Issue 31 1/2006
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Altan - "Local Ground"
Records (VERTCD069); 2005
It's simple really. Just put together great tunes and fine musicians; stir
in a judicious mixture of traditional and recently-penned music - making sure
you include a couple of memorable songs - and you have an Altan album. It's
a formula that has kept the Donnegal group near the top of Irish traditional
folk for 20 years. After all that time you could forgive them if their 10th
album showed signs of staleness or repetition. Instead, absolutely to the contrary,
"Local Ground" exhibits a freshness and pared-back honesty that must
be the envy of those who have yet to master Altan's "simple" formula.
The beautifully simple Gaoth Dobhair song "Arise Now and Dress Yourself"
- which we heard Clannad do decades ago - opens the album sounding as crisp
and new as if it had just been minted. Other trad. songs, including "Adieu,
My Lovely Nancy", "Amhran Pheadair Bhreathnaigh" and "The
Wind and the Rain", are also delivered with straightforward grace and strength
by Mairead ni Mhaonaigh. The jigs, reels and other tunes are mostly "trad:
arr.", and beautifully played, with twin fiddles, accordion and fretted
instruments taking turns to feature. Alongside these older tunes stand a wonderful
pair of more recent efforts, one by band member Daithi Sproule ("The Roseville")
and the other by rising legend Peadar O Riada ("Sport"). Each stakes
a claim to be the album's most memorably jaunty tune. If pushed I'd have to
say that the beautifully crisp mandolin work of Ciaran Curran, which defies
the feet to remain still, inclines my vote towards "Sport".
As the album title implies, Altan have gone back to their roots for this effort,
with Donnegal music a strong feature. As a result "Local Ground" exudes
a powerful and fresh energy for their tradition, and re-launches the band into
a part of the stratosphere inhabited by precious few others on the folk scene.
Homepage of the artist: www.altan.ie
One Bar Town "Boy Scout Songs"
Label: TWAH! Records - LC 03549
The mix of roots rock, "twisted hillbilly", folk and rockabilly convinces the
listener that this is the latest band in a line of many in the Americana scene.
Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discover that One Bar Town's fivesome come
from Lübeck! With over a hundred live performances in the last five years, including
prestigious festivals such as the Orange Blossom Special and the Twangfest in
Nürnberg, One Bar Town have attracted a fine group of supporters for their unique
blend of roots, "cow punk" and country rockabilly. "Boy Scout Songs", One Bar
Town's third album, is an acoustic album which will perhaps see the band finally
breaking into independent radio station's charts. I particularly liked the track
"Johanna" (track 6), a tune written by Stefan Kletezka, the band's guitarist,
banjo mandolin and keyboard player. The other members of One Bar Town comprise:
frontman Kent Nielsen (vocals and percussion), Andreas Jessberger (acoustic guitars),
Skinny Kaspereit (bass) and Jerk Christiansen (drums). Shame that "Boy Scout Songs"
is only available at the moment by direct mail-order from the TWAH! Records website
(www.twah.com). Let's hope it gets enough support
for wider release in the future! Also check out One Bar Town's homepage: www.onebartown.de.
The Shanes "Pölka"
Label: SumoRex Records - 001
Since my earliest days of reviewing for Folkworld up to the present day, a good
eight (!) years or so now, the number of bands and albums that I've come across
(either by chance or by force!) that bear a resemblance to/ have been influenced
by/ are a tribute to The Pogues and Shand MacGowan has been absolutely astounding.
Which is not necessarily a bad thing, of course. Real musical inspiration is
not a thing to be scoffed at. However, very few of these bands actually manage
to make it to their firth album. Point made. With "Polka", the sextet from Trier,
Germany, The Shanes, have proven their musical capabilities and succeeded in
dishing out another saucy album, dripping with 17 new folk punk tunes to the
sheer elation of their die-hard fans.
The roots of these tracks on Pölka can be found, surprisingly, in Hungarian
folk music. A mixture of ska, punk, folk and (you guessed it!) polka, set to
varying speed, from meditational to dance hall mayhem, the album is definitely
a treat for fans of the band also hailed as "The Motorhead of Folk". This album
is definitely worth a listen, even if it's to count the number of times the
word "polka" appears in the song titles/lyrics, and to pick out that lonesome
trumpet strain in one of the tracks (I'm not telling which one!)
The Shanes have their own website at www.shanes.de,
which also contains more information on their previous albums.
The Paperboys "Dilapidated Beauty"
Label: True North Records - TND 315
Vancouver's best loved folk lads (and one lass!) The Paperboys' latest release
is a rather ambitious double CD set which sees the band moving away from their
early Celtic/bluegrass origins towards a more 70s Americana sound. Reminiscent
of early Van Morrison, the album features some really cracking tracks- check
out "It Takes So Long" and the wonderful "What Would I Miss"- with the tin whistle
and fiddle keeping the Celtic flame burning underneath it all. Bring in the
slide guitar, some rootsy acoustic jamming, singer Tom Landa's now slightly
gruffy, yet not so Great Big Sea-ey vocals, and you have an album that practically
places itself in the no. 1 spot on your CD rack.
The line-up should be familiar to all- not least to their fans- by now, but
here it is again just for you newbies out there: Tom Landa (vocals, guitars,
bouzouki, Steve Mitchell (bass), Geoff Kelly (yes, ex Spirit of the West) on
tambourine, flute, whistles, and percussion, and Shannon Saunders on fiddle
and accordion. Dilapidated Beauty also features additional Paperboy Geoff Hicks
on drums and percussion, as well as a horn quartet (Vince Mai on trumpet, Dennis
Esson on trombone, and Jim Pinchin and Bill Runge on saxophone).
More information can be found on their website, www.paperboys.com.
Die Schnitter "Orange"
Label: Costbar - CLCD-6318
Die Schnitter are a group well-established in the German alternative folkrock
scene by now, so much so that I am surprised to discover that their latest album,
"Orange", is only their fifth. Listening to the title track of the album, I
couldn't help but think that this was Germany's answer to the British (o.k.,
Scottish) indie group Coldplay's "Yellow". Here are the lyrics, if you don't
believe me: "Der superstar der ist orange/ Der singt und säuft und frisst orange/
Und lebt und lebt und lebt orange/ Der gibt und gibt und gibt orange/ Er gibt
die die welt/ so wie sie dir gefällt/ […] färbt uns ein agent orange". Hailing
from Hessen, the quartet (Ralf Kemper (vocals, guitars, bass), Kathrin Heiß
(violin, cello, vocals), Tino Rakut (drums and samplers) and Christian Hanke
(bass)) have done themselves proud on their latest release, combining reggae
rhythms ("Der Sturm") and jazzy grooves ("Chanson de la Merde") with their more
typical folkrock-punk style. In fact, one could say that "Orange" is one of
their "punkiest" albums to date, hence perhaps not one for the more sensitive
folkjunkies of you out there. Nevertheless, an album worth a listen. Check out
Die Schnitter's website, at www.dieschnitter.de.
Die Singvøgel "Hart am Rande"
Label: Echsenflug Aestheticks
Die Singvøgel are Karan (vocals, guitars, flutes and keyboards) and Duke Meyer
(vocals, guitars, e-bass, synthesizer, drum computer, organ and e-piano). Together,
these two "love birds" make gentle, melodic music, even if Duke keeps trying
to introduce a darker side to the tracks- music, to my mind, more in the vein
of the romantic than the sublime. Music that might be staged in one of the smaller
tents during your local folk festival, which is not to say that the quality
of the music isn't good. To the contrary, Die Singvøgel are probably your perfect
Sunday afternoon local pub band. Check out their website for more information
and biographies, as well as song lyrics, tourdates, and contact details: www.die-singvoegel.de.
Kim and Reggie Harris & Rabbi Jonathan Kligler
"Let My People Go! A Jewish & African American Celebration of Freedom"
Label: Appleseed Recordings - APR CD 1084
"Let My People Go!", subtitled "A Jewish and African American Celebration of
Freedom", is a solid album in more ways than one, and all for a good cause.
The album traces the legacy of African-American and Jewish relations in the
US, blending spiritual songs, traditional Jewish chants, and civil rights folk
songs (yup, the American equivalent of the Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello sort)
into a work of impassioned historical and political awareness. From Rabbi Jonathan
Kligler's absorbed chanting on the track "Avodim Hayinu (Slaves Were We") to
his recalling of a life-changing experience while assisting the Mississippi
Freedom Party during one of the most important struggles of the civil rights
movement on the track "Democratic National Convention 1964", the tracks pluck
all the right chords in your body, from the sacred to the profane.
Of course, the average listener on the lookout for traditional folk melodies
might be disappointed with this album. For the most part, the traditional pieces
are accompanied with straightforward acoustic guitar, and usually several voices.
For the Jewish or African-American listener however, this might be the best
album to be released in a long time. For more information on this recording,
and other folk/world music that the label distributes, check out the Appleseed
Recordings website: www.appleseedrec.com.
Smoky Finish "Tune the Speed"
Label: Own - SMOFI - 03
Smoky Finish's new album, "Tune the Speed" has probably been my most eagerly
awaited album of the year. After listening to their previous album ("Clear This
Planet… Immediately") and catching the Austrian quintet live at a folk festival
last year, I was an addict. And upon listening to this new CD, I need my next
hit, more than ever! The band has once again lived up to their motto, "We will
'Rock n' Reel' you!" The instrumental title track ("Tune the Speed") that opens
the album clearly defines the outstanding standard of musical virtuosity that
we are dealing with here. There are no changes in the line-up of the band from
their earlier release either, I am happy to say-Esch on guitars, bouzouki, mandolin,
vocals, percussion, Bernhart Ruso on flutes, whistle, percussion, Andy Neumeister
on guitars, bass, vocals, Paul Dangl on fiddle, backing vocals and Klara Schiffermüller
on fiddle, e-cello and vocals. "Tune the Speed" is a trademark Smoky Finish
album. There are the characteristic incorporations of tunes from popular music
culture in the middle of a track, there is the skilled and impassioned harmonizing
of fiddle and guitar, as well as the deft and skilful "tuning of speed" on a
track like "La Puta del Diablo", where a gentle, lilting melody gives burst
to a diabolic, foot-tapping set of reels. That track has to be one of my Smoky
Finish favourites of all time! But then again, I'm just a sucker for their instrumental
pieces! If there is one band to rival the likes of Solas, Lunasa, Teada, and
the other top bands at the forefront of the contemporary Celtic music scene,
it has to be Smoky Finish. Check out their website for more details, including
tour dates. www.smokyfinish.com.
Mick West "a poor man's labour"
Music; CLCDO42; 2004; Playing time: 49.29 min, Scotland
I have to confess - I am a fan of Mick West, since first I heard his singing...
So it was good to receive this album (now already a long time ago - sorry for
this Mick!). My first thought on parts of the selection of songs on this album
(e.g. Wild Rover, Ramblin Irishman) was: Why does he do this?. I think the answer
is: becaus he can do!
I think, Mick is one of the few singers who can still sing these without fear...
He always seems so content with the songs he is singing, he really is living
them. And I have to say - the songs are fitting to his style of singing. There
are several highlights on this CD - I like the combination of Ewan McVicar's
Shift an Spin with the jazzy Funny Valentine of Rogers/Hart; Good
friends and companions is great...
Mick's band is also again very strong: Stevie Lawrence plays Bazouki, guitar
and Hurdy Gurdy, Frank McLaughlin guitar and Scottish Smallpipes, and Fraser
Fifield - who has also produced this album - soprano saxophone, low whistle,
percussion, keyboard, piano and programming. A further dimension is added through
the additional vocals of the magic Karine Polwart.
It is good to see, that there are still some traditional singers around, who
really know what they are doing! Again: Well done Mick!
Homepage of the artist: www.mickwestband.com/,
contact to artist: firstname.lastname@example.org
kitty records; akr011; 2004
Castanets is formed around the composer and musician Raymond Raposa who just
released a more than remarkable debut CD. On the CD he gets help from members
of groups like Ashtmatic kitty, pinback and tristeza. His music is described
as Avant-country, I don't think this qualifies this CD enough. It is a combination
of pure avant country like the opening song 2 (your feet on the floor sounding
like the rain) and dark ballads like the fantastic 5th song No light to be found
and Three days, four nights. Every second on this debut sounds pure and honest.
The music has a deep underground feeling and reminds of the early Johny Dowd
cd's. Madness in combination with passionate music. It's like Castanets cant
choose between madness, sadness and happiness. Torn between these feelings Raymond
Raposa has created a small masterpiece. Into avant country or dark folk? This
cd is highly recommended to you.
Di fidl-kapelye "Live in Amsterdam"
Label: Private; 2004
Di fidl-kapelye is a group of five musicians from Amsterdam who are rooted in
jazz, classical and world music. They have one passion in common; the klezmer
music. Live in Amsterdam is their debut cd on which they play fifteen, mostly
traditional, instrumental pieces. The group excists of two violinists, a cimbalom,
cello, double bass and oud. I wrote in earlier klezmer reviews that each month
so many klezmer cd's are issued that it's hard for a group to really get noticed.
Di fidl-kapelye should be noticed, their debut cd is a remarkable one of high
quality. Five skilled musicians interpretative the klezmer music in a fresh
way. Indeed sometimes almost like classical music, quiet and peaceful, but on
the other hand full fire and passion. Especially the combined action of play
between the two violins is very well done. It gets an Hungarian atmosphere like
on the earlier works of Muzsikas. Important is the role of the cello, hardly
ever on the foreground but essential to the foundation of the music on which
the other instruments build their solo parts. This is such a cd that will be
in my cd player for months. Also because the group choose a more unknown repertoire
instead of the klezmer classics, but mostly just because of the high quality
of their music.
Homepage of the artist: www.fidlkapelye.com
Derrek Jordan "Touch the earth"
Label: Worldsoul; woo37; 2004
Derrik Jordan is a multi instrumentalist, singer and composer who with his latest
cd touch the earth wants to make his listeners aware of the beauty and
wonders of the natural world. He is politically active in a network which has
the goal to close down the Nuclear power stations and replace them for more
clean energy sources. His music is a nice mixture of singer-songwriter with
African and Caribbean influences. Also some Australian sounds, pop and soul
music are present on this cd. He works together with several special guest musicians
and together with them he brings sunny music with a ideological message. It's
soft folk-pop with exotic touches. Easy listening on a summer evening, without
getting to commercial. Jordan has a pleasant voice that I somehow connect more
to a blues or soul singer than to a folk singer-songwriter. Touch the earth
is a well done project which connects several cultures and styles of music and
mix it into a open minded and fresh style.
Homepage of the artist: www.derrikjordan.com
Van Verre "Dada un'dela"
Label: Private, 2004
A debut cd by the Dutch group Van Verre (from far away). The band excists out
of four musicians on violin, bass, whistles, sax and vocals. They have a guest
musician on Accordion. The band plays songs from the Irish, Scottish, Yiddish,
Dutch and French folk tradition. Songs like Fon der choope, a known Yiddish
tune, De wijn which is known from the Belgian band Lais and Ye jacobits
from Scotland. The band tries hard to create a inspired cd but unfortunately
it sounds like the cd comes at least two years to early. In the first four songs
already the band shows to have some nice musicians but the combined play of
the instruments is often bad in timing and even a little bit out of tune at
some points. It's a pity because the band shows to have some nice ideas. I like
Paint it in Yerushalaim very much. Great start of the Rollingstones intro
of paint it black being the intro to two well done Yiddish tunes. Van
Verre, they didn't make it easy on them self. Choosing songs like the famous
Le renard et la belette you must be highly skilled singers to get these
harmony vocals in good order, this is just a choice to high for this band at
this point. But than Brewer lad shows the best side of the band like
the Paint it Yerushalaim song. A straight on Scottish classic done really
well. This song got some tension and listen how the guitar sounds, why doesn't
it sound so clear at many other moments? With two years more experience and
a bit more reasonable choice of repertoire Van Verre could be a really interesting
band. They have the creativity and skills to create some really interesting
music, which shows some of the songs. Besides a bit more experience a better
sound and a more realistic choice of repertoire would be highly recommended.
Homepage of the artist: www.vanverre.com
Harald Haugaard & Anders Mogensen "Spirits"
Label: Go dansk;
Harald Haugaard is a known name in the Danish folk world. Besides the duo Haugaard
& Høirup he also played in Serras and Sorten Muld. On this latest cd he works
together with drummer Anders Mogense, who has a more than fifteen years of experience
in jazz music. The duo got helped by Krister Jonsson on electric and acoustic
guitar and Jonas Westergård on double bass. The cd contains thirteen tunes mostly
traditional and a few original ones. Spirits got me totally by surprise. The
result of this co-operation between two great musicians is a fantastic cd. Starting
kind of happy with Amagerdans and forkert vals/vals som er ganske ny the highlights
are the longer tracks like Schusterdans in which the musicians show they know
how to build up a tune and change a small traditional dance into a great piece
of music. It's jazz, folk and even a bit progressive now and then like in Valravnen.
The approach of the songs remind me of the Swedish jazz-folk groups of the seventies
while the atmosphere of the chosen traditionals is so Danish that this comparishing
only counts for the approach of the music. An adventures cd which shows the
best of Danish folk-jazz, a great combination which I listen to over and over
The greater good
records; 471009-2; 2004
Unfortunately the webpage was under construction during the time I worked on
this review. The greater good is a musical project around musician, composer
and producer Craig Ross who takes the vocals and guitars on this cd. Together
with ten musicians (among them is Patty Griffin) on organ, drums, bass and vocals
he turned this cd into a strong listening experience. Not folk at all, more
singer-songwriter with a good touch of rock and progressive music. This cd could
also have been recorded in the early seventies. The same atmosphere, same style
as many singer songwriters from that area. Only in a better sound quality and
a more modern approach. Ross has a great voice and although most songs only
excists out of vocals, guitar and percussion, the music sounds very rich and
full. In the long stream of singer-songwriters and singer-songwriters wannabe's
which I get for review every month. I always hope there will be a cd like this
one. A to me unknown name that makes it worth to be a writer for music magazines
Homepage of the artist: www.greatergood.us
Jablkon "Gods beasts"
A Christmas album using the title God's beasts, what to expect? This Tchech
group uses many guest musicians including a choir to show us twenty-five reasons
to avoid Christmas. It's hard for a non-native to understand this cd. It sounds
like short, small children songs nicely done but not more than that. Maybe I
would have liked this cd when it was in my own language but in a language I
don't understand at all It's not easy to catch the meaning of this Christmas
album. I think this is not a cd which is suitable for the international market.
Madlot "Ik hoorde dees dagen"
Madlot is one of the few Dutch groups that still play traditional Dutch music.
The name is also the name of a Dutch dance. Almost all tunes and songs on this
cd, except for one, are from the known Dutch book Oude en nieuwe Hollantse boerenlietjes
en contredansen which contain music from the 17th and 18th century. In this
group you will hear Peter Koene on vocals, Guitar and other instruments. He
is one of the pioneers in Dutch folkmusic and you can read an interview with
him in the archive of Folkworld. The group uses ancient instruments such as
Dutch bagpipes, cowhorn, wooden flutes etc. With this cd Madlot shows that they
are masters in playing the traditional Dutch music. They stay close to the source
and everything is pure acoustic. On the instruments all musicians know what
they are doing, especially Bert Lotz is one of Hollands best known Bagpipe player.
It are the instrumental parts and the strong arrangements that make this cd
so valuable. It can be heard that they are instrumentalists on the first place,
although the vocals are nice it is not the strongest quality of the group. Because
there are almost no groups left playing this music, Ik hoorde dees dagen is
a welcome release. The group sounds much more fresh and technically better than
on their earlier cd Rozen aan mijn hoed.
Homepage of the artist: www.madlot.n
hcd 7186; 2003
From Norway an unknown group of musicians with a cd that has been released already
two years ago. With two members from the known group Chateau neuf spelemannslag
there is some experiencen this band. The music of the group is based around
the Scandinavian bagpipe played by Elisabeth Vatn. Besides the bagpipe the group
plays clarinet, harmonium, guitars, drums, keyboards etc. Only two tunes are
based on a traditional piece all the other tunes are original. Influences from
the Nordic countries but also some other European influences can be heard. Or
what to think about some far east's influences in Chinese cooking one of the
highlights on this cd. Tigerlily mixes ancient instruments with modern electronics
in a subtle and professional way. The group does not use the electronics as
an excuse to call themselves modern and young, they really understand how to
mix old and new into a new style of music. Strange that I only hear this cd
two years after it's release while I have been in Norway twice in the past year.
This cd needs a big audience, it has the right quality for that!
The Italian Guitarist Ivan Granata is inspired by the traditional Apulian folkmusic
and Spanish music. On this nameless double cd he recorded 25 tunes, many of
the guitar only. Both the cd's have their own name. The first one is called
rivelazioni and immediately the first song amazes me. What a style and fantastic
guitarist this is. Fast fingerwork in a mixture of folk, classic and even some
rock influences. It sounds like modern music and tradition at the same time.
This first cd has a very open character and would be liked by many. His song
writing contains many surprising twists but always the tunes sound familiar,
without being a copy of other songs. The second cd is called Incautosperimentatore
and has a much more introvert and dark sound. It's like he is playing softer
and more to himself than to an audience. Some Arabic influences, Eastern-European
influences but most of all it sounds like the dark night has influenced him
in his composing. Often I get cd's from guitarist and 98% of these cd's get
boring after three tunes. Not this one, for two cd's Granata shows to be a great
musician and a strong composer as well.
Homepage of the artist: www.ivangranata.it
N. Lannon "Chemical friends"
records; 960; 2004
Nyles Lannon comes from the city of San-Fransisco and works with acoustic and
electronic music. After his cd Astronomy for children he now recorded with Thomas
Knak Chemical friends. What you get are Ambient pop songs with a high level
of acoustic music. Well done and sometimes almost like a bit spacey folksongs
from the sixties but often modern atmospherically music. The result is a cd
that is of high quality and crosses many borders of music. I would recommend
this work more to lovers of ambient music than to real folk lovers, it probably
has not enough "folk" to offer for them. I personally like his style a lot which
is clearly influenced by the more alternative non-traditional folksingers of
the sixties and early seventies. An intriguing record which has all the potential
to become a world-wide best-seller.
Kroke quartet "Live at home"
musik; 48; 2004
The Kroke quartet has a great reputation in music. Their mix of different styles
of music from the east and the west with jazz and even some classical music
by occasion is legendary. After many years touring through Europe they gave
tow concerts in their hometown Krakow in 2003. These concerts have been recorded
and the result has been issued by the orient label on this cd. What you get
is the known sound, compositions with a blend of quiet acoustic music and fast
and furious tunes.
Homepage of the artist: www.kroke.krakow.pl
Sondre Bratland "Syng meg heim"
kulturverksted; 289; 2005
Sondre Bratland is one of the biggest names of the Norwegian folkmusic. On his
latest cd Syng meg heim he recorded thirteen new songs which are a mixture of
Norwegian traditionals and country music. Although the first song sounds more
like a Celtic influenced song, soon typical country sounds take over. Especially
the lap-steel guitar and dobro play a big role in the songs. Even the hardingerfele,
a typical Norwegian violin, plays like it was build somewhere in the States.
Bratland has a beautiful, warm voice. He sings like a father next to the fireplace
for his loving children. His music feels like home, it's intimate and gives
a safe feeling. His music is very open-minded and he takes no risk at all, every
note is well placed and well thought over. A nice cd to dream away, to relax
after a hard day at work. No surprises, no experiments just strong easy to listen
to vocal music.
Label: Go Dansk;
One of the best cd's from Denmark from the past ten years for me personal was
Tumult's former cd Wallegnav. What a great mixture of rock and folk, pure energetic
and fresh. So when this new cd arrived to be reviewed I couldn't wait to hear
it. First I thought the record company made a mistake. Did they send me a new
mixed version of Wallegnav? No, the songs do sound different, but really nothing
has changed in the past four years. It's like the group stood still and tried
hard to make an exact same cd as their earlier success. So I'm very much in
doubt here what to write. Again Kværn is a nice, energetic Danish folkrock cd
with great vocals and solo parts on the violin. But on the other hand, the group
does not show any new ideas and it really sounds like they recorded both the
cd's in the same recording session. So I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed.
I had hoped that this group, which I like so much, would have developed their
sound more and come with a more creative second cd than this clone of their
debut. Don't get me wrong, a great sounding cd but I have heard it before.
Homepage of the artist: www.tumulten.dk
German band playing Speed-klezmer. A mixture of... yes, klezmer and solid beat
and rock. In 28.40 minutes the play fifteen tunes, must be close to a world
record. It must be party to see this band live in concert. On cd this kind of
music always is hard to get really into. But I must say that the band did a
good job. Somehow the drive of the music often got me and it's a pity that they
keep the songs so short. Listen to the great tune Safari, the flute drives me
nuts going on and on with the drums etc. But than suddenly after 2 minutes the
song stops. Why? I just started to get the feeling, for a band of this quality
it must be easy to arrange the songs in such a way that they take about six
minutes and at the end they got me really crazy. Now it's like the quantity
was more important than the quality of the songs. Don't get me wrong, I love
almost every minute of the cd but I dream about what this group can do when
they take more time to discover the possibilities of a tune. So...I challenge
Klezcore to record on their next cd the same quality of music but than in 5-6
tracks in which they really dive into a tune and make it at least a 6 minutes
trip into my brain. Hope they take the challenge because if they do it with
the same energy as on Hackenbeisser it has a great chance to become one of my
favourite cd's in this genre.
Weißwurscht is "Ned ärgern nur wundern"
Label: Point music; ww-cd-04; 2004
Oke, here we go; This band plays Gypsy-polka reggae from Bayern. Can you imagine
what kind of music that is? A band that makes a party on stage with straight
on crossover music. Played with full enthusiasm but more focussing on dancing
and having fun than on the quality of music. The most important lyric in the
first song is lalalalalalalalalalalalalala sung on a upbeat melody where all
the instruments go the same way, almost in the same speed. On this live cd it's
easy to hear how they build a party with their audience, but for me as a first
acquaintance to the band, the talking and the bit predictable music doesn't
work. So I think this is more meant as a souvenir after a great evening with
this band on stage, but for me this happy "hoempapa" music (like we call this
kind of music in Holland) only makes me curious to see them live, but it's not
a cd that I would put on to just enjoy a good piece of music.
Homepage of the artist: www.lustigeband.de
Elizabeth Cotten "Shake sugaree"
folkways; 40147 2004
As collector of traditional lp's I love the folkways records issued from the
fifties until the eighties. They are fantastic documents of music with booklet,
often field recordings. Many big names started on this label such as Shirley
Collins, Jean Ritchie, Lucinda Willliams etc. Elizabeth Cotten was born in 1895
and died in 1987. She wrote her most famous song freight train when she
was only eleven years old. She plays the banjo and guitar left-handed. This
cd contains 26 songs, a beautiful overview of her career. Many self penned pieces
but also some church songs. The cd starts beautifully with the title song on
which her twelve years old great granddaughter sings the lead vocals. Most of
the songs are instrumental pieces played on guitar or banjo only. When Cotten
takes the lead vocals like in Fare you well my darling I hear a strong
old lady singing straight from her heart. Such a great contrast to the more
innocent vocals by the earlier mentioned great grandchild, who by the way sings
on Jesus lifted me as well. You won't find music that is as pure as this very
often. A must!
Juan Carlos Caceres "Tango negro trio"
Caceres is an Argentinean composer, pianist and singer. His newest cd is a co-operation
with Marcelo Russillo on percussion, Carlos Buschini on bass and as special
guest Daniel Binelli on Bandoneon. The cd starts a bit boring with La retirada
but gets better with each song. I love his voice very much. It has a deep, emotional
sound and brings the tango back to live. Viva el candombe negro is a fantastic
example of passionate Argentinean music. Many songs have a clear link to the
jazz music which especially can be heard din his piano works. This are not my
favourite parts, but that is personal. It is of high quality and would probably
be liked by many lovers of the genre. An interesting cd, nice voice and I'm
especially impressed by these songs that sound like tango mostly. The jazz part
is well done but not my personal taste.
K.C McKanzie "Weird tunes from a wild mind
Label: Private 2004
23 years old McKanzie comes from Berlin and is inspired by the folk, bluegrass
and country music from the sixties and seventies. This debut contains moody,
sober folkmusic. Vocals, guitar, bass and banjo only. She does remind me a bit
of Sharon Kraus, although she has a very different voice. McKanzie is a big
talent, she knows how to bring a songs. Intimate, straight to the heart, really
well done. But, she is not there yet. In the first song sailor song she
manages well but in the second song My man grows wild her voice doesn't
always reach the right height. She need a bit more experienced voice to convince
me in this one. This happens more, it's so clear that she can be a great singer
but it's just a bit to early. It are small matters of timing, accents and not
knowing the limits of her voice at this moment. After this comment I have to
make absolutely sure that everybody who reads this understands that this is
a more than average debut cd. It contains some nice folksongs. Be aware that
in time McKanzie has all what it takes to be a fantastic folksinger. She just
needs some more experience and her music needs some finishing touches. But I
will be following her career for sure, it's only a matter of time.
Homepage of the artist: www.kc-mckanzie.de
Duo diagonal "Tango 040"
music; 68847; 2005
Tango, a music style loved by so many that world-wide many musicians play and
record their interpretations of this warm and passionate music. Duo diagonal
is one of them and with Tango 040 they do a really good job. It's a German duo
from Hamburg on violin and accordion. They play tunes by Piazzolla, Clausi,
Arolas and others and even play an own composition which, in my opinion, is
one of the nicest on the cd. This duo keeps the tango very small, very basic.
I find the violin sounding almost classical at moments, beautiful when the accordion
gives a heavy sound full of bass and the violin dances with an intense melody
on this deep sound. I think that duo diagonal plays the tango like it should
be. It's pure and intense music. Sometimes the music is played so over the top,
so orchestral, but this is how I like it. Small and back to basic. Very, very
Label: Private 2004
The German band Aufwind excists over twenty years, their repertoire excists
out of Yiddish and klezmer music. This live cd contains eighteen songs and give
a nice reflection of the bands music. Not as energetic like many people will
think of when they hear the word Klezmer. Aufwind focuses more on the technically
balance in their music, this makes their music a bit brave. The live cd does
not add something new to their earlier cd's, the style is the same only the
sound of the audience make a difference and I think that the studio recordings
have a bit better sound quality than this live cd. Decent and friendly music,
nothing more and nothing less. Their former cd Ineynem impressed me more, to
Homepage of the artist: www.aufwindmusik.de
More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page
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