Issue 23 09/2002
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Bäsk - Kennemark Simonson Källman "Släkt"
XOUCD136; 2002; Playing time: 52.24 min
Bäsk is a collaboration of three very renowned musicians from the experimental
Swedish folk music scene: Jonas Simonson is best known as flautist (plus piper
and clarinet player) of Swedish folk-jazz-etc. band Groupa; Sten Källman
is passionate about Swedish and Haiti folk music, and plays his sax and drums/percussion
also in the likes of Den Fule and Filarfolket; Hans Kennemark is a reputed fiddler
The result of such a collaboration simply has to be exciting. Here we have three
musicians with a deep knowledge of Swedish folk traditions, at the same time
willing to experiment beyond the traditional framework. All three are also talented
composers, and most of the tunes on "Släkt" are wirtten by one
of the three. All tunes are steeped in Swedish music traditions, arranged in
a fresh innovative and improvising way. Music reflecting the dark Swedish winter
nights, the lonely and wide landscapes, nevertheless music full of life; beautiful,
thoughtful, yet exciting music. A lovely CD for long winter nights...
Contact to label: email@example.com
Fabrizio Poggie "Turututela - Canzoni Populari"
fy8053; 2002; Playing time: 54.52 min
This CD is a dedication to music and song from the Italian region of Lombardy.
Fabrizio Poggie has in Italy (and also North America) a reputation as a sensitive
singer/songwriter and skilled multi-instrumentalist (melodeon, harmonica, mandolin,
mandola, hair comb, small percussion). On this album he focuces on traditional
popular folk songs from Northern Italy, presenting them in a lively, honest
and appealing way. He is accompanied by a band of skilled musicians, on instruments
such as whistles, flute, piffero, accordeon, guitars, drums, mandolin, bass
and a female voice.
The moods reflected in the album are of joy and happiness, thoughtfulness and
sadness. Fabrizios warm voice gives every song a comforting and relaxed feeling,
providing a highly pleasant listening experience.
Contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Väsen "Live at the Nordic Roots Festival"
XOUCD135; 2000/2002; Playing time: 55.51 min
Väsen is one of the internationally best known and most exciting representatives
of modern Swedish folk music. They have established a popularity also at the
other side of the big pond. And it was exactly there, in the States, in Minneapolis,
Minnesota, at the Nordic Roots Festival that this live album has been recorded.
It is an immaculate live recording, showcasing the full hype, power and energy
of a live performance of the four piece band. The music has lots of edges, drive
and plenty of innovation. Väsen features the talents of Mikael Marin (fiddle),
Olov Johansson (Nyckelharpa), Roger Tallroth (guitar) and André Ferrari
(percussion). This recording sees (or better hears) all four musicians in an
outstanding performance. The recording and sound quality is as good as on a
studio album, just that the energy of the music is much better showcased than
on Väsen's studio albums.
We are lucky that Xource has decided to publish this remarkable album now for
Europe, 2 years after the recording was taken. Although the sleeve notes are
extremely sparse, this album is highly recommended.
Contact to label: email@example.com
Skyedance & Guests "Live in Spain"
CUL119D; 2002; Playing time: 69.41min
Another live album recorded far away from the home of the artists. Skyedance
is one of the best Scottish fiddlers, Alasdair Fraser, with his excellent America-based
band. Alasdair has since 10 years a "love affair with Spain", and
the Spanish also have a love affair with Skyedance's music.
"Live in Spain" is a very special album, bringing Skyedance together
with a bunch of superb Spanish musicians. The list of musicians joining Skyedance
during this memorable concert reads like a little "Who is Who" in
Northern Spanish folk: Basque accordeonist Kepa Junkera, Galician singer extraordinaire
Mercedes Peón, the "txalaparta" duo Oreka TX, Asturian pipers
José Manuel Tejedor and Hevia, Basque accordeonist Joxan Goikoetxea and
Basque singer Mikel Laboa. Add to this the talents of the Skyedance band - with
Eric Riegler on Scottish and Uillean Pipes, Chris Norman on wooden flutes, Paul
Machlis on keyboard, Peter Maund on percussion, Mick Linden on Bass, and last
not least the terrific and sensitive fiddle of Alasdair Fraser himself, and
the result is simply impressive.
The CD features 13 sets of tunes, either written by Skyedance members or traditional
Scottish, added by two songs, one in Galician from Mercedes Peón, one
in Basque from Mikel Laboa, plus one poem by Alasdair Fraser. The recording
quality is comparably high, yet not as high as a stuido album; at times the
clapping of the audience disturbs slightly the music. Nevertheless, we can be
glad that, with this CD, we can share a unique concert where Scottish meets
Northern Spanish music.
Contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fairport Convention "Fairport unConventional"
Label: Free Reed Records & Music; FRQCD 35;
2002; Playing time: 4 x 78 min
On the occasion of their 35th birthday, Fairport Conventions comes with
a very special present for their fans. Ok, not really a present, because - let's
start with the bad news - this noble piece is not really cheap. But it provides
real value for money: The box includes (to begin with the less important things):
A Fairport "Sgt. Cropper" poster, a poster with the "Fairport family tree" (listing
all line-ups since 1967 together with a list of bands from the surrounding of
Fairport) and the "Cropredy Chronicles", a booklet about the history of the
legendary Fairport Festival.
The box comes with a very detailed and lovingly designed book (169 pages in
color), with quite a few information about the band. Beginning with their foundation
in 1967, at least one page per year lists all important events concerning Fairport.
The book contains a list of all ever released records and a biography of each
musician who joined the band - all you want to know about Fairport. Following
that, each song from the compilation box is explained: author, records featuring
the song, history and content. Occasionally there are web pages mentioned, where
you can find more information about the song. Finally, the book contains some
interviews and plenty of pictures from every era of Fairport. Very interesting
to see how the guys looked 35 year ago ;-).
And - of course - there is music. Over 5 hours, 72 songs on 4 CDs, sorted by
Altogeher a lot of material, that should enjoy every Fairport fan. Altough most
of the songtitles are well known, the box contains predominantly unreleased or
unavailable material: B-sides, alternative versions, live versions oder sessions.
And even though some recordings are not in excellent CD quality-not surprising
since they are recorded a long time before the digital age of music-they are nostalgic
documents from old Fairport-days. Thanks for the compilation and Happy Birthday
Free Reed Records & Music http://www.free-reed.co.uk, The Cedars,
Belper, Derbyshire DE56 1DD, United Kingdom, Tel. 01773 824157; Fax 01773 825573,
- Fairport - A History
- An outline of the development of the music of Fairport Convention since
1967, mainly one highlight from every era. Including parts from Fairports
first demo tape! The prelude to the compilation is - of course - "Meet on
- Rareport Convention
- A collection of rare and unreleased material, private recordings, sessions,...
. Among them cover versions e.g. from Bob Dylan songs or Leonard Cohens "Suzanne".
- A Fairport History
- Fairport songs, that are about english history, among them some well known
ballads like "Red and Gold" or "Fotheringay". You can really learn something
from the descriptions you find in the book. The CD is finished with a live
version of Julie Matthews marvellous song "Jewel in the crown".
- Classic Convention
- As the title already says, you find here all classic songs from Fairport.
All well known songs in unknown versions. One of the highlights of this CD
is a remix of the ballad "Matty Groves" as radio report from the site of crime
including quotes from eye-witnesses like "We heard everything, he was screaming
'Get up, get up'" - super! The last song builds the bridge to the first CD:
"Meet on the ledge"
Fairport Convention "XXXV"
Label: Woodworm Records; WRCD038; 2002; Playing
time: 65.02 min
Not only that the Fairporters searched their archives and released a boxed-set
for their 35th birthday, they also went to their woodworm studio an recorded
a new CD with the appropriate title "XXXV". It was a meeting of the actual line-up,
Simon Nicol (voc, git), Dave Pegg (voc, bass), Chris Leslie (voc, viol, mand,
banjo), Ric Sanders (viol, piano) and Gerry Conway (drums, perc), with their
guests annaA ryderR, Mark Tucker, Chris While, Julie Matthews and flute-master
The record is of well-known and beloved Fairport quality. A balanced mixture
of songs and instrumentals, some new, some newly recorded like the classic Fairport
song "Now be thankful" by Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick. Lively, happy
songs invite to dance and to whistle and alternate with reflective or sad ballads,
like "The Deserter"-one of my favourite songs from this disk. Altogether, not
really new music, but a really nice record, as we are used to hear from Fairport
Convention. Woodworm Records www.woodwormrecords.co.uk, P.O. Box
37, Banbury, Oxon UX16 8YN, UK; Fax 01869 337142
Touristes "Mother Africa"
Label: Felmay; FY 8043; ; Playing time: 53.20 min
The band Touristes, founded seven years ago by senegalesian and italian musicians,
has the intention to consolidate european and african music. Not really a new
idea, but a good idea. Mother Africa is a record containing african music with
european influences. Traditional percussion and chants together with electric
guitar, bass, drums and some keyboards. But they stay in the background and
do not disturb the characteristics of a song. A well-done mixture. Typical world-music
with african groove. A little disadvantage is, that the CD has no booklet, although
not only reviewers but also listeners might be interested in the band and the
songs and want to know more than just a list of songs and musicians. However,
the music is good and friends of this kind of music should try this CD.
Felmay http://www.felmay.it, Strada Roncaglia 16, 15040
San Germano (AL), Italy Tel. (0)39 0142 50577; Fax (0)39 0142 50780,
Battlefield Band "Time Tide"
Records; COMCD2090; 2002; Playing time: 46.44 min
Here we go again - another album of one of the longest going, best known, and
also best Scottish folk bands. The period of changes with the Batties has not
been over since the last album, "Happy
Daze": During the last year, the second short period of the Batties
with a female singer, Karine Polwart, ended, because Karine decided to dedicate
more time to her own band, the excellent Malinky. Once again the Batties had
to be on the look-out for a new member. This time they chose a new old member,
the singer/guitarist/cittern player Pat Kilbride. He joins the long time Batty
Alan Reid (vocals/keys/accordion), the medium long time member Mike Katz (pipes,
whistles, bass) and the still very new member Alasdair White (fiddles, whistles,
Although it had so many line-up changes during recent years, the Battlefield
Band recipe and sound has remained basically the same. "Time Tide"
presents once again a mixture of ballads and immaculately played and fresh sounding
tunes. The album showcases the talents of the Batties both as musicians and
as composers in the traditional style. The tunes include magnificent compositions
of Mike Katz and Alasdair White, and Alan Reid and Pat Kilbride have contributed
a self written song each. The songs represent a bit of a homecoming of the in
Glasgow founded Battlefield Band, to the shores of the Firth of Clyde; with
two songs, "The Bonnie Jeannie Deans" and "Rotheseay Bay"
(the latter giving me fond memories of the beautiful sunrises over Rothesay
Bay seen on the way to the tent at the Isle of Bute Folk Festival). Pat Kilbride
remembers in "Camden Town" his times in London. The remaining two
songs cover the most important Scottish subject: Whiskey.
The only criticism of this album is one I have had for many of Batties albums
- the keyboard is only nice as long as it is played as a piano, in certain places
it sounds rather awful to me. That criticism aside, this is another strong album
of the Battlefield Band; it might not offer much new things, but - as you would
expect from the Batties - it presents Scottish folk music at its very best.
Homepage of the artist: www.battlefieldband.co.uk,
contact to the label: email@example.com
Mary Jane Lamond "òrain Ghàidhlig
- Gaelic Songs of Cape Breton"
02 50889; 2000; Playing time: 45.12 min
Mary Jane Lamond is one of the outstanding Scottish Gaelic singers of these
times. She is known for her more experimental approach to Cape Breton songs,
yet always staying close to the tradition. Mary Jane comes from a part of the
world where Gaelic language has remained for a long time alive: Cape Breton
Island, on the East coast of Canada, an island which attracted hundreds of years
ago Scottish settlers.
This album sees Mary Jane going back to her roots, to Gaelic Cape Breton songs
and music in their pure form. It is a beautiful collection of tradtional songs,
presented in various acoustic ways, mainly based on the traditional singing
style, but with a bit of a modern twist to them. Many songs are sparsely and
skilfully accompanied, by piano, fiddle, bagpipes or guitar, others are a-capella
songs. Two tracks showcase the tradition of waulking songs, with several guest
Cape Breton singers singing the choruses as a choir, with the appropriate waulking
sounds giving the songs the traditional feel. To make the album complete, a
tune represents the instrumental traditions of Cape Breton, played by a duo
of fiddle and piano. To play all these numbers in, Mary Jane had the support
of some of the talented musicians from the island, including the likes of Wendy
MacIsaac, Marianne Jewell, Gordie Simpson and Paul K. MacNeil.
A beautiful album, and a wonderful showcase of Cape Breton Gaelic traditions.
Homepage of the artist: www.maryjanelamond.com,
contact to artist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cliar "gun tàmh"
Cliar, a Gaelic band from Scotland, combines some of the outstanding talents
from the Scottish music scene. With Maggie MacDonald, Mary Ann Kennedy and Arthur
Cormack, it is blessed with three sensitive Gaelic singers. The instrumental
side of the band features some of the younger talent of Scotland, with harpist
and piano player Ingrid Henderson, Blazin' Fiddles' Bruce MacGregor and guitarist
Cliar's repertoire is steeped in Gaelic traditional songs from Scottish Highland
traditions. The songs, tastefully accompanied, are rounded up by three sets
of tunes. The album has a beautiful range of enchanting slow numbers showcasing
the outstanding voices of the three singers, as well as more energetic songs
A very harmonious album, taking the listeners mind away into day dreams. Without
doubt one of the memorable Scottish releases of this year.
Homepage of the artist: www.cliar.com,
contact to label: email@example.com
Duncan Chisholm, Iain McFarlane & Bruce
MacGregor + guests "A Highland Fiddler"
Another release from the Skye based label Macmeanmna. This album is dedicated
to one of the most important Scottish fiddle teachers of the last century, Donald
Riddell, a man responsible for teaching many of today's well known talents.
Three of his pupils were Duncan Chisholm (Wolfstone, ex-Blazin Fiddles), Iain
MacFarlane (Blazin Fiddles) and Bruce MacGregor (Cliar and Blazin Fiddles).
Donald was as teacher extremely strict on the technique and bowing pattern of
Highland music, and his legacy is still visible in the styles of his pupils;
Bruce remembers: I remember vividly meeting up with Duncan for the first
time in years at a session somewhere. We hadn't played together for ten years
and the tune we were lashing into was not one taught by Donald. However, to
my amazement, I watched as our bowing arms worked in perfect unison. Military
precision has always had its uses!
Obviously, the tunes on this album, subtitled "The Lunes Collection
of Donald Riddell", are also played extremely precise, probably with all
three bowing arms in perfect unison. It is a mixture of tunes written by the
Master and traditional tunes taught by him. The three fiddlers invited for the
recording a bunch of Scotland's best musicians, including piper/whistles Rory
Campbell (Deaf Shepherd, Old Blind Dogs), who also beautifully sings a Gaelic
song on the album, Old Blind Dogs' guitarist and fiddler Johnnie Hardie (who
also produced the album) and Brian McAlpine on accordion, piano and keys.
I am sure that Donald Riddell would be proud of his pupils for this recording!
Contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniele Sepe "Senza Filtro"
This is one of the odd CD releases, featuring a broad range of styles and crossing
very diverse tastes and styles. "Senza Filtro", subtitled "a
sampler of de-composed traditional music from South Italy", acts as an
introduction to Italian saxophonist, composer and arranger Daniele Sepe. Daniele
Sepe has "reinvented" Neapolitan folk music, and creates, at the same
time, new music also from various other traditions from around the Mediterrean.
This album presents a talented and experimenting musician who seems to reinvent
himself and his style with every single number. Sometimes he stays with his
arrangements close to the tradition, sometimes he wanders into the worlds of
Jazz, World, Rock, Pop, Funk, even Classical Music. The saxophone enters at
times to provide atmospheric jazzy elements, voices are sampled, background
noice is added to songs. Plenty of musicians are appearing on this recording
- singers, traditional musicians, rock and jazz musicians. The album is especially
aimed at foreign markets, displaying the broad range of different faces of this
extraordinary musician. For Daniele Sepe fans it is also important to add that
6 of the 13 numbers on this album are unissued tracks.
Definitely not the kind of album I would hear from start to end. It has its
impressive highlights, but also tracks which are not my cup of tea at all. Yet
it is an album full of surprises and discoveries.
Contact to label: email@example.com
Lack of limits "Out of the ashes"
311295; 2002; Playing time: 58.38 min
The German band Lack of limits started in 1995 as a duo and got a quartet in
1997. They bring English and Irish inspirited folkrock. The musicians play several
traditional instruments such as violin and mandolin as well as saxophone, guitar
and several kinds of percussion. The band has been working hard to get out of
the shadow and they are succeeding more and more. This Out of the ashes is their
third cd and a very nice one. The group has a very solid sound and managed to
create a balanced mixture between the Celtic influence and rock music. In a
traditional like dear green place the group shows that they know how
to handle a traditional song while other songs like First bomb remind
me of the early Levellers music. The group plays with fun and inspiration. Although
the arrangements of the songs are still basic, and sometimes a bit too popular,
I think this cd has enough to offer and that the Lack of limits is getting a
serious competitor for other groups in this genre.
Band Homepage: www.lackoflimits.de
0297; 2002; Playing time: 64.45 min
It's not very easy to form a picture of Attwenger. The press info doesn't make
much clear, but I will try to do my best. Attwenger seems to be a duo from Austria
and brings music in an Austrian dialect. This cd Sun is a strange mixture of
beats, balkan music, voice and samples. I don't understand a word the singer
is singing, but somehow the atmosphere is so unique that I keep listening to
this record time after time. Is it beautiful music? No, it's not. Are their
lyrics poetic and important? I really don't know, they probably are. I think
it's the way they play with their voice and accordion or the continuing rhythms.
From some other reviews, out of German newspapers I understand that this cd
is quite a masterpiece. Well, I'm reviewing this for all the people who don't
understand this dialect and I really can't say more than it has a unique sound
and the cd is somehow impressive. But I think that for most people this cd is
just too difficult to understand. But than....why do I want to listen to it
Band Homepage: www.attwenger.at
Te Vaka "Nukukehe"
earth; 1003; 2002
Te Vaka brings music inspired by a trip to Samoa, Tokelau and Tuvalu, all Polynesian
islands. The music has the sound that reminds of a clear sea on a sunny day.
Easy going songs with smooth rhythms and relaxed harmony vocals. Friendly to
listen to but after a few songs it is hard to notice where one song starts and
the other ends. It's music to relax, to dream. Nice album which, I think, will
be liked by many people. But for me it's a bit to much of the same and Te Vaka
does not add enough to the known Polynesian sound to make this album really
Band Homepage: www.tevaka.com
Marwan Abado & Peter Rosmanith "Marakeb"
Label: Iris; 3001 853; 2001; Playing time:
The duo Marwan Abado and Peter Rosmanith live in Wien and decided to record
this cd after a visit to Beirut, Lebanon. Marwan Abado has been born in Lebanon
and he lives in Wien since 1985 where he works as musician. He sings and plays
the Oud on Marakeb. Peter Rosmanith was born in Austria and has been a guest-percussionist
on many cd's. also on this project he's doing the percussion. The cd has a very
classical Arabic sound especially because of the beautiful vocals and the sound
of the oud. The lyrics are poetic and, although they are newly written, have
the atmosphere of the old Arabic poems. It is Rosmanith's percussion that gives
this cd even more value. Not only is he able to use Arabic rhythms, he also
uses his imagination and, without going too far, he plays with the melody. Rosmanith
and Abado seem to reach a new level in music when they are playing together.
It's clear that these musicians understand each other and they have respect
for each others music. An impressive traditional and yet also modern Arabian
cd which I appreciate very much
Band Homepage: www.abado.net
Cirque de Soleil "Dralion"
0902663559 2; 1999; Playing time: 50.32 min
Cirque de soleil is an international famous circus-show which mixes circus with
fabulous theatre. This cd features music of their show Dralion and contains
eleven own compositions with many Italian and Eastern influences. I think that
this cd is very interesting for people who saw the show. For me, who did not
see the show, the music is a bit too theatrical. It sounds like the composer
put pieces together and they don't always fit. This is "imaginary" music and
misses a balanced basic sound. The Opera kind of singing and the use of soft
rhythms and electronics really is too much. Again I write that you should buy
this cd when you saw the show because you would probably love to experience
it again and again at home. But I think if you buy this cd pure for its musical
quality, it would be wise to listen in your cd shop if are able to take this
dramatically kind of music.
Caroline Herring "Twilight"
corin music; bcm0101; 2001; Playing time: 40.29 min
Caroline Herring is a new star in the American roots music scene. She has her
roots in the state Mississippi and this debut cd is deeply rooted in this area.
When you hear twilight it's hard to believe that this is Herring's first
cd. Her songs are impressive and of a beauty that is hard to find nowadays.
Although her songs have a specific sound, she manages to give an extra identity
to each ballad. Like in the song Emma where she sounds like a young Joni
Mitchell. Emma is one of the highlights of the cd, a beautiful ballad
for which Herring was inspired by her great-great grandmother. It has both poetic
as well as mystic lyrics. Other songs like learning to drive have more
roots influence and the lyrics seem to be in a more traditional style. Although
I've never been a big fan of American roots music, the last few years a few
artists have convinced me that I should have more attention for this music style.
I'm proud to write that Caroline Herring is on of these artists.
Band Homepage: www.bluecommusic.com
Naked Raven "Wrong girl"
Label: T3 Records; t3 0005-2; 2002; Playing
time: 58.13 min
The Australian band Naked raven is a refreshing band which surprised me with
their cd wrong girl. The group brings a mixture of folk and pop music
brought in a creative way. They work together with a string quartet on this
cd which has a lot of influence on the sound of the songs. I love the heavy
sound of violins and cello but besides that it's the combination of the string
instruments, light rhythms and down to earth female vocals that make this album
of a high level. Sometimes I have the idea that Naked raven got inspired by
Tori Amos her Little earthquakes album. Especially a song like Happening
has a "little earthquakes" sound. But on the other hand Naked raven has it's
own style, light and friendly music but with emotion. The lyrics are somehow
simple without being pointless. (My personal favourite lyric: "You're wrong
you're wrong you're wrong you're wrong you're wrong you're just so wrong".)
It's like they were written without any literature pretension but purely to
describe facts of life. I like that! It's easy to identify yourself with this
music and I wont be surprised if Naked raven will reach a big audience, the
cd wrong girl has the right quality to do so.
Band Homepage: www.nakedraven.com
Label: Iodstar; ls001006; 2001; Playing time:
Stonecirkel is a group from the USA that brings traditional songs from, in most
cases, the Celtic area. The groups mixes the traditional sounds with keyboard,
which makes their music a bit dreamy. The repertoire contains songs like She
moved through the fair but also the pre-Malicorne song Pierre de grenoble
(Which is not a Malicorne song as suggested in the booklet, but from the Gabriel
and Marie Yacoub album Pierre the grenoble which was recorded before
the first Malicorne album). The vocals on this album by Lauren Buffington-Jones
are pure and beautiful. The arrangements of the songs are nice but not renovating.
It might sound like a good, strong album. Well, it could have been if the producers
of this album didn't make one big mistake; they used an annoying kind of echo
which made the music sound like one big wall of sound. I think this is a pity
because the musicians have quality and I can hear that they know what they are
doing. I really don't understand why they choose to use this echo because Stonecircle
doesn't need such tricks to make their music more interesting
Band Homepage: www.stonecirkelmusic.com
Hans Andre Stamm "Celtic desires"
1020; 2002; Playing time: 70.13 min
Together with several other musicians Hans Andre Stamm recorded 17 Celtic songs
about love and passion. The songs are brought in a traditional way but with
some electronic sound effects. The vocals by Cordelia Rulander and Markus Brachtendor
(lecker sachen/mahones) are classical inspired. The atmosphere on this cd is
relaxing and moody. The music is of constant high quality and the violin by
Elise Schirmacher is beautiful. She knows how to give emotion to her play, it
can be heard that she has a Classical background. Interesting cd that can easily
compete with all the hundreds of Moody-Celtic cd's that are released each year
Band Homepage: www.jigit.de
More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 -
Page 3 - Page 4 - Page
5 - Page 6
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page
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