<html> <head> <title>FolkWorld CD Reviews</title> </head> <body bgcolor="#EEFFFA" link="#DC143C" alink="#FF3300" vlink="#4B0082"> <p><font size=4 color="4169e1"><font FACE="Maiandra GD">FolkWorld</font> Issue 40 11/2009</font></p> <p><center><font size=7 color="4169e1"><font FACE="Maiandra GD">FolkWorld</font> CD Reviews</font></center></p> <p><a name="mcle"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Ewan McLennan "Ewan McLennan" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2009</i></font></center> <a HREF="http://www.ewanmclennan.co.uk"><b>Ewan McLennan</b></a> is a young Scottish folk musician based in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Growing up in Edinburgh, he started studying classical guitar. In 2005 he moved to Leeds for a three year degree course in music at Leeds University School of Music. His three passions - music, history, social change - led him to the huge repertoire of industrial songs. Hence he did two major studies on folk songs of the American and British labour movements in the early 20th century. Ewan also became a regular at the Grove Folk Club. Last year he moved out of his local playground and began performing across the British Isles. One voice, one acoustic guitar, that's all he needs to plough the musical fields somewhere inbetween fellow Scotsmen Dick Gaughan (<a HREF="../../36/e/news.html#hb">FW#36</a>) and Jim Malcolm (<a href="../../39/e/cds1.html#malc">#39</a>). And Ewan does a marvellous job on instrumental tunes such as "Flowers Of Edinburgh", traditional songs such as "I'm A Rover" and "As I Roved Out" (twice), and newer material such as Ewan MacColl's "Jamie Foyers" and Alex McDaid's "Jarama Valley". For his original "To The Hunting Go" Ewan robbed the tune of "Lord of the Dance". The grande finale is an instrumental version of "Auld Lang Syne", which brings the Robert Burns 250th birthday bash to a close (<a href="burns.html">#40</a>), and Ewan's career to a first climax. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.ewanmclennan.co.uk">www.ewanmclennan.co.uk</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="mehm"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Doan Mehmet "Gypsyhead" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.hobgoblin.com">Hobgoblin</a>; GM0210D; 2009</i></font></center> The lad is not yet 20, and though Brighton born and bred, a second generation Turkish Cypriot. So what kind of music singer and fiddler <a HREF="http://www.doganmehmet.com"><b>Doan Mehmet</b></a> should play? The finalist in 2008's BBC Young Folk Awards chose to perform both traditional English music and his own heritage. Now imagine Turkish folk pop (indeed, some Turkish songs are included) and the brittle vocals of Pressgang's Damian Clarke (sometimes the sound is reminiscing the Pressgang sound too -> <a href="../../34/d/cds2.html#clar">FW#34</a>). Doan's debut album "Gypsyhead" features English and Turkish folk songs and dance tunes, some self-penned. Morris meets iftetelli, it is no clash of cultures, but cross-cultural harmony. The backing of piano accordion, keyboards, mandolin, guitar, bass and drums creates a nice folk rock sound. Let me mention some of the songs: there is the traditional English "Wraggle Taggle Gypsies" (with an added verse) and "Seventeen Come Sunday", the original "Raging Seas" inspired of his father's stories about Cyprus, the improvised Turkish slow air "Ozun hava" and the popular Turkish/Greek "eftetelli", the traditional Turkish Gypsy song "Ozman Aga" (including percussionist Tom Wright's tune "Eighteen Months"), and finally, "Royal Oak", a folk song about a Turkish ship attacked by the English. Who won? The music for sure! <br><i><a HREF="http://www.doganmehmet.com">www.doganmehmet.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="mack"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Fiona J Mackenzie "A Good Suit of Clothes" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.greentrax.com">Greentrax</a>; CDTRAX339; 2009</i></font></center> <i>Mo mhallachd aig na caoraich mhor ... my curse upon the great sheep!</i> During the 18th and 19th centuries the population of the Scottish Highlands was driven away to make way for sheep and profit. This is known as the <a HREF="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances">Highland Clearances</a>, or Fuadach nan Gidheal (the expulsion of the Gael), and meant mass emigration to the Americas and Australia. The poet sighs: <i>cha chluinn mi Gaidhlig latha neo oidche ... I don't hear Gaelic day or night, all I hear is English and Maori, tongues so knotty, rough and twisted, none in Lorne would want to hear them.</i> Tiree bard John MacLean felt the same in Nova Scotia: <i>Gu bheil mi 'm onrachd sa choille ghruamaich ... I am alone in the gloomy forest, my thoughts uneasy, I can't sing a chorus, I can't get around to creating a song here, whenever I start, I become depressed.</i> However, they did anyway. Creating songs I mean. In this Scottish Year of Homecoming, "A Good Suit of Clothes" is a collection of 12 songs of the emigrant Gael, a mix of both well and lesser known, both traditional and contemporary songs (e.g. Blair Douglas -> <a href="../../38/e/cds1.html#doug">FW#38</a>). Gaelic singer <a HREF="http://fionamackenzie.org/"><b>Fiona J Mackenzie</b></a> (<a HREF="../../4/cds2e.html#m">#4</a>, <a HREF="../../9/e/cc-gaelic.html">#9</a>, <a href="../../24/e/cds5.html#mack">#24</a>, <a href="../../35/e/cds1.html#mack">#35</a>) put it together with support from Fraser Fifield (whistles, pipes -> <a href="../../37/e/cds2.html#fras">#37</a>) and singer Cathy Ann MacPhee (<a href="../../29/e/cds3.html#macp">#29</a>), amongst others. One thing strikes me very much: the melancholic if not sad lyrics go with lively if not joyous melodies, as if this CD release is trying to make a point: fortunatly this is all over, the clothes are better and better, it is a triumphe about the course of history. Don't forget to mention, this is a beautiful album too. <br><i><a HREF="http://fionamackenzie.org/">fionamackenzie.org</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="spir"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Spiro "Lightbox" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.realworldrecords.com">Real World Records</a>; CDRW172; 2009</i></font></center> <a HREF="http://www.spiromusic.com"><b>Spiro</b></a> are four musicians from Bristol in the South West of England that came together in 1993. The quartet of accordion (Jason Sparkes), mandolin (Alex Vann), guitar (Jon Hunt) and fiddle (Jane Harbour) combine individual backgrounds of classical music, folk and punk. They avail themselves of folk music, but their particular arrangements transport the listener into wide open spaces and grand landscapes and soundscapes. It is sophisticated instrumental music. Guitarist Jon Hunt: <i>We've got more to do with minimalist classical and dance music than we have with folk. Even though we use folk tunes, they're raw materials that the rest of the sound is built around.</i> Repetitive tunes build up, tightly arranged, while let time and place for exceptional harmonies, dissonances and counter rhythms. But there's no way for improvisation and solos: <i>Everything is totally arranged, right down to the last note, the last semi-quaver.</i> Spiro's third album has been recorded live with no overdubs over four days at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios and is largely produced by Simon Emmerson (Afro Celt Sound System -> <a HREF="../../10/e/cds2.html#afro">FW#10</a>, The Imagined Village -> <a href="../../35/e/cds2.html#vill">#35</a>). "Lightbox" would make a great film soundtrack, well, more than one I suppose. And though quite complex and sounding regal, it has a down-to-earth approach to it. You should never get bored. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.spiromusic.com">www.spiromusic.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="barc"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Lluis G&oacute;mez & Joan Pau Cumellas "Barcelona Bluegrass Band" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Monde Green Records; KWCD234; 2009</i></font></center> The <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/barcelonabluegrassband"><b>Barcelona Bluegrass Band</b></a> is the brainchild of five-string-banjo player <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/lluisgomez">Llus Gmez</a> and harmonica player <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/joanpaucumellas">Joan Pau Cumellas</a>. They assembled a cast of Spanish instrumentalists such as <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/migueltalavera">Miguel Talavera</a>, Ricky Araiza and Albert Bello (guitar), <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/oriolsc">Oriol Saa</a> (fiddle), <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/maribelsnchez">Maribel Snchez</a> (double bass) and <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/robbiekjones">Robbie K.Jones</a> (cajn) to realise their musical vision. The CD is kicking off with Earl Scruggs' "Blowing Groundspeed," followed on the heels by the traditional "Angelina the Baker" (a Stephen Foster song turned into an old-timey instrumental, compare -> <a href="../../39/e/cds5.html#unwa">FW#39</a>) There's self-penned pieces by Gmez, more from Grisman and Monroe, plus the famous "Orange Blossom Special" and "Cluck Old Hen" and some traditional Irish jigs and reels. The playing is excellent, the arrangements imaginative. The overall sound is fresh, stretching bluegrass music into a new acoustic sphere. Sometimes it needs outsiders such as these Spaniards to show them Yanks on which side the bread is buttered on. If you don't believe my word, the excellence has been recognized by Alison Brown and Tim Carter who contribute some duelling five-string banjos (<a HREF="../../18/e/cds3.html#brow">#18</a>, <a href="../../25/e/cds5.html#brow">#25</a>, <a href="../../38/d/cds2.html#brow">#38</a>). <i>Gracias, muchachos!</i> <br><i><a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/barcelonabluegrassband">www.myspace.com/barcelonabluegrassband</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="hope"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Harry Bradley & Michael Clarkson "The Pleasures of Hope" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; HBMC09; 2009</i></font></center> Despite a hundred years old marching band tradition in the north of Ireland, only a few traditional Irish music flutists came from Belfast. Eventually in the 1970s and 80s there were Dessie Wilkinson (see review below), Gary Hastings (<a href="../../23/e/cds3.html#quin">FW#23</a>) and Frankie Kennedy (the late Altan flutist), followed by another generation of flutists. <a HREF="http://irishflute.podbean.com/"><b>Michael Clarkson</b></a> is one of them, <a HREF="http://www.myspace.com/harrybradley "><b>Harry Bradley</b></a> is another (<a href="../../25/e/cds2.html#brad">#25</a>, <a href="../../27/e/cds1.html#brad">#27</a>, <a href="../../31/e/cds8.html#shau">#31</a>, <a href="../../31/e/cds6.html#shau">#31</a>). The tunes on "The Pleasures of Hope" came from a lot of sources, from (what is today) Northern Ireland as well as from County Clare in the south of Ireland and from Scotland beyond the Irish Chanel. Not necessarily flute tunes, but also the theme tune of the Suffering Ducks flute band from the 1920s and a composition by flute player Hammy Hamilton (<a href="../../23/e/cds3.html#hami">#23</a>). There is a distinctive Belfast flute playing style, very staccato and rhythmical, said to relate to the Belfast accent. Garry O'Briain (mandocello, guitar) and Seamus O'Kane (bodhran) deliver the strong rhythm, both Harry and Bradley have their solo piece. Brilliant playing, it had been a pleasure to do this review. <br><i>Distribution: <a HREF="http://www.claddaghrecords.com">Claddagh Records</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="sand"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Tommy Sands "Let the Circle Be Wide" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.appleseedmusic.com">Appleseed</a>; APR CD 1114; 2009</i></font></center> <table align=right cellpadding=5 border=5 bgcolor="#add8e6" bordercolor="#EEFFFA"><tr><td><a href="../d/cds4.html#sand">See also the German<br>review in this issue</a></td></tr></table> Let's keep it simple. Seems to be the motto of <a HREF="http://www.tommysands.com"><b>Tommy Sands</b></a> (<a HREF="../../13/e/cds1.html#sands">FW#13</a>). It helps of course having a couple of great songs and tunes. Here they are, 15 of them on the seventh or so solo album of the Northern Irish singer-songwriter-activist. All but one are his own. The CD kicks off with "Young Man's Dream," a reworking - part translation, part transcreation - of the 16th century Gaelic song that became the sentimental mid-19th century "Danny Boy". "The People Have Spoken" is about the opposing political catchphrases <i>the day will be ours</i> (by Ulster Protestants) and <i>our day it will come</i> (Catholics). "The Song Sings On" is for the late Tommy Makem (<a href="../../34/e/news.html#makem">#34</a>), not a lamentation of his death but rather a celebration of his life: <i>He sang of joy and sorrow, of justice and of peace, and even in the final days his music never ceased. The concert may be over but I still can hear the song. The people keep on singing and the song sings on.</i> "You Will Never Grow Old" is for his brother Dino who died in a carcrash in 1975 when touring with the Sands Family (<a HREF="../../9/d/sands.html">#9</a>, <a HREF="../../17/d/cds2.html#sand">#17</a>). "Send For Maguire" ends the reflective mood and takes you into the pub. "Rovers of Wonder" is featuring Mongolian throat-singers, Tommy is concerned with his troubled homeland as much as with the rest of the world. Tommy Sands plays guitar, whistle, five-string banjo and dotara (a stringed Indian instrument). His new band consists of his children Moya (vocals, fiddle, bodhran, whistle) and Fionn (mandolin, banjo). Remember, one of Tommy's finest songs is "Daughters and Sons". Additional help comes from his siblings Anne, Ben and Colum, plus guitarists Arty McGlynn and Steve Cooney, fiddler Sean Maguire, piper Brendan Monaghan and accordionist and keyboarder Rod McVey. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.tommysands.com">www.tommysands.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="reid"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Brad Reid "The Conundrum" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2008</i></font></center> <a HREF="http://www.bradreid.ca"><b>Brad Reid</b></a> seems capable of nearly anything. He plays saxophone, flute, clarinet and bagpipes. Jazz, rock, salsa, country. In the theatre, on cruise ships. One should think, ok a bit of everything and nothing really at all. Wrong, Brad Reid makes you wonder. The Halifax man explores his Cape Breton roots with some Celtic music (ancestry from Scotland - one was the chief piper to the MacNeils of the Isle of Barra -, and French Acadians). Furthermore, he plays the fiddle and guitar. "The Conundrum" is a traditional album with some of Brad's favourite Cape Breton tunes plus some of his original ones. He plays an apt fiddle, and both guitar accompaniment (thanks heaven for modern recording technology) and solo guitar. It is a decent album. More than decent. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.bradreid.ca">www.bradreid.ca</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="hotg"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Hot Griselda "Hot Griselda" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.tsmiske.be">Appel Rekords</a>; APR 1317; 2009</i></font></center> Two musical Dutchmen travelled south and made friends to two musical Belgians. The talk is of Toon Van Mierlo (uilleann pipes, saxophone, diatonic accordion, etc) of Naragonia (<a href="../../38/e/cds4.html#nara">FW#38</a>) and EmBrun fame (see review below), Stijn Van Beek (uilleann pipes, whistle), guitar player Jeroen Geerinck of Snaarmaarwaar (<a href="../../39/e/cds5.html#snaa">#39</a>) and bouzouki player Kaspar Laval (bouzouki). Two Dutchmen, two Flemish, two pipes and two stringed instruments. And the result is something different and unique: <a HREF="http://www.hotgriselda.eu"><b>Hot Griselda</b></a> seem to start out with Irish music, but it isn't. It seems Irish in the end, but actually never really was. And inbetween it is a tour de force of original music. A crossborder Flemish melange, musically at home in Western Europe in an imagined territory that probably only exists in the minds of Van Mierlo, Van Beek, Geerinck and Laval. Playing, performance, the arrangements and the tunes are top-notch. No doubt, Griselda is hot, and it is getting hotter ... <br><i><a HREF="http://www.hotgriselda.eu">www.hotgriselda.eu</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="embr"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>EmBRUN "No.2" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.tsmiske.be">Appel Rekords</a>; APR 1316; 2009</i></font></center> <a HREF="http://www.embrun.be"><b>EmBRUN</b></a> (<a href="fwood.html#embrun">FW#40</a>): This is not about the French city of that name, neither the place in Canada, but a Flemish band consisting of Bert Leemans (chromatic accordion), Toon Van Mierlo of Naragonia (<a href="../../38/e/cds4.html#nara">FW#38</a>) and Hot Griselda (see review above) (bagpipes, whistles, saxophone), Harald Baeweraerts (electro-acoustic hurdy-gurdy), known from helping out Twalseree, AedO and Lais (<a HREF="../../15/d/cds2.html#twal">#15</a>, <a href="../../31/e/cds7.html#lais">#31</a>, <a href="../../31/e/cds1.html#aedo">#31</a>), Jonas Scheys of Transpiradansa (bass guitar and double bass -> <a href="cds5.html#tran">#40</a>) and Ludo Stichelmeyer (all sorts of percussion). Plus there is a famous guest on guitar: Philip Masure (<a HREF="../../15/e/cds4.html#picc">#15</a>, <a href="../../32/d/cds2.html#munn">#32</a>, <a href="../../32/e/cds1.html#coma">#32</a>). EmBRUN's second recording is pure bal folk music: the tunes are scottishe, bourrees, andros, mazurkas, polkas and waltzes - original compositions but in the traditional vein. EmBRUN is a tight musical outfit, the playing powerful. However, is it only music for the dancers? Or is it convenient for listeners too? For the dancers it is all what you could want to get. You can dance to, and the sound is fresh and up to date. For listeners only I'm not so sure. Though the band covers a large spectrum of dance types, it became a bit uniform after a couple of tracks, and my thoughts were straying away instead of listening. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.embrun.be">www.embrun.be</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="may"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Andy May "Happy Hours" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.fellside.com">Fellside Recordings</a>; FECD224; 2009</i></font></center> <b>Andy May</b> (<a href="../../25/e/cds5.html#may">FW#25</a>) is a young but very skilled performer on the Northumbrian pipes. He began learning the pipes around 1987 and won his first piping competition at the tender age of 10. Recently he joined <a href="http://www.jezlowe.com/band.asp">Jez Lowe's Bad Pennies</a> (<a href="../../30/d/cd1.html#lowe">#30</a>) as well as Finnish-British collaboration <a href="http://www.balticcrossing.com/">Baltic Crossing</a> (<a href="../../36/e/cds5.html#balt">#36</a>). In addition to playing the pipes, Andy May started making them. "Happy Hours" is Andy's second album, featuring both traditional tunes, contemporary tunes from the Shetlands to Britanny and Galicia, and some self-penned pieces. There are fiery reels as well as poignant airs, both played with dexterity and skill. Furthermore, <a href="http://www.bennygraham.com/">Benny Graham</a> sings Ed Pickford's "One Miner's Life," a very solemn rendition to piano accompaniment (Andy) and fiddle (Sophy Ball). Also featured are Julien Batten (accordion), Ian Stephenson (double bass, guitar) and Andrew Davison (Northumbrian pipes). All in all it is supposed to give you many a happy hour. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.fellside.com">www.fellside.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="batt"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Battlefield Band "Zama Zama" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.templerecords.co.uk">Temple Records</a>; COMD2102; 2009</i></font></center> Strange title for a traditional Scots music album. <i>Zama zama</i> is a Zulu expression for <i>try your luck</i>. It is the <a HREF="http://www.battlefieldband.co.uk"><b>Battlefield Band's</b></a> 40th anniversary and their 31st recording (<a HREF="../../5/batties.html">FW#5</a>, <a HREF="../../6/cds1e.html#bb">#6</a>, <a HREF="../../12/e/cds1.html#batt">#12</a>, <a HREF="../../19/e/cds1.html#batt">#19</a>, <a href="../../23/e/cds1.html#batt">#23</a>, <a href="../../27/e/cds2.html#batt">#27</a>, <a href="../../28/e/cds2.html#batt">#28</a>, <a href="../../32/e/cds1.html#batt">#32</a>, <a href="../../35/e/cds2.html#batt">#35</a>, <a href="../../37/d/cds2.html#batt">#37</a>). Seniors in their league, but always adding fresh blood: with Alan Reid (vocals, keyboard) being the only founding member left, Mike Katz (bagpipes, flute, whistle -> <a href="../../31/e/cds6.html#katz">#31</a>), Alasdair White (fiddle -> <a href="../../33/e/cds2.html#fidd">#33</a>) and Sean O'Donnell (guitar, vocals). The idea seems to be sounding fresh and anew, without changing the overall concept of the band too much. And yes, I wasn't that enthusiastic of the Batties since some time. Besides concept ... "Zama Zama" was planned as a concept album that should have songs and tunes on it with the common theme Gold. Gold it is, but different than scheduled. Sign of the times, it didn't become the heroic story of the gold washer in beautiful Yukon but the recording was overshadowed by the world's financial crisis with the greed and disasters of modern day politicians and bankers. Okay, that means instrumental sets have at least one tune which has a 'gold' connection by its name The Batties are self-aware and self-ironic: <i>lets admit the only connection these tunes have with the album concept is they come from a great wealth of Scottish music</i>. So let's better talk about the songs: there is Norman Buchan's coal minig song "Auchengeich Disaster", ex founding member Brian McNeill's (<a href="brian.html">#40</a>) "Greenland's Icy Waters" on whale fishing (which has the words of "Auld Lang Syne" woven through it), American jazz singer Nina Simone's "Plain Gold Ring," and Allan MacDonald's Gaelic "Uamh an Oir" (Cave of Gold). Alan Reid's own "Robber Barons" had been inspired by the medieval robber-knights of the German Rhine valley but is clearly pointing to today's con men. The final verse is commenting on the greedy British MPs. Unfortunatly the song lyrics are not in the booklet but on the website only. "Zama Zama" is no retrospection on the jubilee, the Batties are a force to reckon with. Indian summer - they call it. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.battlefieldband.co.uk">www.battlefieldband.co.uk</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="bels"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Belshazzar's Feast "Frost Bites" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.wildgoose.co.uk">WildGoose Records</a>; WGS366CD; 2009</i></font></center> Daniel 5:1-4 describes Belshazzar's Feast in which the sacred vessels of Solomon's Temple were profaned. During the festivities, a hand was seen writing on the wall the mysterious <i>mene mene tekel upharsin</i>, meaning literally <i>numbered, weighed, and found wanting</i>. Shortly after, the city of Bayblon had been conquered and the empire divided between the Medes and Persians. The <i>writing on the wall</i> became an euphemism for impending doom. But let's forget all that, Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. Well, for some Christmas is impending doom. <a HREF="http://www.belshazzarsfeast.co.uk"><b>Belshazzar's Feast</b></a>, named after the last Babylonian king, are Paul Hutchinson (accordion) and Paul Sartin (vocals, fiddle, oboe, cor anglais), the latter being a member of Bellowhead (<a href="../../33/e/cds3.html#bell">FW#33</a>, <a href="../../38/e/cds2.html#bell">#38</a>, <a href="../d/cds5.html#bell">#40</a>) and Faustus (<a href="../../28/e/cds3.html#drfa">#28</a>). They celebrate a musical Christmas, and though sounding very English, the songs and tunes related to Yuletide are from England as well as from continental Europe and North America. There is an Appalachian version of "Cherry Tree Carol" collected by Cecil Sharp (<a HREF="../../26/e/nshift08.html#sharp">#26</a>), and the Canadian "Lonesome Scenes of Winter". Other songs have been collected in England: a "Hampshire Mummer's Song" or "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day". Paul Sartin sings in a no-nonsense way, somewhat hoarse and raw. That's a rather unsentimental Christmas, but all for the better. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.belshazzarsfeast.co.uk">www.belshazzarsfeast.co.uk</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="morg"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>M&oacute;rga "M&oacute;rga" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2009</i></font></center> I've got the opportunity to listen to Irish band <a HREF="http://www.morga.ie"><b>M&oacute;rga</b></a> (-> <a href="../../39/e/reel.html">FW#39</a>) at the T&oslash;nder festival ceilidh (<a href="tonder.html">#40</a>). They played near the end and had to compete with high-octane fusion bands such as Kila (<a href="../../34/e/cds4.html#kila2">#34</a>). That was a shame as they didn't stand the ghost of a chance. Though M&oacute;rga isn't tiresome at all; what appeared to be weary isn't weary but really <i>m&oacute;rga</i> (an obscure Gaelic word which means <i>majestic</i>). The band consists of button accordionist Barry Brady, fiddler Danny Diamond and bodhrn player Dominic Keogh. Furthermore, Jonas Fromseier came over from Copenhagen to Ireland; unlike his Danish Viking ancestors ravaging the Irish countryside a thousand years ago, Jonas offered his string skills. Besides playing tenor banjo, he took up the Greek bouzouki as a backing instrument inspired by De Dannan's accompanist Alec Finn. That's why M&oacute;rga, founded in 2007, sounds just like the <i>classic</i> Irish trad bands of the seventies. De Dannan is a prime example, sure. The four lads play jigs & reels, but also barndances, hornpipes and Sliabh Luachra polkas. It is a fragile and delicate sound but fast-paced instrumental music. (Yep, no singer yet, here ends the De Dannan connection for once and for all. Well, lets wait and see.) <br>P.S: The photographs for the booklet were taken at Hughes' pub in Dublin, where Danny hosts a regular session. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.morga.ie">www.morga.ie</a></i><br> <A HREF="../trcik../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="tull"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Larry Gavin, Miche&aacute;l O'Rourke, Charlie Lennon "Two Miles to Tulla" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; 2009</i></font></center> <b>Larry Gavin</b> and <b>Mchel O Rourke</b> are neighbours living in the townland of Caherlohan, just about two miles from the small village of Tulla in the east of County Clare in the west of Ireland. Clare as a whole and east Clare in particular are a hotbed of traditional Irish music: Paddy Canny, Martin Hayes (<a href="../../35/e/cds2.html#haye">FW#35</a>), and many more. The Tulla Cil Band is one of the finest cil bands one can imagine. This is the geographical space and musical environment Larry and Mchel got together. Larry Gavin actually was born in Tyrrellspass, Co. Westmeath, but moved to Clare when he commenced employment. He plays a Paolo Soprani two row B/C diatonic accordion from 1956, having learned music and tricks by the great accordion player Paddy O Brien. Clare-born Mchel O'Rourke is a generation younger than Larry. He has been playing the fiddle and the piano from an early age, inspired by great fiddlers from the locality such as Paddy Canny, but also from luminaries such as Andy McGann (<a href="../../34/e/cds5.html#mcga">#34</a>). After playing together for a couple of years and finding a common understanding, they decided to put down their music. They are joined on "Two Miles to Tulla" by Charlie Lennon on piano (<a href="../../34/e/cds5.html#fidd">#34</a>). Jigs and reels, slip jigs, a set dance. They came up with some familiar and some less-familiar tunes and versions, excellent all the same. The sound is just as playing a session in a pub or in the kitchen. Sweet but powerful, with a tradition of some hundred years behind. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.twomilestotulla.com">www.twomilestotulla.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="hard"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Bella Hardy "In the Shadow of Mountains" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Noe Records; NOE02; 2009</i></font></center> <i>In the shadow of mountains the time sails by, in dark places the stories hide ...</i> <a HREF="http://www.bellahardy.com"><b>Bella Hardy</b></a> is only in her mid-twenties, yet she has already been nominated three times in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and reaching the finals of the BBC Young Folk Awards in 2004. She presents herself as an apt performer (<a href="camb.html#bella">FW#40</a>). Her first album "Night Visiting" featured largely traditional songs and fiddle tunes (<a href="../../36/e/cds4.html#hard">#36</a>), her second album "In the Shadow of Mountains" reveals Bella as a gifted songwriter and storyteller too. Bella draws on her heritage in Derbyshire's Peak District: "Smoke & Ashes" is about the foot and mouth disease, "Sylvie Sovay," one of the highlights of the album, is a contemporary version of the traditional song "Sovay". Besides four original songs and two self-penned tunes, "In the Shadow of Mountains" features five traditionals such as "Ten Thousand Miles" and "Cruel Mother". Well known, but quite beautifully adapted. Bella sings in a bright and clear voice to her own fiddle accompaniment, backed up by English and Scottish musicians such as Corrina Hewat (harp -> <a href="../../26/e/cds2.html#hewa">#26</a>), Anna Massey (guitar), and Chris Sherburn (concertina -> <a href="../../31/e/cds1.html#sher">#31</a>). <br><i><a HREF="http://www.bellahardy.com">www.bellahardy.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="tran"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Transkaakko "Kulo" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Aarnihauta; AAH01; 2009</i></font></center> The Finnish band in question already had its origins way back in 1981 in an obscure outfit calling themselves Balkanin Juhla (which means <i>celebration of Balkan</i>). In the mid 1990s, its members from Turku and Helsinki changed their name to <a HREF="http://www.transkaakko.com"><b>Transkaakko</b></a> (<i>southeast</i>) and changed directions too. South-East European and Middle-Eastern inspirations were retained, embracing now psychedelic and progressive rock music. The current line-up is Daniela Fogelholm (vocals) Jaakko Isojunno (oboe, recorder), Janne Mkel (bouzouki, baglama), Johanna Schwela (violin), Pasi Nurmi (oud, electric & acoustic guitar), Pekka Rappu (bass) and Jaakko Tolvi (drums). Their fourth album "Kulo" (<i>fire</i>) presents original songs in uneven time, Balkan rhythms and Finnish roots. Daniela chants Finnish language songs with a powerful voice. Transkaakko's psychedelic folkrock is such a mix-up that they are able to play rock stages, medieval festivals and Balkan events as well. One of the coolest things to come out of Finland for a long time. What do I say? One of the hottest! <br><i><a HREF="http://www.transkaakko.com">www.transkaakko.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="dana"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Danar "Danar" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Heurekord; HEU200908001; 2009</i></font></center> The band <a HREF="http://www.danar.art.pl"><b>Danar</b></a> wryly named themselves after the Irish word for a foreigner or barbarian. OK, they are from Poland. For sure, Danar is not the only Polish band performing traditional Celtic music (<a HREF="../../18/e/cds2.html#carr">FW#18</a>), but here is a unique sound, and I guess not only for Polish bands but Irish-music playing groups throughout the universe. Singer MaBgorzata Mycek, flutist Ewelina Grygier, as well as percussionist Patrycja Napierala, guitarist Tomasz Biela and double bass player Adam Stodolski take traditional (Irish) tunes and songs as their starting point, but free themselves very soon from any straightjacket and start to improvise and jazz things up. The arrangements are quite imaginative and pretty fancy. Being it instrumental tracks, both traditional and compositions by Biela, Grygier, Napierala and Stodolski, or interesting versions of songs such as "Newry Highwayman", "Bellaghy Fair", "Uncle Rat", "The Maid That Sold Her Barley". The swinging "Black is the Colour" has a somewhat Jimi-Hendrix-like guitar solo (at least it reminds me of a Hendrix tune, can't recall which). There also might be a Polish musical influence after all; sometimes I'm reminded of <a HREF="http://lebowski.hosted.pl/dikanda/">Dikanda</a> (<a href="../../38/e/cds6.html#dika">#38</a>). Wait for the hidden track and you know exactly what's hidden before. Conclusion: no cliches or constraints, but clever and cool. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.danar.art.pl">www.danar.art.pl</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="pipe"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Pipeline "The Red Line" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Equal Music; EQ2412; 2009</i></font></center> <a HREF="http://www.pipeline-music.com"><b>Pipeline</b></a> (<a HREF="../../19/d/cds1.html#hyde">FW#19</a>) is the exquisite duo of Dermot Hyde and Tom Hake, both based in Munich, Germany. With his brothers, Dermot (uilleann pipes, small pipes, whistles) once founded the band Malin Head, at one time featuring the likes of Tony McManus (<a href="../../38/e/cds1.html#mcma">#38</a>) und Lorraine Jordan (<a href="../../23/e/cds2.html#jord">#23</a>). Bavarian Tom Hake (bouzouki, guitar, harp) came from Viennese song and cabaret, having spent many years involved in theatre-related projects. They met at a folk festival in Austria several years ago (probably Gutenbrunn I'd guess) and launched a musical friendship. Their second album "The Red Line" presents tightly arranged dance music and slow airs, performed with virtuosity and skill. Dermot's own compositions in the Irish, Scottish and Breton vein make up a large part of the repertory. I wasn't surprised when I heard that he is a studied architect. His tunes and arrangements are well-crafted, I for sure wouldn't regret it that he gave up architecture to become a professional musician. "The Red Line" also features three of Dermot's original songs, with themes such as witchcraft, the Great Famine, and the sweatshops of Chicago. Not bad, but I personally prefer their instrumental music. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.pipeline-music.com">www.pipeline-music.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="buff"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Desi Wilkinson, Mairtin O'Connor, Frank Hall, Lena Ullman "Buffalo in the Castle" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: deas 002; 2009</i></font></center> When the English folk collector Cecil Sharp (<a HREF="../../26/e/nshift08.html#sharp">FW#26</a>) visited the Appalachians in 1916, he found songs and tunes virtually unchanged for decades or even centuries. American old-time music largely has its roots in Scotch-Irish music, what is nowadays sometimes called Ulster Scots music (<a href="nshift.html#cooper">#40</a>). Belfastman <b>Desi Wilkinson</b>, who started this exploration inspired by the traditions of Irish and American old-time music, is one of the best traditional Irish flutists around. He recorded four albums with his band Cran (<a HREF="../../4/cds2e.html#c">#4</a>) and two solo albums. His collaborators here are Irish button accordionist <b>Mairtin O'Connor</b> (<a href="../../22/e/cds2.html#ocon">#22</a>, <a href="../../24/d/cds2.html#ocon">#24</a>, <a href="../../38/e/cds1.html#ocon">#38</a>, <a href="../../39/e/cds5.html#ocon">#39</a>), Swedish <b>Lena Ullman</b> playing clawhammer-style five-string banjo (<a HREF="../../30/e/nshift12.html#perlman">#30</a>), and American old-time fiddler <b>Frank Hall</b>, both residing in Ireland for a couple of years. The musical connection between Irish and American traditional music is made clear in the very first track, "Jack n Biddy's Son John," a tour de force from the northern Irish County Antrim ("Jackson's Coagy") to Kentucky ("John Riley the Shepherd") to a Sliabh Luachra polka ("Biddy Martin's"). The title track "Buffalo in the Castle" is made up of an "Indian Two-Step" (by way of the playing of John J Kimmel, New Yorker melodeon player of German ancestry -> <a href="../../34/e/girish.html">#34</a>), the mid western "Hunting the Buffalo," and the Irish reel "Castle Kelly" sandwiched in between them. There are jigs and reels, step and square dances, and there's polkas, which reminds us that American old-time music is not purely Scotch-Irish but interacting with Scandinavian and German music. As gorgeous as the instrumental music is, there is Celtic mouth music and there are songs too, sung by Desi, Lena and Frank: for example "The Frog's Wedding," a version collected in County Fermanagh, but the song has been around the British-Irish Isles and North America since the 17th century. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.buffalocastle.com/">www.buffalocastle.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="vent"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Le Vent du Nord "La Part du Feu" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.borealisrecords.com">Borealis</a>; BCD199; 2009</i></font></center> The sound of Quebec's <a HREF="http://www.leventdunord.com"><b>Le Vent du Nord</b></a> hasn't changed that much over the past six years, four recordings and hundreds of live shows (<a href="../../29/e/cds1.html#vent">FW#29</a>, <a href="../../30/d/tonder.html#canada">#30</a>, <a href="../../31/e/cds7.html#vent">#31</a>, <a href="../../32/e/tonder.html#lun">#32</a>, <a href="../../35/e/cds3.html#vent">#35</a>, <a href="../../34/e/tonder.html#vent">#34</a>, <a href="../../36/e/cds4.html#leve">#36</a>, <a href="../../38/d/cds6.html#vent">#38</a>). You might interprete this as consolidation or stagnancy. But why change a successful formula? Their playing is tight than ever, the arrangements never dull, and the choice of songs quite imaginative, including an original tune written for <i>Mamzelle</i> Nuala Kennedy (<a href="../../33/e/cds1.html#flut">#33</a>, <a href="../../36/d/spring.html">#36</a>), and one of Canada's oldest songs, "Montcalm," written inside General Montcalm's tent after the Battle of Carillon in 1758. Listen carefully there might be new things to discover, maybe a bit more reflective moments than before. Having heard the band live at this year's T&oslash;nder Festival (<a href="tonder.html">#40</a>), the concert being a high-octane joy ride from beginning to end, "La Part du Feu" (literally <i>the fire's part</i>, i.e. to cut one's losses) is much more varied, but with as much fun. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.leventdunord.com">www.leventdunord.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="kaas"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Torben Kaas "On the Other Hand" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Gateway Music; 2009</i></font></center> <i>He came into town with the falling rain. He picked up his guitar and then he started playing. His heart was humming a simple tune ..</i> (from "Dark and Dirty Blues"). Danish singer-songwriter <a HREF="http://www.torbenkass.dk"><b>Torben Kaas</b></a> presents eleven tracks on his debut album "On the Other Hand". With just vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica interludes he recreates the early Bob Dylan (minus the traditional songs Dylan sang), though Torben might even sound like Irish band's Kila frontman Ronan O'Snodaigh (<a href="tonder.html#kila">FW#40</a>) on one track. Odd comparison maybe. Torben penned a couple of excellent folk ballads, reminiscing the sound of the sixties. Mr Zimmerman could be proud of this one, or maybe it takes him to an early grave, because "On the Other Hand" makes a better Christmas present than Dylan's own soulless and uninspired Yuletide album (<a href="news.html#dylan">#40</a>). Torben Kaas brings back the spirit of the folk songsters 40 years ago. You might even forget that this is from a place called Sandved in Denmark, not Greenwich Village, New York. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.torbenkaas.dk">www.torbenkaas.dk</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="mccl"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Jamie McClennan "In Transit" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.whitefallrecords.com/">White Fall Records</a>; WFRCD002; 2009</i></font></center> <a href="http://www.jamiemcclennan.com/"><b>Jamie McClennan</b></a> (<a href="../d/barde.html#emil">FW#40</a>) is best known as the guitar player of the <a href="http://www.emilysmithband.com">Emily Smith Band</a> (<a href="../../24/e/cds3.html#smit">#24</a>, <a href="../../31/e/cds7.html#smi2">#31</a>, <a href="../../36/e/cds5.html#smit">#36</a>). However, he also is an awesome fiddle player. A short biography: Jamie grew up in Hamilton, New Zealand, where his parents run a folk club and folk festival during the seventies and eighties. He got interested in the violin and took up classical lessons, later forsaking it for folk and blues music. In New Zealand s capital Wellington he formed a traditional Celtic group called The Last Drop, featuring Gerry Paul (guitar), Andy Laking (bass) and Alan Doherty (whistle, flute). Whereas his bandmates left for Ireland and formed the band <a href="http://www.gradamusic.com/">Grada</a> (<a href="../../23/e/cds2.html#grada">#23</a>, <a href="../../30/e/cds2.html#grad">#30</a>, <a href="../../33/e/cds1.html#grad">#33</a>), Jamie moved to Scotland and eventually joined Emily Smith and became her lead guitarist. On his debut solo album "In Transit" Jamie is back at the fiddle. It is a collection of original tunes written while on the road (hence the album title). The CD kicks off with "Emily's Wee Tune," a nice swinging jig, leading into the title tune "In Transit," a reel positioned somewhere mid Atlantic with some jazzy, bluegrassy interludes. The next set of tunes ("The Sunspot/Fun With Colin/Tune for Eilidh") would fit into any traditional Irish session, including some distorted twin whistles (one by Jamie himself). And so forth, there's fiery dance tunes as well as bucolic airs. Highlights are the funky "Demon Ducks of Doom" (not just because of the title), the poignant "Road to Bennan" with Jamie on fiddle, mandolin and guitar, and the final air "Horizontal Living" (another interesting title, Jamie generally give no hints about his nomenclature). The selection and performance draws on both traditional Scottish and Irish fiddle music and Jamie's fondness for American blues and bluegrass. He is accompanied by his former bandmates Gerry (both acoustic and electric guitar) and Alan, plus double bass player Duncan Lyall of Emily's band, Emily herself on piano on one track, percussionist Fraser Stone of <a href="http://www.oldblinddogs.co.uk">Old Blind Dogs</a> fame (<a href="../../28/e/cds5.html#oldb">#28</a>, <a href="../../31/e/cds6.html#oldb">#31</a>, <a href="../../36/e/cds1.html#oldb">#36</a>), Canadian newgrass mandolinist <a href="http://www.sytesounds.com/">Andrew Collins</a> and cello player <a href="http://www.ashtreemusic.com/">Adelaide Carlow</a>. If we're lucky, the voyage has only just begun ... <br><i><a HREF="http://www.jamiemcclennan.com/">www.jamiemcclennan.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="rhyt"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Rhythmnreel "The Crossing" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: Own label; REELCD3; 2009</i></font></center> <a HREF="http://www.rhythmnreel.co.uk/"><b>Rhythmnreel</b></a> is a folk rock band from the Scottish Highlands, featuring triple fiddles (that share duties between their live gigs), bagpipes, accordion, plus electric guitar, bass and drums. "The Crossing" is kicking off with an infectious set of four tunes: the first tune is "Merrily Danced The Quaker's Wife" (substitute <i>Dance</i> with <i>Kissed</i>, that's the better known title, and Rhythmnreel is leaving out the third part). The last track is a live recording of CCR's "Bad Moon Rising," including Dougie Pincock's "Rising Moon Reel;" so that's more or less the Battlefield Band (<a href="cds3.html#batt">FW#40</a>) version here from the mid nineties. What strikes me most is that singer Dave Fleming comes close to John Fogerty. However, Rhythmnreel almost never leaves safe ground: Steve "Earle's "Galway Girl", Neil Young's "Harvest Moon", Jimmy MacCarthy "Ride On", tunes such as "Hector the Hero" (by James Scott Skinner -> <a href="../../25/e/skinner.html">#25</a>), "Drowsy Maggie", "Ze(e)to the Bubbleman" (by the late Highland piper Duncan Gordon -> <a href="../../25/e/cds1.html#dunc">#25</a>; and, yes, the sound is reminiscing Ceolbeg and/or Wolfstone here -> <a HREF="../../2/cds2d.html#w">#2</a>, <a HREF="../../14/e/cds1.html#ceol">#14</a>), "The Banshee Reel" (Rhythmnreel is one of the few bands who are aware of its composer, one James McMahon). Taking no risks saves the band from greatness. If this sounds much too negative, let me tell you that this studio recording is beautifully performed, the arrangements are quite imaginative, and Rhythmnreel certainly is a tight live band. I'm also sure that they are funny and witty lads and lasses, if only naming a set of tunes "See You Jimi", featuring certain electric guitar riffs by the great late Seattle guitarist. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.rhythmnreel.co.uk/">www.rhythmnreel.co.uk</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><a name="orio"><center> <font size=5 color="4169e1"><b>Orion "Strawberry Town" </b></font><br> <font size=4 color="#008000"><i>Label: <a HREF="http://www.keltiamusique.com">Keltia Musique</a>; RSCD 295; 2009</i></font></center> Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator. Because of its multitude of bright stars, it is the most conspicuous and most recognizable constellation in the winter sky and has impressed mankind since time began. The same can be said of the band which members named themselves <a HREF="http://www.orionceltic.com"><b>Orion</b></a> (<a HREF="../../10/e/cds1.html#orio">FW#10</a>, <a HREF="../../11/e/orion.html">#11</a>). Not for millennia but at least for the past 22 years, when this outfit took off of the ground. Since then the band has undergone a number of line-up changes. Besides a couple of guest musicians on "Strawberry Town" to give it a fuller orchestration where needed, the core group these days consists of five fine and innovative instrumentalists: Belgian accordionist Raquel Gigot and fiddler and nyckelharpa player Rudy Velghe were founding members two decades ago. Breton keyboard player Gwenal Micault has already played with Orion in the early nineties; he rejoined the band after having played with folk acts such as Amorroma (<a HREF="../../20/e/cds1.html#merc">#20</a>), Lais (<a href="../../31/e/cds7.html#lais">#31</a>), Ialma (<a href="../../25/e/cds3.html#ialm">#25</a>) and Camaxe (<a href="../../38/e/cds1.html#cama">#38</a>) in the intervening years. His fellow-contryman Erwan Berenguer is a young guitarist who also plays in several fest noz groups (e.g. Spontus -> <a href="../../23/e/cds3.html#spon">#23</a>), and stood in for guitarists Gilles Le Bigot (<a href="../../24/e/cds1.html#lebi">#24</a>) with Skolvan (<a href="../../30/e/cds1.html#skol">#30</a>) and Nicolas Quemener (<a href="../../27/e/cds3.html#hude">#27</a>) with Skeduz. Finally, Irishman John Faulkner, best known for his work with Dolores Keane (<a HREF="../../10/d/irishcd.html">#10</a>), is responsible for the vocals. Here he contributes an original song (a variant of the well-known "Bruton Town"), who gives the album its title, and a set of mouth music. "Strawberry Town", Orion's fourth album in two decades and itself seven years in the making, features almost exclusively original tunes by Velghe and Gigot (except a set of traditional Flemish dance tunes and, thanks to the arrangement, a musette-type waltz by one Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (KV 421)): jigs, reels, hornpipes, airs, a menuet, blending Irish and Scottish music with different influences -- not only Flemish and Breton but from the Balkans to Scandinavia, and Paris to Pennsylvania. Thus they produce a totally unique sound which is at the same time sophisticated and catchy. Sure Velghe, Gigot & Co are no shooting stars, but quite evolved <i>on the main sequence</i>, as astronomers would say. Orion still shines bright. Just as their namesake does on the firmament. <br><i><a HREF="http://www.orionceltic.com">www.orionceltic.com</a></i><br> <A HREF="../../fw/staff.html#staff">Walkin' T:-)M</A></p><hr color="#0000CD"> <p><table align="center" bgcolor="#add8e6" cellpadding=20 border=5 bordercolor="#EEFFFA"> <tr><td> <p><b>More CD Reviews:</b> <a href="../e/cds1.html">Page 1</a> - <a href="../e/cds2.html">Page 2</a> - <a href="../e/cds3.html">Page 3</a> - <a href="../e/cds4.html">Page 4</a> - <a href="../e/cds5.html">Page 5</a> - <a href="../e/cds6.html">Page 6</a> <br><b>German Reviews:</b> <a href="../d/cds1.html">Page 1</a> - <a href="../d/cds2.html">Page 2</a> - <a href="../d/cds3.html">Page 3</a> - <a href="../d/cds4.html">Page 4</a> - <a href="../d/cds5.html">Page 5</a> <!-- - <a href="../d/cds6.html">Page 6</a> --> <p> <center> <font size=+1> <a href="cds.html">Overview CD Reviews</a> <br><br> <a href="index.html#up">Back to FolkWorld Content</a></font> </center> </p> </td></tr> </table> <p><font size=-1>&#169 <a HREF="../../fw/staff.html">The Mollis</a> - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 11/2009</font> <p><FONT FACE="Arial" SIZE=-2>All material published in FolkWorld is &#169 The Author via FolkWorld. 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