FolkWorld Issue 32 12/2006FolkWorld CD Reviews
Label: Own; Playing Time: 39.21 min
Originally planned only as a demo album, Auriko decided to produce this album also to be sold at concerts. While it can be easily heard that this album has been recorded at a low budget, the choice of music is pleasant.
Auriko's key asset is without doubt their singer, Mimma Santarserio, singing with her expressive strong voice songs that she mostly knows still from her childhood. The band around her features percussion, guitars, hackbrett, accordion, tamburins, and other instruments. Sometimes I find that some of the arrangements are attractive, at other times for example there is too much electric guitar and that not too well integrated into the music, or the singing sounds quite shrill (partly probably also due to the low budget production). Additionally to Italian music, the music wanders also a couple of times into other parts of Europe - with some Finnish polskas or a French waltz. They also show innovation, in particular with their version of the Kraftwerk classic song "Radioactivity", which Auriko have enriched with a Tammurita rhythm; the result is worth to have a listen to.
While the music and its arrangements are not always perfect, what clearly transpires is the passion and enjoyment that these musicians put into their music. It is not a CD that is recommendable to buy on its own, but it is an album that would make me interested to see the band in concert.
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James Ross "James Ross"
Label: Greentrax; No. CDTRAX284; 2006; Playing time: 53.20 min While often heard as an accompanying instrument, the piano as a solo instrument is a rare occasion on the Scottish traditional music scene. Thus I am even more delighted about this beautiful piano album of a young Scottish musician.
James Ross shows on this debut album tremendous skill on the piano twinned with knowledge of traditional music, impressively interpreting traditional music on the piano. .Take your time, sit back, relax and listen to this young talent; he will charm you, take you on day dreams, impress and take your breath away.
Produced by Brian McNeill, this is a superb debut album, and makes me wonder where the future will take this exceptional player. Well worth to seek out!
Contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Byrne "songs from home"
Label: Greentrax; No. CDTRAX275; 2006; Playing time: 38.33 min Best know through his work with Malinky (see review somewhere else in this issue), this CD is Steve Byrne's first solo album. Firmly focussed on songs from his home region of Angus, on Scotland's east cost, the album is a wonderful celebration of Scots songs. Most of the songs on this album stem from Angus poets from the early 20th century, beautifully put to music or sometimes also just sung a capella or only combined with bodhran. Adding to that mixture a couple of songs written by Steve himself, and a Sots translation of a Norwegian traditional song. Steve gently accompanies himself on guitars, bouzouki, cittern or bodhran, and there is a lot of warmth in his singing, giving any listener the feeling of comfortable familiarity to the songs.
Homepage of the artist: http://www.stevebyrne.co.uk, contact to label: email@example.com
I Viulàn "Live"
Label: RadiciMusic Records; No. RMR-114; 2005; Playing time: 47.30 min Three Italian man "born as story-tellers, and story-tellers they remain, even now when their voices run along a carpet of notes". Clearly a CD focussed on the songs and stories, collected in the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines. The songs are usually presented by the three singers in chorus, combining baritone, bass and tenor. The "carpet of notes" comes from guitar and mandolin/mandoloncello/acoustic bass. As pleasant listening as this CD may be, I can't help but feeling to lose out on the fact that I can't understand the stories being sung - even if English translations of the lyrics are provided in the booklet.
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Donnie Munro "Heart of America - across the great divide"
Label: Greentrax; No. CDTRAX291; 2006; Playing time: 54.41 min To win probably the best know Gaelic pop/rock singer, famous as former lead singer of Scottish institution Runrig, over to join Greentrax Recordings in their Anniversary Year is clearly a big achievement for this premier Scottish folk record company. So will it mean for Donny Munro, being now at a folk label, that he returns more back to the roots, to more traditionally based music? Overall the answer is unfortunately no. The main focus of this CD is on soft pop - cheesy, esoteric slow pop songs, accompanied by a pop band drums, bass, keyboards, guitars). Little and rarely are the guest players noticeable, even though they include the excellent Duncan Chisholm, Fraser Fifield and Blair Douglas. The theme of the album is in its title - focus is on emigration to America, and about half of the songs are self-penned.
Having said that, there are also some songs reminding of the better moments of Runrig, when the music turns more towards rock, the guest musicians come more to the front, and the language turns to Gaelic - personal highlights of the CD are the waulking song "Mo Chruinneag Bhòidheach", the rock-pop sing "Cha Till" and the traditional "Mhairead Òg" with some good sax input from Fraser Fifield. Clearly there are also lowlights - top of the list "Raglan Road" followed by the terribly cheesy "Love will never die". And I think the latter songs would convince me not to buy the album.
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Luca di Volo e Claudia Bombardella "Strumenti di Pace - Live"
Label: RadiciMusic Records; No. RMR-115; 2005; Playing time: 57.53 min This is an album full of different flavours, cultures, music styles, yet it all hangs reasonable well together and makes a fascinating listening journey. The theme of the album is "Music of peace", even though you might not notice the theme while listening.
The album is split into three. "Grungs Legend", the story of an Armenian migratoy bird, is played by an orchestra (sax, clarinette, tuba,violincella, violins, double bass, brass instruments), with some singing of Claudia Bombardella. Here the music is somewhere between classical, traditional village brass band, jazz and cabaret - sometimes more arty, sometimes chaotic; sometimes difficult to pick up, sometimes catchy - but always interesting.
Just when you think you got a feeling for the concept of the album, all changes in part 2, "The legend of eternal return". Here the focus is on a choir, and the music style changes to classical-clerical music, with some world music elements, and also with some good instrumentation.
The final 13 minutes of the CD, "Tzwei Teg far Peysekh", reflects on the deportation of the Jewish population from the Warsaw Ghetto. It starts of with several minutes of percussion, followed by a grande finale, with full instrumentation, some shrill singing, wild and capturing music.
Overall an album which is by far not an easy one to listen to - it is full of changes and takes the listener's full attention. With its excellent musicianship, the album is a fascinating and always interesting listening experience
Contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Angus Lyon & Ruaridh Campbell "18 months later "
Label: Mirrlees Records; No.MIR01CD; 2006; Playing time: 41.24 min 18 months later - and Angus Lyon and Ruaridh Campbell discover that you don't need to be together at the same place to record a duo CD - a laptop for each of them is quite enough. So this album was recorded over four months, with Angus' accordion (plus some guest musicians) being primarily recorded in Angus' bedroom and living room in Glasgow, while Ruaridh's fiddle and viola was recorded in Ruaridh's sitting room and Croft No.5's studio. So does that work?
I am afraid I find that the passion in the music and the musical interaction has suffered a lot from the separation of the duo partners - and how can you be passionately playing music to a laptop on your own? This is particularly apparent in many of the slow tunes, where the soul is just missing. Clearly this is where technology has its limitations.
Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad album - the tunes, for a large part composed by either of the two musicians, are excellent, and the musical ability is high. But given the exceptional high standard that the two set themselves with their last album (Simple Tricks), "18 months later" leave me rather disappointed.
I can't help but have to wonder if the two now also play duo concerts separately...
I wish next time the two take again the effort to meet up to record.
Homepage of the artist: www.anguslyon.co.uk
Various Artists "Ordinary Angel"
Label: Macmeanma; No. SKYECD38; 2005; Playing time: 54 min This impressive collection of mainly new (or previously unreleased) recordings brings together some of the best musicians of the Scottish music scene. The album celebrates the all too short life of Sheila McCabe, who sadly died at 41 of a rare form of liver cancer, leaving behind three young children and husband Steve. Steve decided, in the last months of Sheila, to put together a CD to raise funds for Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, which provided Sheila with more time than her illness would normally allow. All proceeds of this album will be donated to this organisation.
The music brings together some of the favourite musicians of Sheila, providing an excellent and varied collection of Scottish folk, covering Gaelic and Scots songs, some Ceilidh music, folk rock, a set of pipe tunes etc. Sheila's favourite artist, Michael Marra, is directly with three songs on the album. For me, the most memorable numbers on the album are a new Gaelic song by the wonderful trio Mackenzie written specifically for the album, a new tune by the Peatbog Fairies and a beatiful a capella song by Anne Martin. Other performers include Blair Douglas, Ingrid Henderson & Iain MacFarlane, Rod Paterson and Donnie Munro.
A wonderful tribute to Sheila; well worth to buy - both because it is a great collection, and its profits go to good causes.
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Stömp "I claim my five pounds"
Label: Osmosys CD; No. OSMO CD034; 2006 Stömp are one of those few top quality English Ceilidh bands whose music is so varied and entertaining that it is a delight not only for dancing, but also just for listening. "I claim my five pounds" is Stömp's second album, and again it is a Ceilidh band album which is far far away from being dull.
The key to Stömp's appeal is the pan-European choice of tunes. Even though the base of Stömp's music might be England, the tunes on this album travel to Sweden, Spain, Italy, France and the States. Add to this a couple of self-penned songs and a few own tunes, and you have a highly varied album.
The instruments gathered in Stömp are bass guitars, flute/concertina/bombarde/whistle, drums/percussion, guitars and violin/mandolin/guitars/hammer dulcimer/organ.
Homepage of the artist: www.stompceilidh.co.uk
Tendachënt "la Valle dei Saraceni"
Label: Folkclub Ethnosuoni; No. ES5349; 2005; Playing time: 49.33 min Another album from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy, one of the Italian regions who have received seen quite a lot of good quality folk music albums. Tendachent's best known member is multi instrumentalist Maurizio Martinotti of La Ciapa Rusa fame, and he has been responsible for many compositions and songs on this album. While instrumentally there are quite a few traditional and folky instruments, I find that at times the music is too heavy on drums, taking away the attention from the tunes, with the result of indistinctive folk rock tunes.
The music on the album, mainly focussed on songs, is enjoyable, but I don't think it is outstanding and can compare with some of the excellent albums which we have heard from Northern Italy in recent times.
Label: Private releaseAccording to the rough guide of World music, the Dutch band Törf has made the best Dutch roots cd ever. The cd they are talking about is their milestone cd Törf speelt Beukema. Recently the band has published their latest work called Olipodrigo and to my opinion this cd is the best the band ever made. Törf started in the seventies and their goal was to keep the Groninger music alive. Groningen is the upper north part of the Netherlands, next to Friesland and North-Germany. The band has two, more or less, new members and exists know out of seven musicians. Jos Kwakman has been a member of the band before and Marius Greiner is totally new and adds great violin sound to the music. The cd contains several instrumental pieces from all over Europe. It contains Beukema material that has not been recorded on the earlier mentioned cd, but also two fantastic bagpipe pieces from Galicia. Flip Rodenburg has a unique style and warm way of playing the pipes. Besides the tunes, it are the vocals of Henk Scholte that make Törf so unique. I think this cd contains some of his best vocal works. Drij keuningenlaid for example forces me to listen, what a beautiful song. Another one of my favourites is Starregesangh, a song from the seventieth century. I think that Törf has not only made their best cd until now, I think Olipodrigo is one of the best cds from the Dutch lowlands I have heard in many, many years. Don't hesitate, try to get one before it's to late!
Mariachi dos mundos "El nuevo sonido"
Label: Oriente; rien-cd 57The German group Mariachi dos mundos exists for ten years. They started in 1996 and brought together seven musicians from as much different areas and music backgrounds. Their goal is to play the Mexican Mariachi music in a new and appealing way. Now they have released their third cd with some nice Latin sounds. Sometimes a peaceful tune like Cuano vuelva a tu lado but also some nice dance songs and music. The group combines the typical brass sound with classical string arrangements and harmony vocals. The cd has a really relaxed sound and if you are acquainted with the earlier sounds of the band, you might find the musical arrangements a bit predictable. Nevertheless nothing wrong with this 'feel good' cd. It has the right spirit and the right quality to make sure you will have a great Latin evening with some of your best friends.
K.C. McKanzie "The widow tries to hide"
Label: blue bird cafe berlin records 06-0022In 2004 I reviewed the first cd by K.C. McKanzie and wrote at that time that this debut was a more than average cd and McKanzie has everything to be a fantastic folksinger. Besides that I promised to follow her career to hear what her later music would be like. Now recently she published her second cd called "The widow tries to hide" and I was more than curious how she would have developed. The cd contains fourteen original songs with a bit dark and cold lyrics. She sings in a melancholic way about themes as loneliness and people who somehow got lost in this world. Besides the lyrics I'm even more enthusiastic about the music. Together with Joe Budinsky and four guest musicians she managed to create a small, intimate world of music. McKanzie knows that less is better. Nice harmony vocals, a banjo for the bluegrass felling, deep cello and more. All the time the music stays small and is very effective. On "the widow tries to hide" McKanzie shows that after her debut cd, she has the quality to become a known name in music. This time the cd is even more balanced without being to perfect. Itís honest and pure and again I enjoy her style very, very much.
Zadik Zecharia "Kurdish melodies on zorna"
Label: Bo weavil 14The fresh Bo weavil label specialises in unique and pure music. If I look in their small catalogue they publish music way out of the mainstream styles. Their great reissues of Shirley Collins lpís, the Leaves from a tree cd which has been reviewed in this episode of Folkworld as well. Besides English folk, the label has interest in world music. Zadik Zecharia is a Zorna player, an Arabic double reed instrument. In 1980 he recorded sixteen tunes, Zorna and drum only. He published these tunes at a private cassette at that time and now the Bo weavil label has reissued them together with two remixes. There has been recorded thousands of cdís and lpís with Zorna music, some better some terrible. Somehow this is one of the better ones. It has a very strong sound and a really up beating rhythm. Of course you must like the sound of a double reed instrument, which I do. The remixes give a kind of weird psychedelic touch to the tunes. This Zorna cd is not for getting to know the instrument; this is for these people who like the instrument and want to hear it played full fire and with some great psycho touch at the end of the cd.
Meg Baird, Helena Espvall and Sharron Kraus "Leaves from off the tree"
Label: Bo weavil 16The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this cd; what a great line-up! Sharron Kraus I know since her debut cd which I liked a lot. Her way of singing reminded of a young Shirley Collins but with a complete own sound. Meg Baird and Helena Espvall are both from the US group Espers who are getting more and more famous for their stunning folk records. A combination of these three musicians must be something special! Leaves from off the tree contains nine traditional songs all arranged by the three musicians. The vocals play a central role but the sober sound of the cello, guitar and dulcimer makes the sound complete. Although Sharron Krauss has a different vocal sound than the other two singers, the match is great. Listen to the harmony vocals in Barbry Ellen and you know what I mean. Or listen to the fragile song Willie of Winsbury (which some of you might know from Anne Briggs) in which itís almost as if Kraus her voice could break any minute. Accompanied by the cello who actually sounds like a bourdon instrument here and soft guitar this song is really beautiful. Leaves from off the tree is a collection of nine great traditional songs, sung by three of the best known secrets of the so called "new folk wave". O yes, do visit the webpage of Bo weavil music anyway. They have some great reissues of Anne Briggs and Shirley Collins on vinyl and many other special releases.
Simon Mayor (with Hilary James) "Music from a small island"
Label: Acoustics; cdacs 055Simon Mayor is an English, self taught musician. He started to play the guitar when he was seven and got inspired by traditional music to learn to play the violin and mandolin. In the past he recorded five cdís with mandolin music. On this cd he plays with Hilary James a singer and bass player who also recorded several solo cds. This is their second cd together. A cd with twelve both traditional and original songs and tunes divided in three parts. There are three English songs with a beautiful version of Rose bud in may. I love the vocals of Hilary James very much, this song fits her perfectly. This song is followed by The hunt is up which is nice but somehow I got the feeling that something is missing. Itís a song that needs more power to my opinion. But the last of the three Linden lea is great again. Probably because this is a slow ballad and again Hilary James her voice fits to the music and lyrics. After the three English songs there is a Wharfedale suite, which contains three instrumental pieces by composed by Simon Mayor. Nice, acoustic music. well played and easy to listen to. After Wharfedale the journey continues to Scotland. Three traditional pieces and a tune composed by Skinner. A nice version of Parcel of rogues ones made famous by Steeleye span. Here starting with a solo on the harp followed by solo guitar and solo violin. Music from a small island is a nice acoustic folk cd. It has a peaceful atmosphere and a rally relaxing sound.
YGDRASSIL "Easy sunrise"
Label: Rounder rrecd 12In Europe there are three bands called Ygdrassil. This Easy sunrise is the latest work from a Dutch duo with this name. The band was founded in 1991 when both the female singers Linde Nijland and Annemarieke Coenders were only seventeen years old. They recorded their first cd in 1995 on which they sung covers from artists like Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. Now easy sunrise is their fifth cd and contains classical songs from the folk(rock) tradition and original songs. In 2003 Linde Nijland released a successful solo project on which she sung her favourite Sandy Denny songs. This project started the idea to record music closer to the English folk-rock tradition from the nineteen seventies. I think that the vocals got more balanced during the years. On this cd it all fits, perfect harmonies and nice solo vocals. Also the fact that the duo got help from several musicians helped a lot, it made the music less fragile and more adult. Of course I have to get used to a song like The garden of jane Delawney especially because I love the original version by the band Trees. Ygdrassil turns it into a sweet, gentle song while Trees turned it more into a sad song. The same counts for the pentangle song; Cruel sister. I really think that Ygdrassil made a big step forwards. Each song individually is of good quality, the only comment I could think of is that all the songs are more of the same. A bit more variation would do the music some good. Maybe a bit less brave would do the trick.
Jacopo Martini "I nuvoli"
Label: Dunya/ felmay; 8095As from a trip to France in the year 2000, Florentine guitarist Jacopo Martini felt in love with the Manouche music. He played sessions with several Gypsy guitarists and especially his contact with musicians as Matcho Wintersten and Angelo Debarre had a big impact on his music. But most of all it is the legendary Django Reinhardt that sounds through in his music. Together with a strong group of musicians, including Emanuele Parrini on violin, Martini recorded this latest cd called I nuvoli, jazz Manouche. A fine collection of self written tunes and an interpretation of Gilbert Becaud Etmaintinent and Reinhardt's Nuages. This I nuvoli is a high quality swinging jazz cd with intense and music. The crystal clear recording sound makes it sounds like the band is playing in the living room. Martini is a great musician who managed to write music in the style he admires so much. Itís very pleasant to listen to Gypsy jazz which will be enjoyed by many.
Various artists "Polskie tango"
Label: Oriente musik 55; (Old world of tangos vol. 3)Fantastic! I never realised that the tango was so popular in a country like Poland. I know that Finland has a really vivid tango culture and since the wedding of the Dutch prince with an Argentinean girl, Dutch people don't dance on wooden shoes anymore but take tango lessons. But Poland....This third episode of the series Old world tangos contains twenty two tangoís played and sung by Polish artists...In polish! All recordings are dated between 1929-1939 and have this great old sound and feeling. A lot or orchestral works, clear Eastern European influences. Great to hear how the Polish culture created an own tango style almost 100 years ago. Have to get used to the singing in Polish, otherwise this cd is real fun.
Artur Rosenbauer "Traumzeiten"
Label: Private releaseGerman songwriter Artur Rosenbauer has just released his latest cd Traumzeiten. A collection of thirteen original tunes written with many influences from worldwide traditional music. Rosenbauer is able to create music with a very own atmosphere. Itís open minded music, relaxing and easy to listen to. I like very much his Irish dream, based on Irish traditional music, very dreamy indeed. Díleoganger, in the style of Austrian traditional music, is not my style of music and I find the composition a bit to simple. Much nicer is the Zither blues, a good bluesy feeling. According to Rosenbauer blues isnít music but a feeling. He managed to create that feeling in this tune. Rosenbauer explores the globe in a nice gentle way. He ends his cd wit the classical tune Amazing grace on percussion and hurdy gurdy! Great music to have on the background while working or to close my eyes and relax a bit.
Pivari trio with Compagnia del Maggio Frassinoro "La terra che mi porta"
Label: Folkclub Ethnosuoni; 5348La terra che mi porta is a cooperation between the Pivari trio (A trio who play on Italian traditional double reed instruments, southern Italian bagpipe, nyckelharpa and hurdy gurdy) and the vocal group Compagnia del maggio di Frassinoro. The two groups play and sing traditional music from the Regio Emiliana and have chosen many songs with a religious root. It's a fantastic collection of emotional, deep and sometimes dark music. I like it very much that they choose a different kind of tunes and songs than many other groups from this region. Although the Pivari trio is a group with bourdon and double reed instruments, they manage to play these instruments in such a way that also people who are not used to the sound of these fantastic instruments will enjoy the music. In my opinion everybody who likes the North Italian traditional music as much as I do should try to get find this spiritual and very well played cd.
Inner strength "Meltemi"
Label: Private releaseThe Dutch folk-rock band Inner strength started at the end of the last century. The inspiration was a concert of the famous Dutch flute player Chris Hinze who gets inspired by music from all over the world. The idea behind the band was to mix music from the western part of the world with that of the other parts. World music meets folk and rock so to say. After a demo and a three song ep, the band has now released itís full cd called Meltemi. It are the vocals of Noortje van de Voort that take a central role in their music. Around her vocals the band has a traditional folk-rock setting with flutes, violin, drums and guitars completed with bouzouki, bagpipe and didgeridoo. The cd contains nine nice tracks and one remix. I think itís a promising debut cd. Van de Voort has a nice voice although I would like a bit more variation in her way of interpretation of the songs. On Meltemi, I personally find that the vocals are too much the same. The band plays really decent folk-rock music, suitable for a big audience. I like a bit more adventures approach. Especially because the original idea was to mix Music from around the world with music from our own part of the world, I think the music stays a bit too close to Western Europe to make this idea real. Adding a didgeridoo is not enough to compensate that. Absolutely a nice first cd from a group that has the potential to grow and become a major name in world of traditional, folk, world rock.
Label: Plane ; 88930Yara is a German group of seven musicians and, as far as I can find out, Stylescapes is their first full length cd. Signed up by the famous German Plane label which has a long tradition in folk and political music. Yara kicks ff with 17-er, a song that immediately confuses me. It is jazz! This has nothing to do with folk or traditional music of any kind. How short sighted I am! The second song is confuse me even more, a fantastic explosion of gypsy- progressive rock. Very refreshing and bloody exciting! Unbelievable that after this great piece of music another jazzy-midnight candlelight ballad comes out of the speakers. Well sung, moody and with a good feeling but so in opposite of the previous tune. Although opus II is jazzy as well, it has a more dark and haunting atmosphere which I really like. This atmosphere stays on the Slowly walking song and than suddenly turns into a funky rhythm and song. I actually think this Stylescape is a very creative cd , made with passion. I enjoy listening to the twists the music takes and I just love this gypsy-progressive Schweineblues tune, probably my favourite tune in 2006.
Label: Jaro; 4262-2The German quartet Aquabella surprised a few years ago with their very nice cd Nani Dschann. On that cd they showed to be a great vocal quartet who has a very own interpretation of traditional songs from all over the world. Their latest cd Kykellia is a collection of nineteen Christmas songs from all over the world. Again in many language the band takes us in a winter trip around the globe. Sometimes with a sacred spirit like in Kyrje, but they also dare to be more creative in their interpretations like in Breths. A fantastic song by Birago Diop, very well performed by the band. I have to say that it doesnít surprise me as much as their previous cd. Itís still very well sung but the Christmas feeling that all these songs have somehow is hard to dive into outside the season. So Iím going to try this cd again during my Christmas holiday, Iím sure I will appreciate it much more because Aquabella is still high quality music with beautiful harmony vocals.
Peter Oliva "Postcard from the promised land"
Label:Private labelEverybody who follows the reviews I'm writing will notice a few things. First that English is not my first language (I really paid attention during English class in school, but... somehow it's always difficult ) and second, Folkworld often send me the private singer-songwriter cds from the US to review. Unfortunately not always a pleasure and that is why I'm so happy with this cd by Peter Oliva, he shows exactly that a self made cd issued by the musician himself, can be of high quality. Oliva starts of with a raw voice in The ballad of monkey John. a song that catches me from the first moment. Good quality of sound, well balanced cooperation between the musicians and a song that makes sense. In the second song Little river boys he shows that his voice can handle more sensitive songs as well. The rawness is gone and a more peaceful Oliva sings here. Same for the intense Fiddle tunes, a beauty of a song. So, my only conclusion can be that Peter Oliva proofs with this Postcard from the promised land that doing it all yourself doesn't mean you have to cut back on quality. This cd has twelve strong songs with a good mixture of rock, singer-songwriter and US folk. The sound quality is good same for the musicians. Definitely a cd that will find it's way to the cd-player more often in the next few moths.
Madagascar "Forced march"
Label: westernvinyl; 036Well, a band with this name you might expect some African grooves. But their music is everything except African. Founded in 2002 by two brothers, this is their debut cd. They play a mixture of chamber music with some several ethnic influences. A central role has the "singing-saw" and the accordion, but instead of playing long and melodic music, it are more sound pieces that the two musicians create. It has a big touch of avant-garde with sometimes minimal changes in melody or rhythm. To be honest, I think the cd comes a bit to early. I love experimental, avant-garde music but this cd just misses something. The instruments donít always seem to play the same tune, which can be oke if the two tunes would fit, and it is out of tune at moments. Besides that, I find the way of playing a bit easy, the musicians seem to search for some special sound effects but hardly ever really convince me that they are master on their instruments. This Madagascar is full of good ideas and has a lot of potention, but I think the band needs more time to find their own unique way in music. It still sounds like a search, not as finished piece of music.
Revista do samba "Outras bossas"
Label: Traumton/indigo 5866-2The good thing about music is that after ten-twenty years you can always start a revival of a certain style and people will like it! After the big success of the Cuban Buena vista social club, Gotan project (revival of the Tango) now it's Brazilís turn! Revista do samba, it's all in the name. The group wants to bring the samba music to a new audience, update the music into the 21st century. The result are thirteen smooth songs with a very laidback feeling. The group didn't choose a modern approach like the Gotan project, they stayed very close to the original samba rhythms and melodies. Worldwide known themes like Alegria are mixed with more unknown material. A well done cd but I wonder if the approach is refreshing enough to really reach a big audience, it stays a bit to much on the middle of the road.
Daimohk "Chechen tunes"
Label: cpcd; 00001Daimohk plays Chechen traditional folk music, mostly dance tunes used for the famous Chechen dancing. This quartet exists out of two accordionists, a percussionist and a musician on traditional string instrument. The foundation of the music is fast, virtuose accordion music with a simple but effective rhythms on percussion. Although I'm amazed with the great speed the musicians can play, after five songs it feels a bit like chaos in my head. The accordions are also mixed in such a way that they sound very sharp and are a bit out of balance with the other instruments. A nice cd for accordionists to get to know the Chechen culture on this instrument.
Yinon Muallem "Klezmer for the sultan"
Label: Oriente musik; 53Muallem is a musician who was born in Israel although his family has their origin in Iraq. The first time he got interested in music, it was in African percussion which he started to study. Later the Middle-Eastern music got his attention, which is also a way to find back his family roots. He then started to learn more Middle-Eastern instruments such as the Darbuka, def, bendir and the oud. He performed with the Irish/Crete artist Ross Daly and with Yair Dalal from Israel. All these influences of styles, people and instruments made Muallem a unique artist. Not many musicians I know mix Turkish music with Klezmer music. And even less musicians I know do it in such a intriguing way. Klezmer for the sultan is a beautiful combination of mystic Arab sounds and virtuose Klezmer melodies. Although all composed by Muallem, the music has a great ancient atmosphere and a natural sound. It is almost like klezmer and Middle-East music always have sounded like this. With a big group of guest musicians he made this solo output to a very nice piece of art.
Roksana Vikaluk "Barwy (absolutely live)"
Label: Wydawnictwo 21 label; 21.015This is often the problem with reviewing artists from countries such as Poland. There is no information in English available, all in Polish and although I have been doing a few months study in Lublin about ten years ago, It's not enough to understand the Polish language. So the music has to speak for it self. Roksana Vikaluk, solo live on stage with only electronics, voice and keyboard all played by herself. The cd starts with a nice halve minute of vocals only. A crystal clear voice impresses me a lot. Than slowly the electronics bland in. Not really playing melodies but more creating sounds on which Roksana let her voice fly. It has a pure and peaceful atmosphere and reminds me of an ancient time. Sometimes she plays short , improvised sounding, melodies on the keyboard, never to much always to support the vocals only. Except for some instrumental parts which are a bit to mellow to my taste. It's ancient music meets new-age and a drop of avant-garde. I have to be in the mood to like this cd, it's slow music which is only nice if you completely surrender to the sounds.
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Overview: CD Review Contents
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