Issue 26 10/2003

FolkWorld CD ReviewsDog

Donna Long "Handprints"
Label: Long Lost Music 1198 11 tracks, Playing time: 45min
Chicago is well known for its Irish piano players, and Donna Long is one of the best. Whether she's tackling a big reel like The Pinch Of Snuff, or tickling a slow air like My Lagan Love, there's a brilliance in her playing which is rare indeed. Donna is no stranger to recordings and audiences worldwide, through her part in Cherish The Ladies and her duet albums with Martin Mulvihill. For her solo debut she's enlisted the fine mixing and photographic skills of husband Paul McKeown. This own-label CD can be tracked down by emailing or visiting Donna's website (
Most of the music on Handprints is traditional and arranged for solo piano, but there are a few exceptions. Donna is joined by her son Jesse Smith on fiddle for two tracks: the Circus Hornpipe set is a jaunty ramble through three lovely tunes with Yvonne Kane adding a second fiddle, and Jesse's authentic touch is crystal clear on the pair of Irish American reels Bean a'Tigh and Johnny's Wedding. James Kelly brings his exiled Dublin fiddle to bear on a set of grand jigs, closing with Peadar O Riada's sparkling Sport. Donna's own slow air Luna ends the album enchantingly, with beautiful counterpoint on Billy McComiskey's button box and bowed harmonies by Liz Knowles.
Donna's solo performance is first class, from the opening jig As Old As The Hills to the trio of reels ending with the dreamy Imelda Roland's. Her lightness of touch in the right hand, coupled with a solid bouncy bass, is Irish piano at its best. The guest musicians here are the icing on an exceedingly good cake.
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Alex Monaghan

Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul
Label: Koch Records KOCCD 8494 12 tracks Playing time: 48min
Bronx fiddler Eileen Ivers has collected a constellation of two dozen Irish, African, Latin and American musicians to produce an album of extraordinary breadth and beauty. Springing from her long-running live show, this recording interweaves the roots of several US immigrant traditions. There's African soul in Paddy In Zululand with bass player Bakithi Kumalo. There's Latin passion in Mundo Pequeño with percussion supremo Emedin Rivera. There's pure Americana in the bluegrass classic Darling Corey and the club pop number Dance All Night sung by Uncle Sam's own Tommy McDonnell. There's Irish everywhere, from the Tommy Makem crowd pleaser Go Lassie Go to Ron Kavana's Reconciliation.
While the vocals may be American, the instrumentals are clearly Celtic. Afro-Jig sets Ivers' fiddle over a High Life beat, and adds delightful uilleann piping by Jerry O'Sullivan. Craic With Jack is a pair of polkas straight from Munster: you won't hear better tone from a fiddle, or better whistling than Joanie Madden's here. Barney Mulligan's poetic evocation of a 1948 American Wake is followed by a stunning solo slow air, every bit as moving as Ivers' stupendous interpretations of Maudabawn Chapel and Staker Wallace on her Wild Bluealbum. BX Style is a bit of a contrast, mixing drums and samples, but it's still not that far from what Moving Hearts were doing way back.
In the footsteps of the Flannagans, the Hearts and De Dannan, Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul produce a sound that is both Irish and American, both ancient and modern. Some tracks will appeal more to the young at heart, some to the nostalgic immigrant, but anyone with a good helping of Irish in their jeans will appreciate this CD. As they say in America, it's all good today.
Alex Monaghan

Kila "Luna Park"
Label: Kila Records KRCD009, 11 tracks, 65 minutes
This is the big one. Celtic spirit, heart-felt lyrics and gut-wrenching tunes meet smooth modern production values. Kila have always been mavericks, rough diamonds with so many facets that their inner beauty was only glimpsed, under-valued by all but the enlightened. Now producer Mick Glossop, whose previous successes have included Frank Zappa and Van the Man, has cut and polished Kila's sound to reveal the fire and passion within.
The stirring Gaelic vocals are still there, as are the pipes and fiddles and all those wild elements of Irishness, but there's a new cutting edge to the music on Luna Park. The 9-minute opener Glanfaidh Mé ranges from a familiar Kila sound sharpened up, through Eastern European and Asian feels, to blockbuster sound track and back again. Hebden Bridge combines Latin and Moorish textures behind some scary whistle playing. The next two tracks expose Kila's New Age leanings: the lazy, misty Wandering Fish, followed by the trance dance beat and staccato lyrics of The Mama Song. Then there's a passage of pristine Irish inspiration, with the jig Bully's Acre and a pair of bewitching new reels called Grand Hotel and Mary Kelly's Hatchet.
And so it continues, with Kila's original outpourings set in a lush, vibrant, multi-tracked soundscape by Mick Glossop. There's a fairground full of guest musicians, too. In fact, the seven members of Kila only play one track without a little help from their friends. That's if you don't count The Hour Before Dawn, a farewell lament from Dee Armstrong on fiddle and piano. The whole CD is a feast of musical creativity and contrast, the best of new Irish music given a transatlantic make-over and spiced with the rich flavours of North Africa or southern Spain. Luna Park has to be one of the tastiest recordings of 2003, and shows Kila to be rare gems indeed. I'd love to see it on stage.
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Alex Monaghan

Donogh Hennessy "Lúnasa: The Music 1996-2001"

No publisher, no ISBN, just £12 from
Did you know that over half the tunes recorded by Lúnasa are reels? Only just over half, mind. That's the sort of fascinating little snippet of information which is instantly available from Donogh Hennessy's wee book. In a little over sixty pages, Lúnasa's guitarist has provided chords and melodies for all the music on the band's first three albums. Gone is the need to work it out for yourself, which is just as well because some of the versions I've seen circulating on the Internet have little in common with the reel McCoy.
By joining all these dots, Donogh has performed a great service for Lúnasa fans worldwide - and there are millions of us. It's hard to think of another band that can compete with Lúnasa's range of talent: Mike McGoldrick, John McSherry, Kevin Crawford, Cillian Vallely, Sean Smyth, and that's just the whistle players. If any single instrumental group from the turn of the millenium is going to have a lasting effect on Irish music, it'll be Lúnasa. Imagine what might have happened if the Bothy Band had published a book of all their music in the early eighties. This collection could have a similar effect.
So what's between the covers? Along with all the dots and chords for the seventy tunes on the three albums Lúnasa Live, Otherworld and The Merry Sisters of Fate, Donogh has included notes on the source of every tune, as well as lots of extra bits of information such as alternative names, different keys, a lecture or two on Irish history, and an advert for The Frames among other things. There are also several photos of the current Lúnasa line-up on stage and relaxing, and an individual portrait of each of them doing what they do best: in Donogh's case, tuning his guitar. The photo reproduction is good, and the full-colour cover is even better, but the tunes themselves are printed in a slightly blurred fashion which reminds me of books from the 17th century. This actually seems to be due to rendering digital images at an insufficiently high resolution. It's not a major problem, because it doesn't stop you seeing what's there, but it is an irritation and I hope it will be rectified in subsequent print runs.
The book is organised by album, and by track order, so you can start at page one with Lord Mayo and play right through all three CDs to The Malbay Shuffle on page fifty-two. Or you can hold the Mayo and start with Gavotte. The possibilities are endless. If you want to skip straight to a particular Lúnasa highlight, say Pierre Bensusan's slow reel The Last Pint or the Galician classic Aires de Pontevedra, then you can find it straight away by using the two indices provided: one index by tune type and name, and another by album and track names. The idea of two indices is a great one, and should catch on: for one thing, it let me see straight away that the music is about 55% reels, 25% jigs, 5% marches and 15% other stuff. In a final section, Donogh has provided a couple of pages for guitarists, discussing tunings and showing chord diagrams to match the chord names used in the rest of the book.
And that's really about it. Excellent value despite the blurring, and Donogh deserves hearty congratulations for his "concept, design, artwork and content". I'll be playing a lot of these tunes more faithfully now, and I'll be able to spin a yarn or two about their origins, all thanks to Donogh Hennessy.
Homepage of the artist:
Alex Monaghan

Kevin MacLeod & Alec Finn "Polbain To Oranmore"
Label: Greentrax CDTRAX 239
This is a beautiful recording. And I'm not just saying that. I wasn't particularly impressed by Kevin MacLeod's 1999 Springwell CD, but Polbain To Oranmore is a brilliant piece of work. Alec Finn is every bit as good here as on his enchanting Blue Shamrock album, and the combination of Irish soul with Scottish bite is pure alchemy.
Kevin and Alec play guitars, bouzoukis, citterns and mandolins, plus a few other things. No other musicians are involved as they romp through reels, jigs, hornpipes, marches and strathspeys, or pluck at heartstrings with slow airs and waltzes. Most of the fifteen tracks come from the Scottish tradition, but there are two great airs and a couple of dance tunes from Ireland. Slieve Na mBan is exquisite on guitars and mandolin, and Dinny O'Brien's Hornpipe combines cittern and bouzouki with slide guitars. The stately Miss Hamilton is a joy, full of baroque counterpoint. The reels The Green Mountain and John Keith Laing sit perfectly on bouzouki and mandolin. The classic Skinner tunes MacKenzie Hay and The Spey In Spate give lesser musicians official permission to slow down on the difficult bits. There are bravura performances of the great 4-part pipe marches The Bloody Fields Of Flanders and The Glendaruel Highlanders, as well as a couple of lovely jig sets and two superb waltzes by Freeland Barbour. In fact, there's very little here that could be improved.
Sparkling mandolin and sensuous slide guitar. Bouncing bouzouki and scintillating cittern. Great tunes from the two great Celtic traditions. Polbain To Oranmore is fifty minutes of near perfection.
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Alex Monaghan

Shooglenifty "The Arms Dealer's Daughter"
Label: Shoogle 03001 10 tracks, 57 minutes
Great name, super cover, excellent album. For their first own-label release, Shooglenifty have gone back to a more acoustic sound and it works perfectly. This CD has all the bounce and brilliance of Venus In Tweeds, plus all the poise and polish of Solar Shears. The Shoogles blend ancient and modern Scottish influences with Eastern sounds, and they do it with such flair. Founder members Iain MacLeod and Conrad Ivitsky have been replaced by Luke Plumb and Quee MacArthur, but the Shooglenifty sound is so well defined that this hasn't made a great difference.
All the material on this CD was composed by the band, but as with previous albums many of Shooglenifty's tunes will quickly make their way into Scottish and Irish sessions. Glenuig Hall is a catchy slip jig by Plumb, followed by one of fiddler Angus R Grant's fine jigs. The title track is a sinuous saraband paired with the punchy reel Aye Right, another Grant tune, underpinned by grungy basslines. Heading West is slightly more laid back, and The Reid St Sofa is a wonderfully spooky reel. The boys throw in an African Rumba and a couple of polkas for luck, then the oriental feel is back on A Fistful of Euro. A couple more quintessentially shoogled tracks bring us to the final Tune For Bartley, one of those bluegrassy slow airs for which Shooglenifty are justly famous. And that's it, a top quality performance from start to finish, available from if nowhere else.
Alex Monaghan

Emer Mayock "Playground"
Label: Own label - Is Mise 001 10 tracks, 46 minutes
This young Dublin flute and whistle diva has taken her time producing a second album, and Playground is very different from her 1996 debut Merry Bits Of Timber. Emer's touch is more assured after another five years of hard playing, and her excellent compositions make up the bulk of this CD. She's particularly strong on jigs: Kalyana is a beauty that seems instantly familiar, and August First measures up well to Donogh Hennessy's reel of the same name.
Emer's flute, whistles, pipes, fiddle and cello are supported by the strums and keyboards of Donal Siggins, who has a hand in most aspects of this album and also contributes a couple of fine compositions. This core partnership is supplemented by subtle percussion from Robert Harris and occasional bites from Mick Kinsella's tin sandwich, plus guests on two tracks.
Although this is definitely Irish music, there's an eclectic side to Playground. A gorgeous Breton set and a pair of Grey Larsen hornpipes break up the Mayock tunes. Rhythms come in fives and thirteens, as well as the usual fours and threes. There's more than a hint of Balkan music, but that's no surprise since Riverdance. Lucky Thirteen is a terrific tune, and the rhythm seems completely natural. Other highlights include a languid treatment of The Boys Of Ballisodare (one of only two traditional tunes here), a pair of up-tempo waltzes including the eerie Orlagh's Waltz, and the final slow air Home Time. Check out for more details.
Alex Monaghan

Saltfishforty "Goose Music"
Label: Cellar Records CRSFF0103 13 tracks, 40 minutes
Behind this unusual name lurks a duo from Orkney. Douglas Montgomery and Brian Cromarty have been playing together in various line-ups for decades, and it shows, but this is their first commercial recording. Subtitled "traditional and original music from Orkney", Goose Music is feisty fiddle and gutsy guitar with that swing so typical of Scotland's northern isles, and a strong blues flavour on the vocals. Most of the tunes and songs are their own compositions, and their style owes as much to American folk music as to Celtic.
From the off, Montgomery and Cromarty are completely in control. Every note is in place, every word is clear, every touch is totally professional. At the same time, they're clearly having enormous fun with this music and it's impossible not to be carried along by their energy and enthusiasm. The opening Karaoke Carol introduces Brian's raw earthy voice, perfect for his modern ballads and blues: he sings us seven of his songs here, powerful numbers all, in a style somewhere between Leadbelly and Dylan. On Red Diesel Reels Douglas serves up a trio of original tunes from syncopated country to straight-ahead reels, each one more toe-tapping. Brian's aching Song For Ali is followed by the first of two fabulous slow airs: both Tune For Ali and Watersound Shore are world class melodies beautifully played.
And so it continues, with a mix of trad and blues, sweet tunes and bitter songs. Saltfishforty rock it up a bit whenever they get an excuse, and what better excuse is there than Highland Park whisky? Brian is at his best on the Djangoesque Tabasco Twist, a humorous Hot Club romp, and Tongadale Stroganoff is a rock'n'rollercoaster with Douglas pulling out all the stops. Goose Music is a class act from start to finish, and a visit to is a must.
Alex Monaghan

Dervish "Spirit"
Label: Whirling Discs WHRL007 14 tracks, 71 minutes
Dervish are among the hottest, slickest, smoothest bands anywhere, and Spirit can only enhance their reputation. From the casual perfection which takes the first reel up to speed, to the last sigh of the final hidden track, this is pure class. As you'd expect. The only surprise is that it's even classier than their last album.
Highlights abound on this recording. Jig Songs is a masterpiece, three mouth-music ditties put together in a stunning arrangement. Tom Morrow's Siesta Reel grabs you by the ears and drags you along with glee. Liam Kelly's rendition of O'Raghailligh's Grave is right up there in the top ten flute slow airs. Whelans brings electric guitar, sitar and all sorts of mayhem into two jigs which had been quietly minding their own business, and the result is fabulous. The Dylan song Boots Of Spanish Leather will appeal to those who remember the original. The Lag's Song by Ewan MacColl is of the same vintage, and is sung here by Seamus O'Dowd.
Much of this CD reminds me of Altan's 1993 Island Angel release, high praise indeed. Some bits could only be Dervish, though: Cathy Jordan's earthy vocals and uncanny Scots accent on The Soldier Laddie, the synergy between Liam's flute and Shane Mitchell's accordion on the opening track and elsewhere, and the sheer energy of Swallow's Tail. Spirit has been four years in the making, but it was worth the wait. Almost all of it works as well live, as I saw recently in Cambridge. You shouldn't have any problem finding this one in the shops, so what are you waiting for?
Alex Monaghan

La Volee D'Castors "VDC"
Label: Own label VDC 199 13 tracks, 50 minutes
With a name which translates roughly as "Flying Beavers", this group provide supercharged Quebecois music with bags of talent and a good dollop of humour. It's fast, it's fun, it's full of great tunes and songs, and of course it's in French.
Behind the traditional accordeon and fiddle are a range of stringed instruments, acoustic and electric, and a good variety of percussion. All six band members sing, with three lead vocalists and those rich male harmonies which seem to be ten a penny in Quebec. Their material mixes traditional songs with a range of instrumentals, many written by the band. The trick of combining a stirring song with a toe-tapping tune, perfected by La Bottine Souriante, is used well here: Belle Rose is coupled with a version of Johnnie Cope, and the pairing of the pointed song Recently Married Girl with Fred Bourgeois' jig Le Décalage is highly effective. In fact, there are many similarities between VDC and La Bottine: great style, total professionalism, a really big full sound, and plenty of coupling in the lyrics.
VDC is a pleasure from start to finish, excellent music delivered with flair. These guys are certainly worth seeking out: would be a good place to start. They're great live, too.
Alex Monaghan

Warsaw Village Band "people's spring"
Label: Jaro; 4247; 2002; Playing time: 64.36 min
I felt in love with Polish music only last year when I heard Stara lipa and the first cd of the Warsaw village band. This cd was under their Polish name Kapela ze wsi Warszawa and excited me because of it's energy and positive atmosphere. Now their latest cd is on the bigger, international Jaro label and it should be! The six young musicians reached the top of international folkmusic in their six year of existence. On this new cd the groups shows a great development. Still the basic is Polish traditional tunes and songs but brought in a magical way, full of strong rhythms and ancient melodies. Sometimes sweet and friendly, often heavy and threatening but never dangerous. Check the vocals or the fantastic co-operation between fiddles and percussion. The cd contains more than one hour of intriguing music with two re-mixes as bonus. This cd proofs that traditional music is from all times. But can only survive when, besides preserving, new generation of musicians make the old tunes and songs their own. The interpretation this Polish band gives to tradition should be in everybody's cd collection.
Homepage of the band:
Eelco Schilder

Regina Lindinger "jahreszeiten"
Label: Popeya; 01202.; 2002; Playing time: 52.18 min
The German singer-songwriter Regina Lindinger released her latest cd about ten months ago on a new label called Popeya. Together with jazz musician Martin Seeliger, percussionist Roman Seehon, Alex Haas on strings and Xi Zhi Nie on the Chinese Sheng string instrument, she creates her own musical world full of high quality vocal art. I find this cd a bit more peaceful than her latest work aufbruch. as if she took more time to find the right balance and put more weight on singing instead of vocal-acrobatics. Although I liked Aufbruch, Jahreszeiten is definitely a step higher. On Jahreszeiten she also sings old work, the interpretation has grown to a higher level. It's a cd full of down to earth ballad's with a serious undertone. The smooth, jazzy arrangements makes Lindingers musical world complete. Very nice!
Eelco Schilder

Various artists "4 cd's: morning, noon, evening, night"
Label: Ozella; 92002 / 92003 / 92004 / 92005.; 2003
The musician Dagobert Bohm has spend a year on creating a serie of four cd's with instrumental music. Each of the cd's has a theme that should reflect the mood of the music. It's a wandering through a day in four steps. As most days we start with the morning, a refreshing atmosphere with guitar and piano as main ingredients. Bit of blues, bit dreamy but never irritating. After morning the noon, a bit more energetic. Suddenly some drums, but still dreamy and relaxing. The evening brings the most adventures music. a bit more variation but again....dreamy. The night should be dreamy at least my nights should and guess what? It is! The perfect music to peacefully fall asleep on. A nice set of four new-age cd's which has not much to do with folkmusic but more with mood-music. It brings rest and relaxes, nothing more and nothing less.
Eelco Schilder

Balkan Playboys "Balkaninis"
Label: Dunya/Felmay; 8064.; 2003; Playing time: 42.22 min
The Balkan playboys has been founded by the musician Nikolav Parov. He is known from the Hungarian group Zsaratnok and his co-operation with Davy Spillane. According to the promo sheet Parov had always and idea about what he wanted to do with folkmusic. These ideas he shows with this Balkan playboy band. They play several traditional melodies and a few self-written tunes. Unfortunately the cd goes down in middle of the road Balkan music which doesn't get exciting at any point. Sure the melodies are nice, but there is so much Balkan music and it's done so much nicer before. His former group Zsaratnok made music that forced me to listen, now it's not more than decent Balkan music that goes one ear in and the other ear out again. My personal opinion; a missed chance. But I'm sure there will be many who will disagree with me and enjoy this cd.
Eelco Schilder

Wimme "Barru"
Label: Westpark Music; 87095.; 2003; Playing time: 47.17 min
One of the most intriguing music style is, in my opinion, the Sami music. Their traditional way of singing, the joik, has such a deep history and big cultural meaning that it's impossible to not feel the intensity of the music. Nowadays many Joik singers are known all around the world. Mari Boine, Angelite, Ulla Pirttijarvi and last but definitely not least; Wimme. I think that Wimme is the most experimental musician from Samiland that I know. Already with his cd Cugu he turned my world upside down. Did I like the music? Only when I was in the right mood, it was so intense and complex that I needed full concentration to listen to Cugu. But when I take the time and have the concentration I get so satisfied by hearing his music. As I already found Cugu much better than his early work, this Barru is again a big step forwards. I get totally soaked up by the cd time after time. It took me two times listening and now I'm addicted. It's the first cd I put on when I come home from work. The sound is in prefect balance and the variation of smooth intense songs like Gorzi and Goalki and strong, hypnotising songs like Kalkutta is just perfect. The programming done by Jari Kokkonen fits perfectly to the vocals and the sober help of Matti wallenius on several instruments. Kokkonen adds only that rhythm and sound-scape that is absolutely necessary, he never goes over the top knowing that would kill the music. This is how modern-tradition sounds, this Barru belongs to the best cd's of 2003 without any doubt.
Eelco Schilder

Bio Bonsai "big band"
Label: Wellenform; 001; 2003
This is such a cd that when you see the sleeve you get the feeling; this can never be interesting but when you start to listen you have to admit the "sleeve" impression was totally wrong. I accepted happy big band party music but Bio bonsai is much more interesting than that. Bio bonsai is a project of the two Swiss musicians Dan Suter and Stefan Becker and big band is their second cd. Together with more than ten guest-musicians this duo knows to make big band a pleasure for the ear. Starting of with a real Lemoncurry Is that John Cleese I'm hearing?? Or do I write something really stupid now?? It's impressive how Bio bonsai plays with rhythms, styles, influences from all over the world but mostly it has a southern touch and the feeling of warm, happy evenings on an Island far from the big scary world. Nice Songs like Monte brevi strong vocals by Laura Valle go hand in hand with one of my personals favourites more weird stuff like Inspektor B that reminds of early sixties Hammond hits but than with a modern touch and much more enjoyable. If you like a bit experimental, tropical, rhythmical, big bandical music. When you just want to relax with a good cd which takes you away from this planet, get Bio bonsai's latest work: Big band.
Eelco Schilder

Herman van Veen "Unter einem hut"
Label: Universal; 064 990-2
Already from when I was a child I've been brought up with the music of Herman van Veen. His children musical Alfred J. Kwak I enjoyed many times and as I got a bit older I got to appreciate his more adult music more and more. He can make me laugh, cry and think about the things that happen in a persons live. The last 20 years S9since I was eleven I've seen al his shows and already now I'm looking forward to any new production by this Dutch Master. I heard his music change, popular music in the eighties to more traditional, classical influenced chansons. I was a bit afraid to hear this cd Unter einem Hut, das beste von Herman van Veen because I've hardly ever heard him sing in another language than Dutch. But I have to say that he knows to impress me in the German language as well. I prefer his version Kleiner grosser schatz far above the Dutch original which was made a top hit by Henk westbroek. I like his small arrangements, the influences he picks out of the East-European music, the Yiddish music and out of the classical music. The cd has a big political inspiration. He rewrote his famous song warum bin ich so frohlich into a critical Irak song and wiegen lied is a protest against any form of war. More and more I understand why van Veen is not only popular in Holland but also in Belgium, Germany, France and many other places where he sings his songs. It' his own style, own way of saying the things that matter. Being a fan since my early youth, I hope to enjoy his talents as musician, clown, fiddler, songwriter and so much more, for many, many more years. For the Dutch: get his vogelvlucht cd or the 4 cd box nu en dan, for the Germans, Get Unter einem hut and for the English, visit, I'm sure you find some English titles there
hompage of the musician:
Eelco Schilder

Massel-tov " Vos iz vikhtik"
Label: own; 2001; Playing time: 71.12 min
Massel-tov is a group of six musicians with very different backgrounds in religion, culture and nationality. They have one thing in common, they like klezmer music. They mix poetry with exciting dancing music. The group plays the traditional and sometimes very very known songs in a acoustic-traditional way with some nice new arrangements. Sometimes a bit jazzy sound especially because of the flute by Tatjana Mischenko. Nice lead vocals of Andrea Pancur and also the other musicians know what they are doing and clearly enjoy their music. I like what they do on Vikhtik, just percussion and vocals make this song small and intense. Massel-tov is one of the many groups that bring Yiddish music. They do this in a friendly and enjoyable way without being really remarkable, Voz iz vikhtik is a nice cd with some enjoyable moments of music.
homepage of the band:
Eelco Schilder

Klezmorim "Klezmeshugge"
Label: own; 2002; Playing time: 74.47 min
Started in 1999, klezmorim is a relatively new klezmer group. Central is the vocalist Nirit Sommerfeld who with a powerful voice knows how to entertain her audience. Together with five good musicians she produces a strong new sound of mostly traditional songs. The group dares to experiment with western and Eastern music, tradition and more modern music. What makes this cd different than many other Klezmer productions is the vivid modern-jazz approach which is full fire and really catchy. But also the change of styles, Caribbean influences, a sudden electric guitar make this cd a pleasure to listen to. Although i think the opening track is the weakest link, I really heard enough hava nagila hava in my life this is compensated by the fourteen songs and tunes that follow. A very nice and recommended klezmer cd that takes new paths and bring something extra to the beautiful art of klezmer music.
homepage of the band:
Eelco Schilder

Stille volk "maudat"
Label: holy records; wag 331.; 2003; Playing time: 45.00 min
The French band Stille volk mixes Celtic traditional music with medieval sounds. The new approach makes their music a, sometimes dark, experience. The band has only three members and contains instruments such as Hurdy gurdy, flutes, mandolin, dulcimer, bombarde and many many more ancient and more modern instruments. The cd starts nice with the heavy tune Maudat which is a mixture of a well-known French tune which has also been played by f.e the Belgian band ambrozijn and some new add melody lines and vocals. Actually this describes the whole cd. Often the tunes are very recognisable from bands like Malicorne or other more or less traditional French/Belgian/Dutch groups. Stille volk tries hard to present the tunes in a new way but I don't find their attempts balanced enough to be a success in all ten songs. In La mort des hommes for example in which you can hear an ancient Italian tune the instruments seem sometimes out of balance and even out of tune which normally is never a problem to me as long as it's "useful out of tune" but here it's just disturbing me. But on other moments I can enjoy this cd a lot like in Cassandre sylvestre. This tune is just fantastic, everything falls together into one strong song. The bombarde, percussion, dark vocals and Hurdy gurdy. Here the group shows it's quality. I will keep an eye on Stille volk in future. This cd has a lot of promises in it. But in my opinion the group needs to use more fantasy and should go further where they stop now. Or they should start being a folkgroup or and I hope they take the second choice go much further end go far over the edge what is normal and let the cd explode like in the named Cassandre sylvestre song. Now Maudat is a bit of both and brings me, the listener into an identity crisis.
Eelco Schilder

More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 5 - Page 6
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2
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