FolkWorld #55 11/2014

CD & DVD Reviews

Cran "Dally and Stray"
Black Rose Records, 2014

Article: The Next Market Day

Artist Video

www.cranmusic.com

No band with a big name on the continental mainland, but quite legendary and they have already been on tour in Germany and Austria. Irish trad band Cran[4] has developed a recognizable sound, thanks to uilleann piper Ronan Browne,[21][24][45] grandson of the renowned traditional singer Delia Murphy,[51] flutist Desi Wilkinson[40][51] and singer and bouzouki player Seán Corcoran. Always quite special has been their selection and treatment of songs. For example, their altogether 5th album features Seán’s reworking of the old Northern Irish song "The Next Market Day". The album title “Dally and Stray” is a quote from this song. "Tá Mé i Mo Shuí" (I am Awake) is one of the great sad love songs from the Donegal Gaeltacht, "Cailleach an Airgead" is an old dance song from Connemara in jig tempo, "O Cò Bheir Mi Leam" is a Scottish waulking song. Both "Tú Féin" (Just You and Me) and "Giolla Na Scríob" (The Rakish Young Lad) were notated by Patrick Lynch in Mayo in 1802 writing down Irish-language songs texts for the Belfast music-collector Edward Bunting. Bunting never published it, and these arrangements here are Seán’s attempt to fit Lynch’s text with Bunting’s musical notes. Each verse in Irish is followed by a translation verse in English. There are vivacious and well-arranged tune sets as well (though there's a rough edge about the performance which I like very much). "Hunt the Squirrel" is an old country dance (or contradance as it is called these days), "The Humours of Glin" recalls the old tradition of 18th century pipers and fiddlers to play dance tunes the piece way, i.e. taking a jig and slowing it down to waltz time, then adding as many variations and ornamentations as possible. The trio also points out that there once were single reels, fast dance tunes in 2/4 time which are often mistaken for polkas these days, which makes "The Knockaboul" to a single reel and not to a Kerry polka.
© Walkin' T:-)M


The Voice Squad "Concerning of Three Young Men"
TARA Music, 2014

Artist Video

www.philcallery.com

In the Irish tradition songs are rendered a capella but usually no harmonies are involved. The Voice Squad, who first performed together in 1985, managed to blend the tradition of British close harmony singing in the style of The Copper Family or The Watersons with the traditional Irish folk song repertoire. After a ten year break, the Voice Squad reformed for a St. Patrick's Day concert in Dublin's National Concert Hall. Subsequently they recorded a new studio album, the first in over twenty years, lifting songs from the singing of Eithne Ní Uallachain, Paddy Tunney, Nic Jones, Peter Bellamy and Luke Kelly. There's old favourites such as "The Bonny Light Horseman" and "The Rambling Irishman" the American sacred harp hymn "Wondrous Love" and Ron Kavana's "Reconciliation", and "The Boar’s Head Carol" for Christmas time. The tenor voices of Fran McPhail and Phil Callery and the baritone of Gerry Cullen create some spine-tingling harmonies. All lyrics are in the booklet, complete with sources info and Roud number.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Runa "Current Affairs"
Own label, 2014

Artist Video

www.runamusic.com

The 4th album of Runa[41][45][51] and their current affairs led them to include original music for the very first time. Shannon Lambert-Ryan and Fionán de Barra have written an original song, “The Ruthless Wife,” based on the story of Lambert-Ryan’s great-great grandfather, a Philadelphia cop killed on the beat. What's more? "The Banks Are Made of Marble" is a labour song from the 1930s as sung by Pete Seeger (incidentally recorded in the night Pete Seeger died). "Ain't No Grave" is a contemporary gospel song, covered from Johnny Cash to Norah Jones, and "Who Will Sing Me Lullabies" Kate Rusby's lament for the late Scottish singer Davy Steele. Furthermore, two Child ballads (#3 False Knight, #79 Wife of Usher's Well) and a Scots and Irish Gaelic piece, respectively. The group with Philadelphia’s husband wife duo Lambert-Ryan/De Barra at the core has became a five piece where everybody gives some input: Montreal’s percussionist Cheryl Prashker, and lately Galway mandolin/banjo player Dave Curley and Kentucky fiddler Maggie Estes White. Furthermore, they employed banjo player Ron Block (Alison Krauss & Union Station), harmonica player Buddy Greene (Kentucky Thunder) and accordionist Jeff Taylor (Paul Simon, Elvis Costello) to built a rootsy power station. Powered by natural resources rather than electricity or atomic energy.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Kevin Madden "The Sugar Loaf"
Own label, 2014

www.kevinmaddenmusic.com

The Sugar Loaf is a hill located in the Wicklow Mountains in the East of Ireland. Growing up in Kilmacanogue, it was the first thing Kevin Madden's mum would see in the morning. For Manchester fiddler Kevin Madden The Sugar Loaf is a point of reference, it represents home. Kevin started on the fiddle in the British diaspora aged 8 years. The children from an Irish background formed their own ceili band. Kevin explored the London session scene in the mid 1980s, and has won several All-Britain titles, culminating in the Senior All-Ireland Fiddle title in 1996. His debut album sums up the music that he listens and aspires to, the recordings of Joe Cooley and Finbarr Dwyer, Noel Hill and Liz Carroll. It is pure traditional Irish music on the fiddle with piano accompaniment by Gerry Conlon, supplemented by flute (Mike McGoldrick), guitar (Tim Edey) etc. His playing is relaxed and beautifully paced. The selection includes familiar traditional pieces and recently composed tunes, from Scott Skinner's lesser known jig "So I’m of with the good St Nicholas Boat" to Paddy O'Brien, Tommy Peoples and Tim O’Leary. Kevin features some set dances ("Humours of Bandon", "Three Sea Captains"), a slow air ("Sliabh na mBan"), and he didn't play polkas until recently, but is now always trying to fit them into sessions and here the fine set "Ned Kelly’s / Upperchurch Polka / Return of Spring" onto this recording.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Martin Connolly & Maureen Glynn "The Fort of Kincora"
Kincora Records, 1987/2014

Artist Video

www.kincoraaccordions.com

Oh where, Kincora! is Brian the Great ... Kincora (ir. Ceann Coradh = hill above the weirs) on the banks of the Shannon river at Killaloe in Co. Clare had been the seat of Irelands High King 1002-1014. It is also the title of a hornpipe. Martin Connolly's brother Seamus named it so after hearing accordionist Paddy O'Brien play it at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in 1960. Paddy O'Brien (of Tipperary) is one of the heroes of Killaloe native and accordionist Martin Connolly and some of his compositions ("Shrove Tuesday", "Dapper's Delight", ...) are featured on this re-engineered release of 1987 with the late Maureen Glynn on piano and fiddle, who had played with Andy McGann, Felix Dolan and Johnny Cronin in New York City. Seventeen years later Martin Connolly is an accomplished and much-respected musician, teacher and accordion maker in Ennis, Co. Clare (Kincora Accordions). In his youth, music was playing all the time in the Connolly household with musicians such as Paddy O Brien, but also Joe Burke and Charlie and Ben Lennon being regular visitors. Martin Connolly went on to win several All-Ireland titles, and "The Fort of Kincora" is testament to his course over the years (up to 1987 that is). It is a delight from start to end, displaying a B/C accordionist at the top of the game.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Aodán Coyne "If We Only Knew"
Own label, 2014

Artist Video

www.socksinthefryingpan.com

Brought up in the musical Coyne family in Ennis, Co. Clare, Aodán Coyne started playing the guitar at the age of fifteen. From jazz and rock he went to traditional Irish music and explored alternate guitar tunings, especially the DADGAD tuning much favoured in Irish music. Aodán and the brothers Shane and Fiachra Hayes formed the group Socks in the Frying Pan which put old tunes into a youthful environment.[50] Lately, he spent much time with the group, but also managed to put together this collection of (mostly well-known) songs: "Welcome Poor Paddy Home", "Ta Me Mo Shui", "Ballad of Accounting", "Wounded Hussar", but also Aodán's orginals "Time is Short But Free" and "If You Only Knew". Aodán's approach is simple and straight with guitar and bouzouki, a bit of bass and bodhran, and the occasional whistles and pipes. His voice is doing a good job. If we only knew, well, now we know here's a traditional singer who is capable to continue the Irish song tradition and join the ranks of the great Irish vocalists.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Seán Tyrrell "Moonlight on Galway Bay"
Own label, 2014

www.seantyrrell.com

Come Back Paddy Reilly, Carrickfergus, I’ll take you Home Again Kathleen, The Black Velvet Band, Danny Boy, Star of the County Down ... What have all these songs in common? They are Irish classics, others would say corny, trite, hackneyed, ... Two decades ago Davy Spillane suggested to Seán Tyrrell[23][28][41][45] to wrest these songs our fathers sung from the musical zombies and give them a new life. Recently Ronan Browne put it again on the table, and when someone requested "Galway Bay" at a concert, Seán really read the lyrics for the very first time, was drawn into them and presents them now in his own articulated and passionate style. Old as the hills but fresh as a river in spring. In the end, a Seán Tyrrell album is always a pleasure, and there is something in these songs which our forefathers clearly saw and present and future generations might recover.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Anna Falkenau "Féileacán na Saoirse"
Scroll Music, 2014

www.annafalkenau.com

"Féileacán na Saoirse" - Butterfly of Freedom - is not just the title but a fair description of the fiddle player's at the same time rhythmic but gentle style. Anna Falkenau grew up in east Germany but made her home in Ireland. She studied for a Bachelor of Music Degree at University College Cork, being a member of Liz Dohertys Fiddlesticks group. The past decade saw her in Galway City, playing regularly with Johnny Connolly, Mary Shannon, and Johnny Moynihan. With her duo Murray & Falkenau she has toured internationally. So now this is Anna Falkenau's first solo album, featuring tunes from the Irish and American traditions (e.g. the old-time tune "Richmond" which evolved from "Cuckoo's Nest") but also new compositions from herself and others, just to mention the prolific Irish-American fiddler and composer Liz Carroll. Anna is joined by a stellar cast: accompaniment by guitarist Ged Foley (Patrick Street) harpist Holly Geraghty and bodhrán veteran Johnny McDonagh, embellishment by banjo players Lena Ullman (Buffalo in The Castle) and Mary Shannon (Bumblebees, Sharon Shannon Band). However, Anna Falkenau's rootsy playing is always in the centre. Her personal style lends itself equally to swinging jigs, fiery reels and emotional slow airs. The Butterfly of Freedom has started its journey, and we will probably learn more of Anna's art in the coming years.
© Walkin' T:-)M


David Power "The Eighteen Moloney"
Own label, 2014

Artist Video

www.davidpowerup.com

The album title "The Eighteen Moloney" is a reference to an uilleann pipe chanter made by Thomas and Andrew Moloney of Kilrush, Co. Clare, before the Great Famine of the 1840s. The chanter went on a colourful journey and passed through the hands of pipers such as Pat Ward, Willie Rowsome, Sean Reid, and Willie Clancy. The latter made some of his groundbreaking Gael Linn recordings with it. Since 2003, The Eighteen Moloney is in the hands of Waterford piper David Power, who once took piping lessons with Jimmy O’Brien-Moran, Breandán Breathnach, Ronan Browne, and Peter Carberry. The All-Ireland champion from 1992 was additionally influenced by luminaries such as Seamus Ennis and Tommy Reck. David Power made a proper reed for the chanter and matched it with a Johnny Bourke B set. The sound of the pipes comes into air again into the hands of an accomplished piper. The jigs and reels sets are moderately paced, having selected both familiar and less-known tunes from the last 200 years. David Power's performance of slow airs is particularly spine-tingling, whether classic songs such as "Eamon a’ Chnoic" or a less familiar tune such as "Gol na mBan san ár," I only encountered once in my previous life played by the late piping master Tomás Ó Canainn.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha "Draíocht na Feadóige"
Cló Iar-Chonnacht, 2014

www.myspace.com/
neansainichoisdealbha

Originally from Cor na Rón in Indreabhán in Co. Galway (which is the base of Cló Iar-Chonnacht music and book publishers themselves), a small locality that has always been renowned for traditional music, Galway-based flute player Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha started out. In 2010 she was appointed Head of Music at RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, also broadcasting a live two-hour programme every Sunday. Until now she has hidden her skills on the flute from a bigger audience but her first album "Draíocht na Feadóige" puts it into the spotlight. A fine recording it has become, backed up by pianist Jack Talty, bouzouki player Eoin O'Neill and others. Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha has chosen selected pieces from traditional artists and composers such as Michael Gorman, Larry Redican, Ann Conroy Burke, Paddy Fahey, Sean Ryan, Paddy O'Brian, and, from Scotland's shores, Willie Hunter and James Scott Skinner. Lots of fiddlers among them. "Maistir Chor na Ron" is a hornpipe from the pen of Johnny Og Connolly, featuring himself on the melodeon. "Neansai's Reel" and the waltz "Ballyvaughan Boy" are from Clare flutist Michael Hynes, also present in persona on this recording. Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha plays a couple of slow airs as well, namely the great song airs "Taimse im chodladh" and "An Buachaillin Ban". The "Scottish Lament" then is made up from an old strathspey. Both spirited and stately, "Draíocht na Feadóige" is a well-chosen and well-executed selection of traditional Irish flute music.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Goitse "Tall Tales & Misadventures"
Own label, 2014

Artist Video

www.goitse.ie

The Irish trad group Goitse (Irish greeting meaning come here) has been formed in 2010 at Limerick University’s Irish World Academy of Music and Dance and follows on the heels of band such as Beoga.[47][49][54] In no time, Goitse have become known for an innovative sound and powerful live performances. The tight and virtuosic melody section is made up of fiddler Áine McGeeney and banjo and mandolin player James Harvey. This is aptly supported by piano accordionist and pianist Tadhg Ó Meachair; he was once chosen by Dónal Lunny to be the pianist in his Lorg Lunny TV project which culminated in the formation of the band Ciorras. The rhythmic carpet of Goitse's music is furthermore laid out by excellent Dropped D guitarist Conal O’Kane from Philadelphia and bodhrán champion Colm Phelan[48] (who is also known for fine step dance breaks). Goitse's third album is their tighest and most collaborative recording to date. Traditional tunes rub shoulders with inimitable compositions from McGeeney, Harvey, Ó Meachair, O'Kane and Phelan, and musical colleagues such as Colin Farrell, Ciaran Tourish and Brazilian guitarist Marco Pereira. Áine McGeeney is a charming singer with a repertory in both English and Irish. This time Goitse chose rather lively songs than slower ballads, Cathie Ryan's "Carrick-a-Rede," for example. The Irish language choice has been the traditional drinking song "Tá sé 'na lá" as sung by the late Eithne Ní Uallacháin. Goitse has added another chapter to their adventurous road trip, but for sure it's no disaster or calamity.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Patsy O'Brien "The Magician's Daughter"
Own label, 2007

Matt Mancuso & Patsy O'Brien "Road Work"
Own label, 2011

Patsy O'Brien "Irish Guitar"
Own label, 2013

Artist Video

www.patsyobrienswebsite.com

Born in Co. Cork, Ireland, guitarist and singer-songwriter Patsy O'Brien took his captivating music to the United States. Today he is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. His 2007 album "The Magician's Daughter" displays an accomplished songwriter. All songs have been written by Patsy himself drawing on influences such as blues, country and jazz music. It's just guitar and vocals, carving out the essence of every melody and lyric.
In the States, Patsy O'Brien started sitting in traditional Irtish music sessions. He has worked with Irish music artists such as fiddler Eileen Ivers, uilleann piper Paddy Keenan and the Cathie Ryan Band. 2011's "Road Work" is Patsy's collaboration with Italian–Irish-American fiddler Matt Mancuso, who also is a member of Cathie Ryan's touring band and before that had been a highlight in the "Lord of the Dance" show and toured Europe with Irish group Grada. Patsy and Matt put a beautiful selection of tunes and some songs ("Rocky Road to Dublin", "Grey Funnel Line", "Madam I'm a Darlin") together. Mancuso's playing is charismatic and well versed in various styles, O'Brien's backing is tight, and together they created a fine traditional album.
Recently, Patsy has also evolved into an excellent solo guitarist. "Irish Guitar" is a selection of gorgeous instrumental sets of Irish dance tunes, let me just mention the opening set "Matt Peoples' Reel/ The Macroom Lasses / Tripping Down The Stairs". Deeply rooted in the Irish lore, he draws on other ethnic traditions as well. Besides songs such as "The Next Market Day", he has thrown in some slow airs ("My Lagan Love", ...) for good measure.
P.S.: Patsy O'Brien teaches traditional Irish guitar in standard tuning @ www.onlinelessonvideos.com!
© Walkin' T:-)M


Shannon "8th"
Own label, 2014

Artist Video

www.shannonband.com

The Polish folk and world music group Shannon was formed by Marcin Rumiński in 1994 in Olsztyn which lies in the North East of Poland. The band named after the majestic river in the west of Ireland plays Celtic music from Ireland, Scotland and Britanny, but drawing on rock and jazz music as well as other ethnic world music. Shannon has been constantly changing in style and line-up and produced eight albums and some film music, always determind to make it beyond Poland on the international folk and world music circuit. Besides, Marcin Rumiński has founded a music and dance project called The Shannon-Elphin Show (Polish step dance ensemble Elphin has toured Germany several times),[30] and only recently the Celtic Rivers Orchestra, the collaboration of Shannon with a jazz orchestra. Their 8th album features the core sound of Marcin Rumiński's whistles (and speciality, Tuvan throat singing) plus Maria Rumińska's melodeon and piano, Marcin Drabik's fiddle, Szymon Białek's guitar, Jacek Fedkowicz's double bass and Patrycja Napierała's various percussion instruments. The tune sets, featuring well-known melodies from the Irish dance tradition such as "Cregg's Pipes" and Tommy Peoples and Johnny Doherty reels, are put into contemporary and exciting settings. Personally I love their selection and arrangement of songs; the ancient Child ballad "Daily Growing", the Irish ditty "As I Roved Out" and the American old-timer "Caleb Meyer". This is an album worth to seek out, and the sleeve notes are in both English and Polish.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Josie Nugent & Brian Stafford "The Caves of Cong"
Own label, 2014

www.josiebrianmusic.info

"The Caves of Cong" is the debut album from Josie Nugent and Brian Stafford, a fiddle and pipes duo based in Belfast in Northern Ireland. Josie Nugent, originally from Co. Clare in the west of Ireland, is a multiple All-Ireland champion. Having chosen the fiddle as her favourite instrument, she grew up surrounded by traditional musicians such as Tony Linnane, Jackie Daly and Derek Hickey. In 2013, she was appointed musical director for the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann's closing ceremony "The Bridges of Derry". Brian Stafford is one of the most respected uilleann pipers from Derry. He has travelled a varied musical path since having taken up his instrument. Actually he employs an authoritative and masterful piping style, drawing on many different influences outside of the Irish piping tradition. However, he never lost contact to the roots. "The Caves of Cong" then is a journey back to the music from the old 19th century collections, much of which dates from an era before the Great Famine of the 1840s, Roche, Petrie, Goodman, to name a few. A new world, to put it ironically; some of the tunes are unusual versions of familiar melodies, others have rarely been played in recent decades. Their selection, well researched, feels fresh. Though predominantly reels, there are set dances, barn dances and quadrilles too ("Acorn Stomp", better known as an old-time tune these days), and a couple of slow airs. "Ó! mo ċailín d'imṫiġ sí!" (Oh! My Darling Left Me!) blends Brian Stafford's Bb pipes with Josie Nugent's Stroh fiddle, a fiddle that amplifies its sound through a metal horn, exploring harmonies and ornaments. Overall, their performance is simple and straight-forward, always at gentle pace, and a fitting homage to those days of yore without being alien these days.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Andy Irvine "70th Birthday Concert at Vicar St 2012"
Own label, 2014

www.andyirvine.com

Irish singer-songwriter Andy Irvine[48] celebrated his 70th birthday in style in concert at Dublin's Vicar Street in June 2012. The result is an exciting time travel from the early 1960s into the 1980s and 1990s, if not to this very day. Andy Irvine's original song "O'Donoghue's" invites us to the place where he learned his trade: a world of music, friends and booze ... a crossroads for my life ... The Robert Burns song "Rattlin' Roarin' Willie", featuring Johnny Moynihan and Terry Woods, brings back the days of Sweeney's Men, while Paul Brady joins in on the "Jolly Soldier". It's Planxty time for a couple of tunes with Donal Lunny, Liam O'Flynn and Paddy Glackin, playing under the moniker of LAPD. Of course, there is the famous version of "The Blacksmith" song and its instrumental coda, "Blacksmithereens". The first introduction of uneven metres into Irish music, granted to Andy's rambles in Bulgaria in the 1960s. The night continues with Andy's band Mozaik,[36] featuring Bruce Molsky, Rens van der Zalm, Nikola Parov, and vocal guests George and Manolis Galiatsos here, a musical crossover project which feels at home almost everywhere between Eastern European rhythms and American old time music.
The night at Vicar Street had been the Full Monty, so to speak; the album then is an essential purchase for the Andy Irvine fan, a great overview and introduction for the uninitiated. A DVD Video with a few tracks more will be released very soon.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer "A Sound of Christmas Past"
Wet Foot Music, 2014

FolkWorld Xmas

www.swan-dyer.co.uk

Warning: Contains Christmas - Not suitable for festive party poopers!

That's the humorous notice on the new album sleeve of the English nyckelharpa-guitar duo Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer, who fuse traditional music from the British Isles with contemporary sounds.[40][45][52] "A Sound of Christmas Past" is a re-creation of the Dickensian Christmas Past, featuring some of the best known (and lesser known) carols from the Victorian era in the mid 19th century. Victorian meaning there is a song such as the "Coventry Carol", which dates back to 1534, and the tune of "Good Christian Men Rejoice" is 1330's "In Dulci Jubilo". "I Saw Three Ships" is an original carol from 1833, "Silent Night" started its success two decades before, and later on "Jingle Bells" in the midth of the century. Their representation though is both authentic and contemporary in their unique style. The Christmas carols are rounded off with complimentary tunes from Swan and Dyer, dance melodies such as "Heddingham Green" which could originate in the English Dancing Master collection, or Scandinavian sounding pieces "Riddaren" and "Borealis". Merry Christmas, this is joy, this is a pleasure - and this is deeply English.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Enda Reilly "Amhráin Nua i nGaeilge - New Songs In Irish"
EndaDeRoad Records, 2014

Stephen James Smith & Enda Reilly "Arise and Go!"
EndaDeRoad Records, 2011

Artist Video

www.endareilly.com
www.smithandreilly.com

For the past few years, Dublin singer-songwriter Enda Reilly has been writing songs in the Irish language, this lyrical and literate vernacular from the early Middle Ages. It was time to record the best of these Amhráin Nua i nGaeilge (New Songs In Irish). Whether or not you have any knowledge of the language or whether or not you make any sense of the meaning, Enda Reilly is able to create kind of an understanding deep in the listener's heart and soul (Irish lyrics and English translations can be found @ www.endareilly.com). Enda Reilly cultivates a middle-of-the-road folk style, reminding me sometimes of late 1960s / early 1970s psych folk. His vocals are expressive, his acoustic guitar playing is supported by fiddles and whistles.

Artist Video

These days Enda Reilly is busy with his Climate Change Songs Workshops, bringing Irish and English songs and environmental issues into schools. Three years earlier, he collaborated with contemporary Irish poet Stephen James Smith. "Arise and Go!" is a collection of poetry blending spoken word and music, which they dubbed Spoken Word Sung Verse. Enda wrote melodies and arranged guitar parts for some famous Irish poems: William Butler Yeats' "The Lake Isle of Innisfree", Patrick Kavanagh's "Raglan Road", Luke Kelly's "For What Died the Sons of Róisín", and the Irish national anthem, "Amhrán na bhFiann" (The Soldier's Song), ... Reilly and Smith are joined by Elder Roche (piano) and Kíla's Colm Ó Snodaigh (whistles, flutes) for something truly original and beautiful.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Various Artists "Dear Jane - Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie"
Compass Records, 2014

Jean Ritchie, one of America's finest and best known traditional singers, has been born in Viper, Kentucky in 1922 as the youngest of 14 siblings. The Ritchie family could draw on over 300 songs (ballads, hymns, work songs, etc.), in fact, Cecil Sharp collected songs from Jean's older sisters in 1917. Jean Ritchie joined the folk scene in New York, preferring to sing a capella, but occasionally accompanying herself on guitar, autoharp and mountain dulcimer. She managed to maintain her Southern Appalachian authenticity and became known as The Mother of Folk. At the same time she accepted improvisation and variation and created new songs by using fragments of old tunes. "Dear Jane" is a selection of 37 tracks on 2 CDs celebrating the rich legacy of Jean Ritchie ft. luminaries such as Janis Ian,[28] Pete[53] and Peggy Seeger,[31] Dale Ann Bradley[47] and Alison Brown,[45] Judy Collins,[54] Kim and Reggie Harris,[33] Robbie O'Connell,[44] Rachael Davis,[37] Archie Fisher,[40] ...

Old British ballads that crossed the Atlantic (e.g. "Lord Bateman", "Nottamun Town", ...) rub shoulders with newly-made American songs ("The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore", "Shady Grove", ...). Some of my favourite tracks besides the well-trodden path of classic songs and well-known artists are:

© Walkin' T:-)M

Liguriani "Stundai"
Felmay, 2014

www.liguriani.it

I have fond memories of Italian trad band Liguriani. Their debut album "Suoni dai mondi liguri" was one of my Top 10 albums of 2011.[45] Subsequently I have seen them live in concert at the Rudolstadt festival.[52] Now the Ligurians present their second album "Stundai", the album title being a Genoese term for a grumpy and quarrelsome person. I am not disappointed about it, though less powerful but more playful, less driving but emotionally more moving. The music is a selection of gorgeous tunes, rendered by fiddler Fabio Biale, flutist Michel Balatti, bagpiper Fabio Rinaudo, melodeon player Filippo Gambetta,[26][39] and guitarist Claudio de Angeli. Piffero player Stefano Valla, a double reed instrument of the oboe family, blows a few notes here and there. The music encompasses minuets and gigas, waltzes and polkas. The songs are beautifully delivered by Fabio Biale. "Fanni a nanna" (Go to Sleep), for example, is a popular Ligurian lullaby, here the version sung by Fabio's grandfather. On the other hand, "Per valli e monti" (And Valleys and Mountains I Rode) is a desertion song from the 1830s. The album is a special treat whether you're familiar with the Italian language or you're not. The sleeve notes are in both Italian and English, so there's no excuse to make any sense of it.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Cecilia "Blauw gras"
Appel Rekords, 2014

Elanor "Elanor"
Own label, 2013

Snaarmaarwaar "B.L.O.C.K."
Appel Rekords, 2014

www.ceciliafolk.be
www.elanormusic.be

Cecilia[46] is a Belgian trio of diatonic accordionist Greet Wuyts, electro-acoustic hurdy-gurdy player Thomas Hoste and piper/flutist Jan Leeflang. Since 2008 they play concerts and bal folk nights throughout Europe and perform Flemish and North Eastern French traditional music (the booklet's sleeve notes are in Flemish and French). Bourrees and rondeaus, scottishe and mazurkas, polkas and waltzes are made for dancers, but performed in a highly sophisticated way. Sometimes it is a bit crazy, but most of the time solidly grounded.

Elanor is a young folk quintet from Gent also featuring Thomas Hoste on the hurdy-gurdy, plus piper Bart Praet, accordionist Beert Leemans, guitarist Kuni Quintens and bass player Jelle van Cleemputte. Starting out only last year they play driving dance music, rootsy but with an experimental edge. Their debut EP features four tunes - a mazurka, a bourree and a tarantella composed by Bart Praet and a jig-like tune by Thomas Hoste.

www.snaarmaarwaar.be

From the same country but a very different playground is the already famed string trio Snaarmaarwaar.[39][46] Mandola player Maarten Decombel and guitarist Jeroen Geerinck are the link to previous Snaarmaarwaar incarnations, mandolinist Ward Dhoore[52] has replaced Peter-Jan Daems. The trio delivers a stunning wall of sound. It goes electric sometimes, a novelty, when Jeroen Geerinck does some programming and provides effects sounding like an electric guitar. The tight grooves are attenuated by cordial melodies. "Horlepijp" is a traditional Dutch tune, "Hag at the Churn" is a jig from the Irish tradition. "Slagwerk" is a recent composition by Danish violinist-scientist Marten Scheffer, otherwise the music has been composed by Maarten Decombel. Another novelty is a vocal track rendered by Bruge singer Liliane Pauwels; "Patrysse" is a traditional cumulative song for the first days of year. Snaarmaarwaar have become veterans of their trade, but they are still exciting and adventurous.
© Walkin' T:-)M


Hog-Eyed Man "1"
Own label, 2014

hogeyedman.reverbnation.com

Hog-eyed Man, named after the tune which is the last song featured here, is a newly-formed old-time duo based in Athens, Georgia. In his youth, North Carolina fiddler Jason Cade had begun learning rare tunes and a vintage style of fiddle playing from before the pre-stringband, pre-bluegrass era from fiddle master Bruce Greene. After years spending in New York, Jason has returned to the South and did find a musical partner in Rob McMaken on lap dulcimer and mandolin. Their debut album features rarely heard fiddle tunes from Southern Appalachia often taken from old field recordings of solo fiddlers. Some of the tunes have only recently left British shores, e.g. "Highlander's Farewell", before having been transformed into American tunes. Indeed, Mitch Wallin had played "Flight of the Wild Geese" for Cecil Sharp in 1916 when the Englishman had been collecting music in North America. Other tunes have been originally created Far in the Mountain. The sleeve notes tell another anecdote: In 1937 Alan Lomax bailed one Luther Strong out of jail in Hazard, Kentucky. Strong returned the favour by recording "Last of Sizemore" and others on a borrowed fiddle. Cade and McMaken's delivery of an archaic style and repertory is both emotional and expressive. It is personal, it is both 20th and 21st century, transcending any particular age.
© Walkin' T:-)M



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