FolkWorld Issue 37 11/2008

FolkWorld CD Reviews

Maja S.K. Ratkje "River Mouth Echoes"
Label:
Tzadik; 8051; 2008
Phantom Orchard "Orra"
Label: Tzadik; 7718; 2008
Haino Keiji & Yoshida Tatsuya "Uhrfasudhasdd"
Label: Tzadik; 7265; 2008
John Zorn "Xaphan"
Label: Tzadik; 7364; 2008
Four albums on John Zornís Tzadik label, four albums of avant-garde and Electronic music. Four albums that actually are a bit out of place here in this folk magazine, but seen the fact that we got them for reviewing and I actually like this style of music a lot, a short impression. First the Norwegian composer/performer Maja S.K. Ratkje with her album River mouth echoes. Ratkje is a composer of Noise infernoís, orchestral works until acoustic solo pieces. She is a creator of sounds capes that are often impressive and almost not of this world. She starts the album with the noise part called Ýx. Itís like a big danger is heading towards us. Heavy electronical noises take me away to a dark and scary universe. Essential extensions has more of a melody and sound like music from the early age of the Avant-garde style. Wintergarden is a vocal experience, ice cold but somehow beautiful in itís pureness. Not an easy album, but Ratkje shows to be a talented composer/performer who knows how to create new worlds. The second album for review is by the duo Phantom orchard and is called Orra. A beautiful album with some mystical and intense music. I absolutely love the mixture of experimental sounds with instruments such as the harp, steel drum, jewsharp and the omnichord. It sometimes has a touch of the Far-East, might remind you of the later work by BjŲrk, but most of all this album contains beautiful melodies and compositions. Itís much more introvert than the album by Ratkje, who by the way is one of the guests on this album, and also a bit more accessible. Itís such an album that settles in my head and refuses to get out of there. Highly recommended! But not for die hard folkies. With Haino Keiji & Yoshida Tatsuya we go back to the more noisy kind of music. Uhrfasudhasdd starts gentle and peaceful but turns out to be an out bursting listening experience. I can't help being intrigued again. The compositions it selves have the structure of Minimal music, but the enactment is heavy with screaming vocals and almost industrial sounds. Heavy guitars, disturbed percussion and so on. But with such an intensity that itís impossible to ignore. Love it! The fourth and last one contains compositions by the master himself. John Zorn composed this xaphan book of angels volume 9 (secret chiefs 3 plays Masada book two) Another fabulous Avant garde album that actually uses patterns of music that reminds me of these early sixties movies and music. Itís probably the most accessible album of the four, with beautiful compositions that mixes styles from many decades in a soundtrack kind of way. Often I get the feeling Iím listening to a known hit from many moons ago, while on other moments Iím surprised by the actuality of the compositions and feel amazed about the structures Zorn uses. It has Oriental, Western, Arabic and many other influences. A great journey through time and styles and again a highly recommended album but as the other three a bit out of place in this magazine. (But I beg the Tzadik label to keep on sending their cdís as I love them and Iím probably the only one at Folkworld so Iím sure they will end up in my pile of review cdís.)
www.ratkje.com
Eelco Schilder


Svjata Vatra "Kalyna"
Label: Own label; 2008
Well, itís not a secret that I liked the first Svjata Vatra CD a lot. This Ukrainian-Estonian band that is founded by the Ukrainian musician Ruslan Trochynskyi, combines the best of both worlds and actually it doesnít stop there. On this new CD the band discover new areas and influences can be heard from many Nordic and Eastern-European countries. They easily blend traditional sounds with jazz, Celtic and even some light brass sounds fill the room. On this new album they sound really relaxed and have a happy kind of folk(rock) that is very easy going. Some beautiful bagpipe pieces like in Song of sunrise where they blend really beautifully with the trombone. The style of this song is so nice that I easily forgive the false note one of the bagpipers is playing. The same for Verhovyna a very nice Ukrain traditional in a bagpipe-brass setting. The sound of Svjata Vatra changed a bit. Their music became more accessible and although not as surprising as their debut album, Svjata Vatra is still a great folk band with often beautiful and sometimes just straight on easy-folk.
www.myspace.com/svjatavatra
Eelco Schilder


Fireworks Night "As Fools We Are"
Label:
Organ Grinder Records; 2007
As fools we are is the second full length album by this London based band. After some changes in personal, and together with that, in instruments, the band is now a sextet. The recordings on this album date from 2005 and 2006 so they are at least two years old. Fire works night plays original songs in the so called alternative folk style. The album starts beautifully with Favours for favours a song with a bit of sadness that reminds me of The walkabouts a bit. The same for When we fall through the ice with nice female backings, this song is absolutely great. Intriguing is rewards, rewards, rewards on which the band starts of acoustic but end with spacey electronics.† The empty orchestra is an airy instrumental interlude with a dancing violin on a background of soft organ sounds. This As fools we are is a great album with a nice blend of intimate songs, simple but effective musical arrangements and sounds created on many instruments changing from violin, piano, organ, guitar to Moog, saw and ukulele. It has this good touch of underground without being too complicated. This is such an album that works perfectly on a late dark night when you has this strange feeling that the rest of the world is sleeping and there is no sleep left for you.
www.myspace.com/fireworksnight
Eelco Schilder


Nenad Vasilic & Armend Xhaferi "Beyond Another Sky"
Label:
Extraplatte; 790-2; 2008
Nenad Vasilic is a musician and composer who was born in Serbia. On this album he plays together with Armend Xhaferi from Kosovo. They took the Serbian and Albanian folk songs from Kosovo as inspiration for their album, which has the subheading ďmusic for films that would never be madeĒ. The duoís interpretation of the music is very different than the sounds we normally hear from their region. Instead of traditional musicians, they are jazz musicians and on their guitar and bass they create a peaceful, well balanced type of jazz. The traditional elements can be found in some of the melodic lines and in these rare moments Vasilic plays the Serbian flute and guest musician Nedyalkov plays the kaval. Beyond another sky is a well played, well produced album with peaceful quality music which might feel more as a jazz album as a roots CD.
www.vasilic.com
Eelco Schilder


Johnny Coppin & Mike Silver "Breaking the Silence"
Label: Faymus; 0101; 2008
A very interesting duo, Johnny Coppin & Mike Silver. You might know Coppin as one of the founding members of Decameron, a successful band in the seventies. He released his first solo album in 1978 and formed a band with Phil Beer, Tony Bennett amongst others. Coppin formed a duo with Mike Silver in 2005 and this is their long awaited debut album. Two musicians with stacks of experience and a strong reputation in music, breaking the silence brings that all together. The first thing that I notice is the fine balance in singing, their voices fit perfectly and they impress me in both the solo and the harmony vocal parts. Both are guitarists and their finger picking blend as good as their singing. Highlight is Susanna martin, a transcription of Salem witch trials of 1692 on a traditional melody. The only thing that is not my thing is the piano sound, especially in the Hornsby song Dreamland. Which, to my personal opinion, is too easy and does not even come close to the beauty many of the other songs have. Thankfully they end the album in style with a good interpretation of Karine Polwartís song The sunís coming over the hill. This breaking the silence is a fantastic album especially in those songs where the duo is backed by the guitar only. And if you skip dreamland itís one of the nicest albums of the year.
www.johnnycoppin.co.uk, www.mikesilver.co.uk
Eelco Schilder


Serboplov "Serboplov"
Label:
B92; CD210; 2004
Four years after the release date of this album, the Serbian band Serboplov sends in their debut album for review. This quintet focuses on Kolo music, a kind of circle dance from Serbia. The music is very different than you might expect from a Serbian folk group. That is because they didnít take the hundred years old music as an inspiration but the music that was famous at the end of the 19th century and at the start of the 20th century. The result is a beautiful album with intense and pure music. It has the atmosphere of a early 20th century dance salon. Itís not difficult to picture the pretty dressed people dancing a Kolo on this almost romantic type of music. Serboplov has five top musicians and it doesnít matter if itís a more uplifting dance or a calm and slow tune, itís brought very professionally and sounds absolutely perfect. Often the traditional music from Serbia is brought full speed and very energetic. I like this more relaxed and calm interpretation, it gives more room to the original melodies and gives me the chance to take the time to really feel the atmosphere a traditional melody has. Often sounding like a kind of chamber orchestra, without loosing the heart of the Serbian music, to my opinion Serboplov did a very, very good job.
www.b92.net/music
Eelco Schilder


Ahimsa "Seven Steps to Liberty"
Label:
ELM; 31980012; 2008
Ahimsa celebrates itís first decade as a band next year, so it all started in 1999. Indian violinist Neyveli S. Radhakrishna was touring in Germany where he met jazz-pop guitarist Matthias Muller. The rest is history, they formed this band together and Seven steps to liberty is their second CD. Here they play together with Armin Metz on bass guitar, R. Yogaraja on tabla and A.S. Shankar on Ghatam. The idea behind the band was to blend Indian and jazz music with a lot of room for improvisation. The result is a fabulous mix of styles with both great violin and guitar music. Listen to the, over thirteen minutes long, opening track Ahimsa part 1 what a virtuosity, both in the solo parts and in these parts where the violin and guitar mix. The same in Dune which has a more calm nature, but with good and interesting structures in melody and rhythm. All this with great percussion and additional bass guitar, it makes this Seven steps to liberty an international top album. I think Ahimsa found a good mixture between Indian and Western music, between guitar and violin and between jazz and tradition.
www.ahimsamusic.com
Eelco Schilder


Terrafolk "Full Circle"
Label: Menart; 38102383492; 2008
Terrafolk is probably one of the best known folk bands from Slovenia. Their previous CDís got good critics and their (theatrical) concerts are enjoyed by many. A tour through the UK resulted in winning the BBC world music award. Now, almost ten years after the band was formed, their most prestigious project is released, called Full circle. After years of mostly traditional music, now, although the band starts with a piece by Bach, the band presents their own compositions. On this new CD terrafolk sounds more mature than before. The group has developed into a European top act, recording marvellous music with roots into several ethnic backgrounds, classical music and a real theatrical treat. The CD booklet shows fantastic pictures of their concerts and it must have been a real adventure to be part of that. The good thing is that even without the special visual effects the music is still strong enough to be enjoyed on CD. They take you from a Classical Aria from Goldenberg variations, to Gypsy in Gypsy no 1, midnight jazz in Still resist the storm which features Una Palliser on lead vocals. They even leave the more acoustical approach for some electronics in†moon is in the place again with success, absolutely one of the most powerful songs on the album. Although You are my sunshine is going even a bit further with some heavy folk metal, including some grunch vocals. But after these hurricanes the band steps back and with L na S they find their rest and peace again. Full Circle is a strong album with a good variation in music.
www.terrafolk.org
Eelco Schilder


Micah P. Hinson & the Red Empire Orchestra "Micah P. Hinson & the Red Empire Orchestra"
Label:
Full time hobby; fth056cdp; 2008
Micah P. Hinson is a singer-songwriter from Texas in the best alternative Americana/country tradition. This new CD is his third album and my first acquaintance with his music. And the red empire orchestra is such a CD that I always hope to find in my pile of review CDís. Normally the music that comes from Texas is standard Country like stuff, but this is something different. Hinson, who is in his late twenties, has seen the trouble life can give. After addiction to medicine, health problems which made touring almost impossible and so on. He now took over the control over his life again and the result is not only a marriage, but also this fabulous CD. Hinson impresses me with his lyrics about everything that stands between hopeless and hope, he impresses me with his strong arrangements and his slightly underground sound. The opening song Come home quickly darliní has everything to become a classical song. It has the atmosphere of a desperate early sixties love song, sober arrangements but effectively in his soberness. Itís the style of this CD, small changes in music, lots of strings from guitar, banjo and violin. And incidentally some organ, drums and desperate electric guitar like in Sunrise over the Olympus mons. Suddenly orchestral strings colour the music a bit more in spring colours, but mostly this is a CD with an autumn feeling. What a great first acquaintance for me with this singer-songwriter. If you are into alternative Country/Americana, do visit his webpage and listen to Micah P. Hinson.
www.micahphinson.com
Eelco Schilder


Saite an Saite "Gitme"
Label:
Wonderland Records; 9056; 2008
Saite an Seite is a multi cultural gathering of musicians who present the compositions of lead vocalist and Baglama player Ismail TŁrker. Gitme is his latest work on which he plays twelve new songs, deeply rooted in the Turkish traditional music. He is backed by a jazzy quartet and incidentally four guest musicians including nice female vocals by Ekin TŁrker. The album interweaves traditional sounds with elements of jazz. Sometimes even the borders of the Balkan region are crossed. The title song Gitme is a friendly Turkish folk-pop song, followed by the more West-European and jazz influenced song Sabah sŲzleri. In songs like Laz havasi, Uyan uyan TŁrker is at his best. These are the most traditional songs on the albums, although with a good modern approach and light rock/pop sound. Very nice is also the sad song Mavi deniz with a nice duet between the soft baglama and the intense violin. GŁnesli yol is in the same vein. Beautiful atmosphere, nice string works a very pure song. Gitme is a very nice album with pure and interesting music. Personally I prefer the more traditional pieces above the jazz compositions but that is my personal taste. It would also have been interested to hear TŁrker give the baglama a more central role in the music, the vocals of this instrument and his voice is one of the stronger links on this album.
www.wonderland-records.de
Eelco Schilder


Blackheart "Indigo"
Label: Sugar Tree Records; 2007
Blackheart is formed by the duo Chrissy Mostyn and Richard Pilkington, two musicians from the UK. They have started the band about two years ago and their star has been rising ever since. On their debut album Indigo they recorded twelve original songs. According to some promo info itís alt-country, well itís far from that to my personal opinion. This album is a collection of sugar-sweet pop songs with folk and Americana influences. Itís easy listening, over produced and completely risk less. Very suitable for a big audience that doesnít want to be disturbed by any experimental creativity at all. This is a potential hit album, seen the fact that a big audience from both in and outside the world of folk will love this dreamy, incidentally even a bit rocking, album. Everything on this album is well taken care of, perfect (harmony) vocals, well done arrangements and a top balanced sound. And that is exactly what I personally think is wrong with it. Itís much to perfect to intrigue me.
www.blackheartmusic.co.uk
Eelco Schilder


Jack McNeill & Charlie Heys "Light up all the beacons"
Label:
Fellside; CD213; 2008
Itís about one and a half year ago that Jack McNeill and Charlie Heys started to play as a duo. They both studied at the Birmingham conservatory and also take part in the conservatories folk band. They were finalists in the BBC young folk awards 2008 and this CD shows exactly why. McNeill is a guitarist and sings the lead vocals while Heys does some backing vocals but most of all she is the violinist of the duo. On Light up all the beacons they have recorded twelve original songs and tunes, all clearly inspired by the different UK folk styles. Home of the kingfishers is a marvellous start of a beautiful album. Here the balance between the violin and vocals is perfect. McNeill is a singer that has a nice calm voice and understands the art of singing from the heart. He is a gifted storyteller and I love listening to his stories. Heys, on the other hand, turns out to be a very talented violinist who knows how to bring the dances alive. Maisy is beautiful same as the Shed set. Nice soft guitar play and a solid and energetic violin, that are the ingredients of the instrumental parts. What I like is that in the parts were the vocals take the leading role, the violin respects that and Heys creates really nice melodic patterns at the background, which make the vocal part even come out stronger. The same happens when the violin takes the leading role. McNeill immediately steps backwards and on his guitar he creates the landscape while Heys gets all the space to colour it. Light up all the beacons is a beautiful album from two very talented musicians. I love itís tender and peaceful sound and the good symbioses between the two musicians.
www.fellside.com
Eelco Schilder


Kim Sanders & Friends "Bent Grooves"
Label: Own label; 2007
The Australian multi instrumentalist Kim Sanders is obsessed with wind instruments and already for many years he shares his obsession with the rest of the world by recording great CDís. bent Grooves is his latest work and on this album he plays seven wind instruments varying from Turkish Gaita, Kaval, Saluang to tenor sax. What I like is that his instruments have their origin from all over the world and in his work Sanders shows their similarities and their differences. On this CD he is backed by seven Ďfriendsí who have different backgrounds from Indian tabla, Balkan Clarinet, Greek bouzouki until Turkish lute. Sanders recorded thirteen tracks, many based on traditionals but also own compositions. I think this Bent grooves is his best album. The music is exciting, a good variation between styles and very well played. I love the Turkish song Heyamoli in which he mixes the Gaita with the sax and especially the bass makes it a Oriental jazzy piece of music. In Kongís dream one of his own compositions, he and his friends take me into a dreamy world and for more than six minutes long Iím sailing away on the beautiful harmonies between the two saxophones, tabla and bass. Definitely one of my favourites on this album. Only a surfer knows this feeling is inspired by the music from the Black sea. An intense piece of music with the fresh sounding Turkish lute. What follows is A journey in Sab‚ Makam. A piece in four parts that takes about fifteen minutes. Highly inspired by the Dervish music, this is a hypnotising fifteen minutes and maybe even the strongest composition on this album. With Bent grooves Kim Sanders and his friends show to be masters in Roots-jazz-fusion music.
www.netspace.com.au/~kimsanders
Eelco Schilder


Poeta Magica "Edda vol. 1"
Label:
Verlag der spielleute; 2006
Poeta Magica is a German band that, besides music, stands for theatre as well. They create music for banquets and medieval markets, but also for soundtracks and many other special events. They search for inspiration in the Medieval music and earlier, seen the title of this album. Itís music inspired by the Edda, the most important mythology from the North. The album contains many Scandinavian traditional songs and tunes besides original work by band members. On this album they cooperate with a big group of artists including the famous Norwegian singer Tone Hulbaekmo. Ancient sounds are mixed with modern electronic sounds and many, many ancient instruments are mixed with Joik, and other, more or less, Nordic vocal traditions. Although I like the idea and I am a big lover of Nordic tradition in almost all itís forms, this is not really my style of music. In those rare moments the band takes the acoustic and sober approach, some wonderful music can be heard. I love Polska efter J.A Andersson because the group stayed close to the essence of this Swedish tune. And even the Norwegian famous song (folkies of my fathers generation might remember this song from the legendary Norwegian group Folque) Kjempene pŚ Dovrefjell is actually quit nice. But to often Poeta Magica add so many sounds, so many ideas that have to fit in one song that I often find it to much. I prefer it when I can hear the essence of a melody and not only a lot of, almost orchestral, sounding sounds. Edda vol 1 contains some beautiful music but on the whole it is to bombastic and theatrical to my personal taste.
www.poetamagica.de
Eelco Schilder


Rairda & Poeta "DrÝm"
Label: Totentanz; 23066; 2008
Rairda & Poeta is a duo formed by Poeta Magica members (see other review in this edition of Folkworld) on several> kinds of nyckelharpaís, lute and wind instruments and the Austrian singer Margarea Eibl. Besides singing she also plays the piano, synthesiser, harp etc. The album is almost completely written by the two musicians and contains some mystical music inspired on early music and Mediaeval times. Itís clear that the duo like to create musical images. They use all they have to create an atmosphere of dark woods, goddesses, elfins, trolls and what more. Eibl has a high pitched and airy voice but somehow her dream world isnít mine. The way she sings the songs is very decent and that makes it hard for me to understand the emotions she wants to put in her singing. Besides that I find the musical arrangements a bit limited and I get the feeling itís constantly a variation on the same theme. But Iím sure that there enough dreamers out there who love this so called mystical, dreamy album.
www.holgerfunke.com, www.rairda.de
Eelco Schilder


Shlomo Bar & Habrera Hativeet "Low Clouds"
Label: Acum; 64642; 2006
Shlomo Bar was born in Morocco in 1943 and is the founder and lead singer of Habrera Hativeet. Besides singing he composes the songs, plays the violin and beats the drums. The inspiration for his music he finds in Biblical and Israeli themes. Besides Bar, five other musicians are part of the band including musicians from Iran and Israel. The band was formed in 1977 and from the first moment they used African and Eastern traditional music as their main sources. Low clouds is the bands eleventh album. The first thing that I notice is the beautiful, deep and raw vocals by Shlomo Bar. His vocals, which wears the signs of time with dignity, forces to listen. The CD starts with a light rock song called low clouds a easy going start of an intriguing album. In Genesis the band shows itís real quality. The violin, the smooth percussion and again this powerful voice make this song an intense fusion between traditions, past and present. The band is at itís best in the more Ethnic styled songs. Tracks like da-re and Circles which have a good rock feeling, are of high quality but doesnít have the intensity of the more acoustic and more ethnic tracks. Low clouds is a wonderful album with some great roots-rock music. Habrera Hativeet shows to be a group of great musicians and Shlomo Bar is a impressive singer that knows how to bring his songs alive.
www.shlomobar.com
Eelco Schilder


Blackmoreís Night "Secret Voyage"
Label:
SPV; 91782; 2008
Well, I donít think Ritchie Blackmore needs any introduction. He is best known as one of Deep Purpleís, but also played with great bands such as The Outlaws and Screaming Lord Sutch. Nowadays his band Blackmoreís Night is his main project and it has been for over ten years now. Deeply rooted in both folk, rock and early music, Secret voyage is in the same vein as previous work. Bombastic, orchestral but always a lot of room left for ancient structures and early music instruments. Itís like listening to a soundtrack of a rather dark fairy tale. The sweet and dreamy vocals by Candice Night, the heavy church organ, recorders, Hurdy gurdy, guitar itís all here. For me personally the result is much to pretentious and to unsubtle. Sometimes really nice melody lines can be heard but are often killed by to many sounds. For his compositions Blackmore uses traditionals as a basic element. Toast to tomorrow is originally a Russian folk song but here changed into a happy drinking song. Beautiful and a necessary break in all these sound impressions is Prince waldeks galliard a gentle guitar solo, very well played. It are these moments that shows the actual quality of the band and composer. Iím one hundred percent sure that this album will be loved by any Blackmoreís Night fans worldwide and probably by many who are interested in Gothic, folk-metal, orchestral-soundtrack like music.
www.blackmoresnight.com
Eelco Schilder


ModrŠ Struna "Křeni"
Label: Own label; 2007
ModrŠ Struna is a band from Czech. The five members play self-penned folk songs that are deeply rooted in the Americana and Bluegrass tradition. Strangely enough the band does sing in English, but doesnít have English information available on their webpage. So I donít have a clue when the group was founded, what their history is and what drives them to play bluegrass music. Bu what really counts is the quality of their music. Křeni is a nice album with easy going Americana and bluegrass songs. Very nice work on the string instruments and decent vocals. I like the easy going and peaceful atmosphere of the album. With this CD ModrŠ Struna shows that nice going Bluegrass and Americana music can also be made on this side of the ocean.
www.modrastruna.cz
Eelco Schilder


Hope Nunnery "Wilderness Lounge"
Label: Own label; 2007
Hope Nunnery from South-Carolina is a singer-songwriter who has a long fascination for gospel music. On this wilderness lounge album she works very closely with guitarist Steve Tarshis. The duo is accompanied by several other guest musicians. Nunnery has a tremendously powerful voice and a very own way of singing. Her style reminds me a lot of antique bluegrass recordings, but without doubt has this gospel touch as well. Nunnery is a gifted text writer. Her lyrics are direct and often in praise of the lord. Itís a CD I have to get used to and Iím still not sure if Iím a fan of her singing or not. Her mixture of blues, bluegrass, country, gospel and folk is of a seldom heard pureness, but her expressive way of singing is a bit to much for me on a few occasions. Nevertheless a fascinating album that might be liked by those who love these old time US folk a like styles.
www.hopenunnery.com
Eelco Schilder


Lluis Gomez Quartet "Lluis Gomez Quartet"
Label: Own label; 2007
Gomez is a 5-string banjo player from Barcelona. He is probably the best (known) banjo player in Spain and has a long career in music. Not only playing but also teaching, organiser of the Al Ras festival and contributor to several magazines. Gomez leads his quartet that exists, besides the master himself, out of Joan Pau Comellas on harmonica, Ricky Araiza on guitar and Maribel Sanchez on bass. Besides the members of the quartet five guest musicians appear on the album. The CD is a beautiful acoustic folk adventure with influences from bluegrass until Irish folk. Fabulous strings and a nice clear quality of sound. Itís a peaceful album including one traditional and nine original compositions. Gomez shows to be a master on the banjo with a different sound than the often heard US folky banjo styles. Add three other master musicians to that and you will understand that a recommended album is the result. For everybody who loves strings, Celtic influenced acoustic bluegrass music or just good music.
www.myspace.com/lluisgomez
Eelco Schilder


Balalaika Nueva "New Art for the People, from ABBA to Zappa"
Label: Own label; 2007
Alexander Paperny "Dream of Balalaika"
Label: Own label; 2007
Alexander Paperny was born in the Ukraine and plays the Balalaika since the seventies. He has been solist in several groups and issued his first solo work in the nineties. His fascination for the instrument in combination with his love for the South-American music made him record music by Piazzolla in the past and present. On review today is his solo CD called Dream of balalaika which contains a collection of tunes from classical composers, like Rachmaninov, Bach and Mozart, to Cole Porter, Russian folksongs and Piazzolla tunes. The CD shows the many sides of the instruments is as many styles. The sober arrangements make sure that the listener get every chance to hear the sound of the Balalaika. Paperny is also a member of the Balalaika Nueva group. Together with this group, which includes an accordion and contrabass, he recorded twelve modern pop songs such as Abbaís money money money, shocking blueís Venus etc. To be honest, I find it predictable instrumental versions of known songs. The interpretations stay close to the originals, which makes the music very recognizable but also a bit dull.
www.balalaikarus.de
Eelco Schilder


The Hottentots "Turn Back the Tides"
Label: Own label; 2004
Carl Cleves "All Alone"
Label: Own label; 2007
Carl Cleves is a singer-songwriter from Flemish origin. He travels around the world searching for and creating music. Studied traditional African music and recorded several solo CDís and started a few band projects. One of these bandís is The Hottentots and Turn back the tides is their fourth CD. Together with Parissa Bouas, Cleves sings, mostly, his own compositions. The album has a nice variation of styles, going from a intimate love song like Bouas composition Ill be with you tonight to more political songs like turn back the tide and The Bethlehem bell ringer which also show an interest in religious music. Surprisingly good is their version of Sodade a song that has been made legendary by Cape Verde singer Cesaria Evora. This Turn back tides is a nice album with some quality music made by people who believe in what their doing and also enjoy doing it. Itís a solid acoustic folk-world CD with influences from many wind directions without loosing itís own sound. On review is also the latest solo CD by Carl Cleves called All alone. The CD starts with the nice title song, Cleves Ďall aloneí with his guitar. A bit sad but also hopeful start of the album. Much happier is the next song You and I on which he is backed by earlier mentioned Parissa Bouas and other musicians. This song has a more Celtic approach and is a kind of airy love song. That Cleves is a gifted storyteller shows The rose of kordofan, an Arabic orientated song, almost an ancient ballad, about a girl and boy born beneath a dessert sky, and Fallen angels one of the best songs on this album. Cleves shows in his solo album the same quality of song writing and composing as with The Hottentots. Accessible music, stories from the world and personal texts.
www.thehottentots.com, www.carlcleves.com
Eelco Schilder


Lawrence Blatt "Fibonacciís Dream"
Label: Own label; 2008
Steve Louvat "A New Morning"
Label: Little Wolf Records; 0701; 2007
Yamandu Costa "Mafua"
Label:
Acoustic Music; 31913962; 2008
Usually, when I get the Folkworld review cdís, it always includes a bunch of finger picking CDís and it always amazes me how many guitarists record this music worldwide. In this review three of them, all released during the past year. The first one is by Lawrence Blatt and is called Fibonacciís dream. Blatt comes from San-Francisco and this CD is his second solo album. Fibonacci was a thirteen century mathematician and Blatt makes a link between maths and his music. The result is a nice finger picking album with good techniques. Itís music to relax on, music that brings a peaceful atmosphere but also has the tendency to disappear to the background. The second CD comes from Belgian artist Steve Louvat. On †A new morning ten original compositions a bit in the same vein as Blatt his work. Easy going and technically strong. Louvat adds a bit more adventure and diversity into his music. Sometimes sunny, up-tempo, dreamy etc. The third CD is called Mafua and is from the Brazilian Yamandu Costa. He plays the Brazilian seven-stringed nylon guitar. His work has the warm intensity of the South-American music. On this Cd he shows every corner of his guitar in a virtuosic way. Sometimes tender and soft, sometimes wild and full passion. All three CDís show that, although they live thousands of kilometres away from each other, their finger picking music has a lot of similarities. The difference can be found in the technique, their background and their personality.
www.lawrenceblatt.com, www.stevelouvat.com
Eelco Schilder


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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 11/2008

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