FolkWorld #47: CD Reviews
FolkWorld #47 03/2012

CD & DVD Reviews

Maria Rylander "Facing South"
Own label, 2011

www.mariarylander.se

Maria Rylander is a Swedish singer and Facing south is her first solo album which she released on her very own label. Together with a jazz sextet with musicians from several nationalities on piano, cello, guitar, drums, bass and backings, she brings eleven original songs. Not folk at all, so I keep the review short, a very well produced album by a young singer with a great voice, backed by a strong professional group of musicians. Her style is the smooth, late night jazz in a bit traditional way with small personal touches. A few beautiful ballads that sound almost a bit gospel or bluesy, a heartwarming album for the cold winter nights. Very nice.
© Eelco Schilder


Dwight Lamb & Jensen & Bugge "Live in Denmark 2010"
Gofolk, 2011

Habadekuk "Hopsadaddy"
Gofolk, 2010

www.jensen-bugge.dk
www.habadekuk.dk

A very special album indeed, this collaboration between the known Danish musicians Jensen & Bugge and the accordionist/violinist Dwight Lamb from the US. Lamb’s grandfather emigrated from Denmark to the US in the late 19th century. He keeps the Danish traditional music which he learned from his grandfather alive in home state Iowa. When Jensen & Bugge were asked for a festival in the US in 2008, Lamb was invited at their request. This first meeting was the first step towards this live album which was recorded when Lamb visited Denmark in 2010. On the album nineteen traditional dances which Lamb remembered from his grandfather are recorded. This is music in his purest form, no trick, no unnecessary overdubs or complicated ‘modern’ musical arrangements. Danish tradition in all its glory with a main role for the accordion accompanied with violin and piano at several moments. An album which will be like by lovers of the traditional Danish stuff.
On the second album in this review it’s again Kristian Bugge who is part of the band. Habadekuk is a young, dynamic band, or actually a small orchestra with nine musicians. On this album Hopsadaddy they play a mixture of original and traditional Danish tunes in a brass setting. Although brass is really hot in many styles and traditions at the moment, think Bellowhead, it’s not often that I heard it used in Danish traditional (more or less) music. It really works out really well. It’s a happy album with passionate, energetic music with blowing brass sections, sparkling banjo parts, rhythmic piano, dancing violin and so much more. This band shows another side of Danish folk music and shows how interesting it can be to crossover styles and ideas.
© Eelco Schilder


Blink "Blink"
Norcd, 2011

www.musicblink.net

Four woman from five countries, that sounds a bit strange but it is exactly what the international quartet is. With members from Estonia, Finland, Sweden and a Danish/Norwegian musician it explains why the five nationalities. On the final track Agnetes vuggevise the quartet is joined by the Finnish accordionist Maria Kalaniemi. The four woman met about two and a half year ago when starting their Master education in music. Since that moment they have been touring around searching for traditional (Nordic) music and start creating their own style of music. The album contains a very fine collection of traditional (more or less) compositions from the Northern parts of Europe, played on string instruments such as the kantele, fiddle, nyckelharpa and more. Besides that, this album contains some great (harmony) singing in the best Nordic tradition. It’s a remarkable debut album by four young musicians, top quality music and a kind of journey through the typical styles and sounds of Northern Europe in open minded, fresh and modern acoustic musical arrangement. Besides that, the album is well produced by Maria Kalaniemi. If these four keep on playing like they do on their debut album, I can’t wait to hear their future albums. No time to hesitate, time to buy the album!
© Eelco Schilder


Moncef Ghachem, Biagio Guerrera & Pocket Poetry Orchestra
"Quelli che bruciano la frontier"
Folkclub Ethnosuoni, 2011

The Tunisian poet Moncef Ghachem and the Sicilian performer Biagio Guerrera recorded together with the Pocket poetry orchestra a new album on which they combine poetry and music. This results into an exciting album, with a strong atmosphere. Like a crossroad of cultures and musical styles, a meeting between sounds and spoken word. This album is like a personal story told from the heart and soul of the musicians. Sometimes surprisingly sober and at other moments rough and a bit chaotic. Beautiful how these artists create pictures and landscapes with their instruments and voices. Not an easy album to listen to, but it is such an album that I have to listen to over and over again and discover new sounds, new emotions. With African, Arabic, Mediterranean, jazz, folk and so much more styles brought together this is a real crossover album telling about the beauty of these Southern regions. Recommended album.
© Eelco Schilder


Mandolinman "Old Tunes, Dusted Down"
Own label, 2011

www.mandolinman.be

During the past ten years I have reviewed a few mandolin albums, mostly Italian and mainly the cliché sound one expects from a mandolin orchestra. Most of them I gave to my grandfather who loved them. But this Belgian one is a keeper, not only because my grandfather died half a year ago, mainly because this is a really nice album. Four mandolin (mandola/mandocello) players from Belgium play on this debut album eleven tracks as a tribute to Hubert Boone. Boone is a well known Belgium traditional musician and collector of traditional songs and dances. All tracks come from his collection and show the richness of the Flemish traditional repertoire in a different way than I’m used to. The mandolin is not an instrument that you will find a lot in Belgian traditional music. Playing these tunes on this instrument gives a whole new, sparkling sound to the ancient tunes. From the first till the last seconds the musicians throw all their enthusiasm into the music and play virtuosic dances and sometimes soft melodic, almost instrumental ballad kind of music. Great album for both the mandolin freaks and those who love traditional music from Flanders.
© Eelco Schilder


Lepistö & Lehti "Moskova"
Aito Records, 2011

www.lepistolehti.com

Two of Finland best known (folk) musicians joined together and created an acoustic duo. Lepistö is known for his fabulous accordion work with bands such as Värttinä and Pirnales and of course his solo work. Lehti is known for his great upright bass work, also with Värttinä and many other bands and projects. This is the duo’s new album with eight original and one traditional tune. All on accordion, bass some flute and an occasional vocal. Two masters at work, mixing traditional Nordic elements with tango, world grooves, jazz, improvisation and contemporary sounds. This results in a creative, intriguing album with a full, rich sound. These two great musicians show their top quality in both expressive and minimalistic compositions. An album with many faces, great for lovers of the accordion, crossover-traditional sounds and for those who just like quality music.
© Eelco Schilder


Kenneth de Gala "Spursmann"
Etniskmusikklubb, 2011

www.degala.no

Kenneth de Gala is a Norwegian Hardanger fiddle player and a pupil of known musicians such as Hauk Buen. On this solo album he plays dances from Numedal and Telemark, pure hardanger fiddle only. A very nice album with thirteen pieces that shows the talent of de Gala. He plays technically very well and he brings the dances in a vivid way. This debut album shows he got the techniques, now I think he needs to develop a bit more his own personal sound. Although I think the music is of high quality, it needs more personality to be really different than the many other Hardager fiddler albums I have. But seen the fact that this is only his first album and the quality is really promising, I hope that de Gala keeps developing his own playing style so his music only gets better and within a few years he really adds something new to the rich tradition of one of the most beautiful instruments ever.
© Eelco Schilder


Pádraigín ní Uallacháin "Songs of the Scribe"
Ceoltai, 2011

www.irishsong.com

Pádraigín ní Uallacháin is an Irish singer from Oriel in southeast Ulster. Her focus is not the traditional music only, on her nine albums you can also find work of contemporary poets and own compositions. On this ninth album she sings and plays the drones and bells and is backed by Helen Davies on harp, monochord and Tibetan bowl. The work on this album comes from the 9th and 11th century mostly and has a wonderful, almost sacral atmosphere. Ní Uallacháin has a beautiful, balanced voice and brings the atmosphere of the compositions impressively beautiful into the living room. I love the minimalistic arrangements with only the soft sounds of the bells, drones, monochord and harp. It has a pureness without being to dreamy or getting into the vague world of new age music. An album that needs to be heard and bewitches the listener somehow with its ancient feeling. It makes the world go quiet and rests a worried mind.
© Eelco Schilder


Bowing 9 "Force majeur"
Dimma, 2011

Marin/Marin "Småfolket"
Dimma, 2011

www.miamarin.com

Two new Swedish albums, both with the Swedish fiddlers Mia and Mikael Marin. First one is the debut album of the small string orchestra Bowing 9 and is called Force majeure. This group brings together six violins, two viola, one cello and a double bass. They call themselves the first Swedish folk string orchestra and play original compositions, deeply rooted in the Swedish violin tradition, but also with classical touches. The first tune, a composition by Mia Marin, is a wonderful start of this intriguing album. A moody, bit dark piece that mixes the traditional and classical aspects perfectly. Over six minutes of hauntingly beautiful music. More in the Swedish tradition is the Olof Misgeld composition Brädmarsch. A nice full sound, a composition that goes round and round, both recognizable and renewing. Actually these first two compositions tell the story of the album, sometime close to the tradition, but on other moments a more own crossover sound. For example the Mikael Marin composition Dead-beat Pete that sounds like an acoustic violin version of a heavy rock song or the melancholy of the Leo Svensson composition Force majeure. A special album with intriguing Swedish folk strings 2.0. This orchestra can easily become one of the major Swedish music acts in very near future.
Two of the members of Bowing 9 recorded their own album. Marin/Marin and the album is called Småfolket. A duet between violin and viola, fifteen tracks long with both traditional and original compositions. Mikael is probably the best internationally known one from this couple as one of the Väsen musicians. This album is much more tradition orientated compared with the Bowing 9 album, but again of a high, professional quality. The strong choice of repertoire is brought with passion and pleasure and this duo knows how to put emotion in their play by making subtle changes. Besides that, they play at such high level that this album is a real treat for everybody who loves (Swedish) violin music. Two strong albums, time for me to visit this Dimma label website and see what else they got to offer.
© Eelco Schilder


Tron Syversen "Peaceful Journey"
TKmusic, 2011

www.tronmusic.com

Peaceful journey is an album for relaxation and well-being, a new age album pur-sang, dreamy, moody and predictable. Great on those relaxing moments, but all these albums sound so terribly the same and almost sound like they are composed using a standard pattern. And to be honest, the compositions come very close to ‘music for millions’ compositions. The piano play in Rivers is far from relaxing, same as the wall of electronic sounds and these terrible airy voices. It makes me nervous instead of calm me down. For those who are into new age music, check the webpage, never believe my opinion, always judge for yourself.
© Eelco Schilder


American Café Orchestra "Nightmare Polka"
Own label, 2011

German CD Review

www.americancafeorchestra.com

The name of the band suggests something totally different than what you get. The album is recorded in Finland and the group exists out of the Danish guitarist Morten Alfred Høirup, the Finnish bass/jaw harp/flute player Tapani Varis and the American violinist Ruthie Dornfeld. On this CD you find fourteen original compositions in a kind of contemporary folk style with influences from the Nordic countries , folk, Americana, blues and sort like. An fresh, sparkling album with well played acoustic instrumental folk music. Dornfeld is a great violinist, she has a beautiful full and rich sound. She is beautifully backed by the great guitar play and the overtone flutes and jaw harp of Varis give the music just this bit extra that makes it exciting to listen to. A wonderful album by three top musicians.
© Eelco Schilder


Uwe Gronau "Time Rider"
Own label, 2012

www.uwe-gronau.de

Latest album by pianist, composer and singer Uwe Gronau. Twenty new compositions, mostly played on paina, synthesizer and Hammond. A few guest musicians back him on guitar, percussion and vocals. I have to be very honest and say that this is far from my style of music. Too much electronic sounds, although I love the Hammond organ, and somehow music that sound to artificial to me. It’s nice to hear how he finds new sounds and mixes several styles into his very own kind of lounge styled music. But for a more objective opinion it’s better to visit his webpage and see for yourself, maybe you like this kind of ‘cinematic’ music.
© Eelco Schilder


Abdelli "Destiny"
Zimbraz / Music & Words, 2011

www.abdelli.com

Abdelli is an Algerian singer/composer. This is his fourth solo album with fifteen new compositions. Backed by an international band including (traditional) musicians from Belgium, Pakistan, Algeria, Tunisia, Armenia, Morocco, Brazil, Venezuela and so on. Abdelli shows his quality as both a singer and composer. His songs are a real crossroad of styles and traditions. He brings together his own identity with those of the many cultures found in his band and beyond. His music is beautiful, rich and devoted without being complicated. Abdelli manages to bring all elements together and create a very accessible sound. A very nice new album from a devoted artist.
© Eelco Schilder


Dapper’s Delight "Indoors
Karnatic Lab, 2011

www.dappersdelight.com

Dapper's Delight is a duo consisting out of recorder player and singer Susanne Borsch and anglo concertina player and singer Adrian Brown. They bring on this album thirteen 16 - 18th century dance music and songs from England and Italy. This is the duo’s debut album in a nice digi pack with a very informative booklet. The CD starts with ten minutes of English and Italian dances, duet between recorder and concertina. Strong techniques, but not always balanced in sound. The recorder is a bit too loud at moments compared to the concertina and a few times it has an uncomfortable sharpness. Not sure if that is the meaning of the piece or it slipped through the mixing process. It happens a few times more on the album that the nice music is interrupted by a too sharp sound, a pity. The songs are actually very nice. Not the best singers, but with feeling and from the hearth. I like that, it has a fragility that I appreciate. A strange album and I actually don’t know what to think. Two good musicians, beautiful repertoire but somehow it needs some adjusting and sounds a bit unfinished at moments.
© Eelco Schilder


Mehl Consortium "City Views"
Jawo, 2011

Kerberbrothers Alpenfusion "Rising Alps"
Jawo, 2011

Squeeze "Live"
Jawo, 2011

www.fummq.de
www.kerberbrothers.de
www.retoweber.ch

Three new albums on the Jawo jazz label. This great German label keeps on publishing a few fine jazz albums each year, until now top music only!
First the Mehl Consortium with their City views album. This album contains original so called ‘city compositions’ composed by saxophonist Magnus Mehl. He is backed by six musicians on piano, drums, trumpet, trombone, double bass and guitar. A friendly album with modern jazz with great sax parts, rhythmic piano parts and much more. For lovers of the more standard modern jazz music of above average quality.
The Kerberbrothers Alpenfusion bring together traditional instruments and elements with strong modern jazz vibes. All original compositions are played on a mixture of traditional instruments such as the dulcimer, alphorn and zither and on modern (jazz) instruments such as the saxophone, trumpet drums, guitar and so much more. An album of constant high quality with melodies inspired by traditional sounds, but turned into modern sounding compositions. Sometimes the music almost sounds Asian or even Cuban at moments. Great how they play with styles and create a whole new kind of creative world-jazz. An intriguing album. The third and last one is a more upbeat album. The band is called Squeezband and this is a live recording from march 2010. This septet brings rhythmic funky world jazz with a great energetic vibe. Lovely funky beats come together with African and Latin sounds. What I like is the pure and natural sound of the music, often one of two instruments only with a main role for the human beat box. The most modern sounding album of the three with both ‘old school’ and real 21st century sounds and arrangements.
© Eelco Schilder


Cankisou "Faÿt"
Indies Scope Records, 2011

www.cankisou.cz

This is one fascinating listen. This seven-member band comes from the Czech Republic and plays ethnic music that sounds even more Middle Eastern in style. But the fascinating part is their use of both rock arrangements and a touch of electronica to create a deep dark atmosphere for these songs. This kind of combination does not often work, but this band finds a balance that is engaging and varied enough to pull in a lot of listeners. If you want to rock out a bit, and also love world musical variations, this album will provide plenty of thrills.
© David Hintz


Cankisou "Faÿt"
Indies, 2011

Musica folklorica "Spal bych, spal bych, žena mi nedá"
Indies, 2011

Jarret "Zahrany"
Indies, 2011

Various Artists "Antologie moravské lidové hudby
CD 3 - Dolňácko 2"
Indies, 2011

www.cankisou.cz
www.jarret.cz

A few albums from the Czech Indies label, starting with the new album by the band Cankisou. This Czech band was founded in 1999 and this is their fifth album. The band mixes (heavy) rock with ethnic touches from all over the world. You might hear some Tuva throat singing, heavy Arabic influenced beats, North African rhythms and Eastern European melodies and so much more. All of this mixed with strong electric guitars, beating drums and a energetic singer. This band shows some passion and pleasure in playing, the album contains some fantastic progressive rock music with roots elements. A really nice treat for those who like crossover rock records with 100% energy, really nice one!
Totally different is the album by Musica folklorica which contains acoustic and mainly traditional material. This quartet is formed around the hammered dulcimer and has the violins and bass as other instruments besides the vocals. The band plays traditional tunes from the Moravia and Slovakia, but also some Hungarian and Romanian music. What you see is what you get, fine folk music with a main role for the violins and dulcimer. Sung with a bit heavy male vocals which give a nice contrast against the more airy instrumental parts. There is a guest female vocalist, nice extra. Some songs are known from other bands, but most are new for me. A decent album, played really well but not in a renewing way at all. Solid traditional music.
Back to some more modern music by the band Jarret. This new album turns out to be a soft-rock styled CD with folk and jazz influences. A bit dreamy now and then but most of all a bit old fashioned. It’s like I hear an album from fifteen years ago, the way they arranged the music, the added electronic sounds and the easy going pop-rock touches. At a few occasions it even gets a bit to mainstream after my personal taste. Not a bad album at all, nice occasional seventies grooves, nineties sounds but not much that reminds of the 21th century.
German CD Review Finally an compilation album by various artists with traditional folk music from Moravia. This is CD number three from a set of four. Moravia is a region of the Czech republic with a very ancient and own folk music tradition. This four CD set gives a beautiful glimpse of the richness of this tradition. Instrumental dances, folk ballads, children songs and much more played by a wide variation of folk musicians. The CD’s include a booklet with background information about the musicians and their music in English. A beautiful project with music from a tradition that deserves to be heard.
© Eelco Schilder



FolkWorld Homepage German Content English Content Editorial & Commentary News & Gossip Letters to the Editors CD & DVD Reviews Book Reviews Folk for Children Folk & Roots Online Guide - Archives & External Links Search FolkWorld Info & Contact


FolkWorld - Home of European Music
FolkWorld Homepage
Layout & Idea of FolkWorld © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld