Issue 2 12/97
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Altan "Runaway Sunday"
Label: VIRGIN RECORDS; Playing time: 46.37 min.
Their actual album contains a fine mixture of tunes and songs as we know
it from their last productions.
But "Runaway Sunday" is something different. In oppostion to
"Blackwater" it's not over-produced,
but rather rudimentary! Being recorded in a cottage in Connemara it
shows lovely and tender versions
of traditional songs like "I Wish My Love Was A Red Red Rose" or "Cití
Most of the beautiful tunes are taken from the rich Donegal tradition
and the whole album seems to be
an homage to the late Johnny Doherty. Even one song (i. e. "A Moment in
Time") is about him.
It's remarkable that this world-famous band again digged out Donegal
tunes in particular as you can
listen to Germans and Mazurkas which are still played in Donegal
In that way "Runaway Sunday" is a back-to-the-roots-album.
On the other hand you have song-writing by singer Mairéad Mooney and
guitarist Mark Kelly, which is
an innovation in the musical history of ALTAN. The last song of the
album "Time Has Past" is a very
personal piece written about Mairéad's late husband Frankie Kennedy.
It's piano outro sounds rather like a piece of slow indie music than a
but the whole piece is blessed with pure feelings.
Yes, this album shows a new ALTAN sound being in touch with "Ceol
Aduaidh" and "Altan".
Being so enthusiastic about "Runaway Sunday" I have to criticize that
ALTAN put the over-done song
"Gleanntáin Ghlas' Ghaoth Dobhair" on it. But fortunately they avoided
the dance hall sound and added
Stephen Cooney's didgereedoo to it to create a special version.
And why shouldn't a daughter sing the song of her own father?
VIRGIN RECORDS; Altan have also their homepage,
The Poozies "Come Raise your Head" (EP-CD)
Label: Own Label; Pooz01; Playing time: 17.16 min
This EP (four tracks) was published by The Poozies because they do not have at the moment the time to record a full album (the album is planned to be released next year). The Poozies emphasize that all tracks on this EP will not be found on the new album. This is the first recording after the line-up change with Kate Rusby replacing Sally Barker; and it gives a good idea what The Poozies now sound like. A traditional Gaelic song (Faca Sibh), a quiet a capella song (Lonesome Road) and a Yorkshire song (The Widow) sung by Kate in her typical Yorkshire dialect are completed by a few fine tunes on two harps, guitar and accordion. It is great to hear how Kate brings a new dimension with her Yorkshire roots to the band. Fans should know that this EP is only available directly from The Poozies, either on a concert or by mailorder.
Own Label; contact Karen Tweed
Robert Mathieson "The Big Birl"
Label: ; LCOM 5262; Playing time: 44.25min
This is more than just a piping CD. Robert Mathieson has gathered quite a bunch of musicians of different stiles around him to create an album full of folk piping, with as diverse influences as folk (of course!), classical music, latin, rock, jazz, etc. Robert plays Highland Pipes and Shepherd Small Pipes (upper D) and composes most of the tunes found on this album. Simon Thoumire, David Milligan, Dougie Pincock (on whistles) and a classical string quartett - to name but a few of the guests - make sure that this is an exciting project.
Glaz "Holen ar Bed / Le Sel de la Terre"
We don't know the Label (we have got a pre-version); Playing time: 42.32 min
Glaz is a Breton Roots-Rock band, but on this album they are going back to their roots - at least a bit. All songs are basend on traditional Breton melodies, but there is still a stong rock element in the music. Singer Nathalie Brignognen has a cool rocky but sympathetic voice, with much feeling. What makes this band special is the combination of uilleann pipes, whistles with electic guitar, bass and heavy drums in sometimes traditiona sometimes rock manner. If you love rock music with strong regional roots - this is for you! Magic mystic music.
Tel.+ 33-0298950374 (Glaz/Yann Honoré)
The Mick West Band "right side o'the people..."
Label: KRL/Lochshore Records; CDLDL 1262; Playing time: 56.07 min
Mick West, long time established Scottish folk singer, has gathered three years ago a young band araund him. On this, the second Mick West Band CD (although the first one was just labeled Mick West) you can find besides Mick himself Brian Byrne on piano and keys, Fraser Fifield on whistle, sax and small pipes and Neil Cameron on double bass as regular band members, as special CD guests there are Gavin Livingston, Deaf Shepherd's Malcolm Stitt on guitar and the great harmonica player Brendan Power. All these musicians make the approach of this CD very special: trad. and contemporary songs (like 'Jamie Foyers', 'Road to Dundee', 'Young Munro' or 'Mac Crimmons Lament' ) sung with magnificent voice and backed by music with many influences like folk, a bit rock and jazz. Copleted is the CD with two tunes focused on Fraser Fifield: 'Pipe Tunes' on the small pipes and 'The Little Cascade' another pipe tune - but played here on saxophne - brilliant! And last but not least, the great final song makes it worth to bye this album: Hamish Henderson's classic 'Freedom come all ye' - a great way to end a great CD!
Rick Lee "Natick"
Label: Waterbug Records; WBG0016; Playing time: 51.35 min
Rick Lee, Massachusetts based singer (and songwriter as well) / banjo and piano player, has 1995 published 'Natick' - his first solo recording in his over thirty year long career as musician. Here he gets just a bit backing from other musicians. Rick creates with his singing a nice atmosphere, and he makes all the songs hids own - e.g. 'Tinkerman's daughter' (by northern Irish Mickey McConnell) or Jez Lowes 'High part of the town' or some trad. material like 'Tam Lin'.
But the strongest song (both in performance, as well as the text) on this album is Rick's own 'Natick'. 'Natick is a song about the place 'Natick', where the indians where forcebly removed in 1675. Great song - and a good album with lots connections to the other side of the atlantic..."
Rick's homepage, or mail toWaterbug Records.
label: Dolmen Records; 13 tracks; playing
time: 54.02 min.
Irish Traditional Music has seen a lot of young talents throughout the last
few years. Many of those infected by the "trad virus" have become incredibly
good players. But still, the four teenagers from County Clare and
thereabouts quite clearly do stand out against the rest of the new
generation of tradders. Turas are not only excellent in a technical
sense; they also play with a deep sense of taste and style - something you
would only expect from maturer and more experienced musicians. Their musical
background (Clare, definitely!) might be one contribution to this.
The youngest member of the band is Liam O'Connor (fiddle).
Being a pupil of Séamus Glackin, his style has been influenced a lot
by the fiddling tradition of Donegal. Padraig Rynne's playing is a
brilliant example of the Clare-style concertina, while a few blue
notes and variations every now and then define his own personal style.
Ronan Ryan plays the flute and combines everything that makes
an outstanding player: perfect fingerwork and a strong tone, combined with
an expressiveness not often heard. Being a composer, he also contributed two
fine tunes of his own. Padraic O'Reilly's piano-playing lets you
immediately think of Mícheál Ó
Súilleabháin, but he also has a fair hand on the bouzouki.
So let's all hope that this is not the last album of this highly promising
Dolmen Records, Tel. ++353 (0)65 37762
J.P. Cormier "Another Morning"
Label: Lismor/Iona Records; IRCD 057; Playing time: 57.12min
J.P. Cormier has now published a songwriting album, after his 'Return to the Cape' with just instrumental fiddle based music rooting in his Cape Breton origins. As the cover says, this CD should be filed under 'New Country'. Maybe it would be better filed under 'J.P. Cormier' as the music is very much his own style. J.P. plays loads of instruments - from guitar, fiddle and banjo down to feet, spoons and guitar case; and he is joined by more than twenty guests, including a choir. While having to choose an instrument from his collection, he has also written all 12 songs - a real workaholic. And everything he does is good quality, especially his songwriting and his exceptional technique on acoustic and electric guitar.
Label: John Silver Productions, JSCD004; Playing time: 48.02 min
Formed in GDR times in East Berlin, Jams have nowadays members from Eastern as well as Western Germany, but as you can hear on this album especially from Northern Germany. Jams are maybe the best known and best band playing German folk music. Up to now Jams were internationally known as an instrumental and also German ceilidh band; on this CD you might be surprised to find mainly songs. And if you have some knowledge of the German language, be careful: The songs are in Plattdeutsch (low German), a dialect that even most Germans cannot really understand. Their music is still as exciting as ever: tricky arrangements for a special instrumentation of melodeon and mandolin, sax and clarinete, double bass and drums. Sometimes very groovy, sometimes funny, but always close to German musical roots, Jams are good fun to listen to. In live they are even better - if you have the chance to see them, don't miss it!
If you wonder if there is folk music in and from Germany around, go and buy fish (that is what 'Fisch' means) - we are sure that you might become a Deutschfolk fan!
John Silver Productions; available from Jams
Emilio Cao "Sinbad en Galicia"
Label: Do Fol/Boa; DF004; Playing time: 40.43 min
Emilio Cao has been one of the pioneers of the Galician folk revival 20 years ago, and is nowadays one of the central figures of the Galician scene. This, his sixth album is based again on his harp playing and singing. Emilio has a soft nice voice, and he sings mainly his own, very lyrical songs in Gallego, the language of Galicia. His music sometimes takes the direction of pop, new age and easy listening, a problem that harpists often have when they want to create a bit more modern sounding music. Nevertheless this album sounds enjoyable to me, especially nice to listen to while day dreaming on a cold winter's day...
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