at www.sabbatum.com. Or, if you're in the area, at Estonia's finer record stores.

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