Issue 14 6/2000
Label: Fonomusic; CD8128; 1999; Playing time: 50.09 min
Fluxan Os Ventos started already back in 1972, being one of the really old folk bands from Galicia. "Sempre e Mais Despois" ("Forever and even afterwards") is Fluxan's seventh album; the last one was published in 1984! Having had in the last couple of years only very occasional gigs becasue of non-musical commitments, they decided in 1997 to record a new album nevertheless.
The album focuses on the voices of the 10 members of the band, featuring 13 traditional songs from Galicia. The songs are backed by an enjoyable choice of instruments, featuring guitar, hurdy gurdy, violin, bagpipes, flutes, drums. The style of the songs is not Pandeiretada, but more the folk kind of songs; the vocal harmonies are unspectacularly beautiful arranged, proving that these singers have a long-time experience in singing. The overall feeling of the album is a lot of atmosphere and warmth: Galician traditional music from heart.
Nice booklet also by the way (although it is only in Spanish).
Fluxan Os Ventos' Homepage, e-mail Fluxan Os Ventos
Label: Elkarlanean; KD-548; 2000; Playing time: 42.25 min
This music is fun, the Basque language and the Trikitixa makes this music to appealing, exciting and unusual rock music from this European region. They sound like being a great live act as well. Although they seem not to aim at an international market (all sleeve notes are in Basque only), they might have a big appeal internationally. Play this CD loud to have a party!
Etzakit Homepage, E-mail Elkarlanena label
Label: Own; BUR1-99; 1999; Playing time: 38.06 min
In the centre of Burlakat are three female singers with lovely voices (Johanna Koukkunen, Pauliina Luukanen, Sirkka Moström), joined by talented instrumentalists on accordeon (played in a similar style as in Värttinä), guitars/mandolin and double bass. Their repertoire consists of traditional songs from Finland and Karelia (a region devided by the Finnish-Russian border). Sometimes the voices seem to be a bit too soft for the powerful Finnish songs, yet this album is highly enjoyable listening. Not really a must for everyone, yet an attractive addition to the Finnish folk collection.
c/o Tarja Lamminsalo, Paksuniementie 156a, 82300 Rääkylä, Tel.+358 40 5037449
Label: Fono Astur; FA-CD 8774; 1998; Playing time: 38.52 min
The five boys are great musicians, playing in the "Asturian Way" on acoustic instruments like Bouzouki/Guitar, Flute, Box Accordion, Percussion and, of course, also the Gaita Asturiana, the Asturian bagpipes. Xéliba is obviously in the first place an instrumental band, and this is also where they are best; yet the two songs presented in soft singing style give a fine variation to the album.
Lovely music, presented with soul. The well designed booklet proves also with the background information to the tunes that these musicians care about the origins of their music and have a decent knowledge about Asturian traditions. Definitely one of the quality bands of Northern Spain.
Xéliba Homepage, Mailto Xéliba
Label: Greentrax; CDTRAX 190; 2000; Playing time: 49.51 min
Malinky, a young quartet from Scotland, is such a band. In 1999 they won the "Danny Award" at 'Danny Kyle's Open Stage' at the big Celtic Connection Festival in Glasgow. This open stage provides lesser known or new bands and musicians the chance to perform in front of a relatively big audiance. This happens each afternoon of the three weeks of Celtic Connections, and the best six bands are receiving at the end of the festival a 'Danny' award. This award is a big chance for these bands, as they are invited to play a main stage of the next Celtic Connections festival and they have the chance to get good deals with record companies or agents.
Malinky has strong connections to Scotland: Karine Polwart (vocals, guitar) is from Stirlingshire, Steve Byrne (vocals, bouzouki, guitar) is from Arbroath in Scotland's North East, and the band is based in Scotland. The other two lads hail from other parts of the British isles: Kit Patterson (fiddle, guitar, mandolin) comes from Plymouth in Southern England and Mark Dunlop (bodhran, whistle) from Antrim in norhtern Ireland.
It is great to see a young band focussing its repertoire on songs. The band is fronted by the very strong singer Karine, yet is lucky to have a second singer in Steve - it is seldom nowadays to have two strong singers in young bands. The repertoire is well chosen: some trad. songs ('The Beggarman', 'Alison Cross', 'The Bonnie Lass O'Fyvie', etc.), some contemporary ones, a traditional Macedonian song. Still, the highlight of the debut-album of Malinky are the two songs written by Karine herself: ' Whaur dae ye lie?' telling about the women of Srebrenica and 'The dreadful end of Marianna for Sorcery' based on a short story about a witch. Excellent songwriting, perfectly presented.
Well done, Malinky! Greentrax
Label: Wicklow Records; 09026 63678 2; 2000; Playing time: 47.08 min
The group known for the big female vocal power has developed their own style, although most of their albums have their very own destinctive sound. With the four strong female voices always in the centre, Värttinä have also an impressive instrumental part featuring accordion, bouzouki/saxophone, fiddle, double bass, guitars/kantele and percussion. Compared to the last CD, "Vihma", Ilmatar sounds less overproduced, maybe a little bit "back to the roots" with the arrangements of most songs sounding quite traditional. Producer Hughes de Courson (well known in his native France) has succeeded in getting most of the raw power of Värttinäs voices into the CD. For me the only low point of the album is the collaboration with the Finnish rock singer Ismo Alanko, "Äijo", but without doubt that is a question of taste.
Ilamatar sees Värttinä going in a very positive and exciting direction; yet it shows once again that you never know what to expect of a new album of this special band. Lovely CD.
Christian & Michael Moll
Label: Sonifolk; CDF1031; 1993; Playing time: 41.50 min
Matto Congrio has been maybe the most influencial new Galician folk band in those days - and still today the music is very fresh sounding and innovative. In this band two of today's best known and best bands of Galicia had their start: Berrogüetto and the Carlos Núñnez Band. Three members of the later band Berrogüetto and two of the Carlos Nunez Band (Carlos himself and his long time collaborant, multiinstrumentalist Pancho Alvarez) were involved in this band. If you know these bands today, you can get from this CD an idea of how they first developed their musical ideas.
This album is a real must if you are interested in these two great Galician bands...
Label: Linn Records; CKD121; 2000; Playing time: 49.32 min
"The Bright Fire" shows the wealth of songs this band has on offer - the two singers can both sing and write songs in their native Gaelic - Brian in Irish Gaelic and Fiona in Scottish Gaelic, and both in English language. It is fascinating to have a band combinig Irish and Scottish Gaelic songs!
For my taste especially some of the English songs are a bit to radio friendly arranged. But just listen to one of the Gaelic songs 'In Ó' written by Fiona, and you know that just for this number it is worth to buy this album!
All in all a special album presenting many different styles and traditions of the British isles.
Label: Coop Breizh; CD903; 2000; Playing time: 53.24 min
There are quite a few energetic tunes with a modern Celtic sound and six enjoyable songs... and then there is as finale of the CD a strong session tune featuring some Québecois friends: Denis Fréchette (piano, La Bottine Souriante), Pierre Laporte (fiddle), André Marchand (guitar) and Normand Miron (melodeon). Great stuff!
Label: Own; 7 76127 0928 2 1; 1999; Playing time: 47.20 min
Eamonn is accompanied by an appealing folk rock band featuring his sister Roisin Dillon on the fiddle, the great blind multiinstrumentalist Jim Fidler from Newfoundland on percussions, guitars and keyboards, Irishman Mike Hanrahan on bouzouki, John Schreiber on tenor Banjo and finally Rick West on bodhran. Mainly Irish tunes - reels, airs, jigs, a hornpipe - arranged in an intriguing modern and trancy way without losing their trad soul and identity. I loved this album, and recommend it to anybody who is into modern Celtic instrumental music.
Eamonn Dillon's Homepage; Mail to DillonHouse Music
Label: Own; Demo/Pre-release; 1999; Playing time: 23.45 min
Atzawara's homepage, Mailto Francesc Tomàs
Label: Greentrax recordings; CDTRAX 191; 2000; Playing time: 42.56 min
With "Tarruinn Anmoch", Roddy Campbell from the Isle of Barra has recorded his debut album, presenting traditional Gaelic singing and piping. The singing style is very natural and traditional, and most of the songs are old traditional Gaelic songs. Roddy is joined by some of the best Scottish musicians, including his children Rory on whistle and vocals and Marianne on fiddle and vocals, Malcolm Stitt on guitar and Mary MacMaster on the harp. Still, the feeling of the album is very traditional, presenting both Gaelic singing and Gaelic piping like they used to be sung in the communities of the Outer Hebrides.
If you are interested in obtaining the album, please note that the English translations of the Gaelic songs are not included in the booklet but can be ordered from Greentrax - so directly ask Greentrax to send them along with the CD.
Label: Atcof Records; 1999; Playing time: 55.04 min
The different backgrounds of the band members lead to diverse influences from Nothern Spain, Ireland, America etc, but the music is rooted in Scotland. Sandy's three songs (two written by him) sound very blue, while the tunes range from happy-quick to beautifully-slow. The lead instruments are mostly Eamonn's banjo or Simon Bradley's fiddle (swapping between Asturian and Scottish style), with piano and guitar providing a fine backing.
If at Russell's House is always as good music as on the album "Russell's House", then Russell seems to be a good person to visit in Edinburgh!
Russell's House Homepage, e-mail Russell's House
Label: Sonifolk; 20137; 1999; Playing time: 54.36 min
With their eclectic mix of music L'ham de Foc were awarded as Best Newcomer Act in Folk Music by the Institute of Youth. Their music is very fresh and exciting, with the youthful power of innovation, yet also with the maturity to leave sometimes time and space for beautiful quiet arrangements. A band that belongs to the best of the New Folk bands that spring up all over Europe these days. An album that makes you already waiting for the next one.
Label: Virgin Records; 7243 8 48838 2 9; 2000; Playing time: 49.49 min
The English songs include "Green Grow The Rushes", a lovely song from Steve Cooney "Island Girl", even a Bob Dylan song "Girl from the North Country". These songs are all attractive, yet they cannot carry the magic that the Gaelic ones do.
Although there are only five instrumental sets, these offer a lot of attractions in form of reels, a slipjig and a couple of jigs, a waltz and finally a lovely composition of Mark Kelly.
The album has a fresh and natural, not overproduced sound, yet for my taste Altan should not have invited their studio guests on dobro and slide guitar, disturbing the beauty of two songs of the album. Very attractive is the booklet, with atmospheric wild Irish scenery.
While some of the older albums of Altan made me wish for more songs, this album provides the opposite feeling that maybe a few more tunes would have done better. Although when listening to this sweet voice of Mairead, my criticism soon vanishes...
Anyway, the album is another proof that Altan well deserve to have the reputation as the best Irish traditional band.
WIN Altan CDs!
You can win one of two of the new album of Irelands top band. To take part in the competition, answer the following question: The song 'Green Grow The Rushes' is featured on Altan's new album. Who has written this song?
Answers until 10/08/2000 to FolkWorld.
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