Issue 21 03/2002
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Jock Tamson's Bairns "May You Never Lack
CDTRAX 206; 2001; Playing time: 56.49 min
Released about a year ago, this had accidentally drifted to the back of my review-CD
pile, which is not however a reflection on its quality. Jock Tamson's Bairns
are one of the "big" groups in Scottish folk, who haven't achieved
the same popularity as the Battlefield Band or Tannahill Weavers mainly because
unlike those, the Bairns can rarely be seen live outside their native land.
After two acclaimed recordings back in the early eighties, they had gone their
separate ways for a while pursuing other musical projects (notably The Easy
Club), finally getting together again in 1996.
This welcome recording demonstrates Rod Paterson and John Croall's vocal talents
(on 7 of the 13 tracks) and the Bairns' instrumental skills, usually in an appealing
combination of double fiddle - generally played in unison - concertina and guitar
with additional whistle, bodhrán, percussion and double bass in places.
They save the best till last: the jaunty, funny, up-beat title track (whence
comes the album title) to which a jaw's harp lends an unusual touch.
The booklet provides song notes and full lyrics, and even a scone recipe to
back the album title.
Jock Tamson's Bairns website
Heidi Muller "Gypsy Wind"
Label: Cascadia Music; CM2001; 2001; Playing
time: 46.04 min
Big ideas, Einstein had a few, better give 'em a try. Heidi
Muller doesn't run out with some of them. Being one of Seattle's leading
contemporary folk singer/songwriters, she displays a Joan-Baez-American
folk-style and voice, nowhere more apparent than in "Acres
of Clams". She also is a sensitive mountain dulcimer player and performs
a lively jig set and a planxty-like
air, both of her own. Thus said, the dulcimer
(dulce = sweet, melos = song) had been introduced by German settlers to the
Appalachian Mountains and it is reported that the god-fearing mountain dwellers
rate it as suitable for song accompaniment and alternative to the flagitious
fiddle, the main instruments of the sinful dance music. So it is great irony
that she accompanies herself on guitar when she is singing and plays dulcimer
instrumentals. But that's the way when you're touched by a "Gypsy
Fiddlers' Bid "Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer"
CDTRAX218; 2001; Playing time: 46.53 min
Toss a stone across a wall and you will certainly hit a fiddle player. At least,
if you are on the Shetland Islands. Blazin'
Fiddles did it before. Put together half a dozen of fiddles and let's have
a party. But they were not first, because Tom
Anderson's "Da Forty Fiddlers" already played in the 1960s (accompanied
by the jazzy guitar and piano chords of Willie
Johnson, so don't say the Shetlands are remote in musical terms). And even
Fiddler's Bid (see also CD
review and article)
is now in its tenth year. Four fiddles (Andrew Gifford, Chris Stout, Kevin and
Maurice Henderson) play traditional and some original tunes, mainly from the
Shetlands. The main tune is enhanced by a counter melody or a kind of harmony
backing, both supported by guitar (Steve Yarrington), bass (David Coles), piano
and harp (Catriona McKay). It is not all hell-for-leather, though there are
some striking Shetland reels as well, but a well-balanced and swinging mix of
different pace and rhythms. Fiddler's Bid also provide the Shetland equivalent
to East European klezmer wedding music: The fiddler accompanied the groom's
party on the way to the bride's home. On arrival, the fiddler would have struck
the tune "Du's Bün Lang Awa an A'm Tocht Lang ta See Dee". "Da
Farder Ben da Welcome" was played at the ritual "Bedding Da Bride". After
the supper the women folk would put the bride to bed and the only man allowed
in was the fiddler. Lucky man! Was he the "Laughing
Cavalier" or the winning bid.
Kerstin Blodig "Valivann"
WP 87088; 2002; Playing time: 42.53 min
Berlin-born multi-instrumentalist and singer Kerstin
Blodig already has a fancy career: Norland
Wind (see also FolkWorld CD
review and article),
Touchwood (see review),
Talking Water (see review),
Kelpie, and occasional
appearances with the German folk band Bierfiedler.
And now another (ad)venture: Rhythmic Ballads from both sides of the North
Sea. Because: The sea with its mysterious depths, its vast breadth
and its breathtaking power has always fascinated generations of people and provided
the inspiration for countless tales and legends. As you certainly know,
the Scottish islands had been colonized by Norsemen. A lot of Scandinavian words,
e.g. "kirk" (church), crept into the Scots
language. "Valivann" is the character of a ballad known throughout Scandinavia
and there is a common song tradition linking Norway and Scotland. There are
the great legends of water trolls, "nokk" or "kelpie": the haunting Orkney ballad
"The Seal Man" (better known as "The
Great Selkie o' Sule Skerry") has been fitted to a Scandinavian-sounding
tune. The original composition "Mystical Man" explores the same topic. There
is the bloody story of the body of the murdered and drowned sister which is
transformed into a harp and its music reveals the plot. The Norse "Horpa" resembles
the Scottish "The
Cruel Sister". So, take contemporary Scandinavian roots music, let it clash
with pipes, and mix it up with songs from both sides of the North Sea. The late
Mick Franke (Fiedel-Michel)
was the main force behind "Valivann". There are also appearances of Thomas
Loefke (harp), Johannes
Schiefner (uilleann pipes), and Ian
Melrose (low whistle).
Margaret Stewart and Allan MacDonald "Colla
CDTRAX 217; 2001; Playing time: 53.40 min
Put two CDs into one: some solo piping, some Gaelic songs. At first, both seemed
a bit unrelated. The idea becomes more clearly with the title track for example,
"Colla Mo Rùn" (Coll, my love), which is both a song and piobaireachd,
a classical-like pipe suite in extended and complex form. The story behind the
tune: while absent the castle of Colla Ciotach was captured and the only one
whose life was spared was the piper's. As Colla was approaching, the piper managed
to play this tune from the ramparts and Colla escaped. The piper's hand was
cut off him for his diligence. But that's not the point here. There was always
connection between piping and singing. Piobaireachd is taught by chanting (canntaireachd),
whereby vowels mirror notes and consonants mirror ornamentations. Vice versa,
piping embellishment had been adopting by singers. For the second time, Gaelic
singer Margaret Stewart from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (see also
and bagpiper Allan MacDonald
(Highland and Small pipes) from the famous pipe family of Glen Uig combine their
skills to explore such connections (see also CD
review). Both are masters of their art. Allan usually introduces the urlar
(main theme) on the pipes. Then he is joined by Margaret, followed by piobaireachd
variations, and then singing again. Sometimes Allan's voice is joining in as
well. All the lyrics are given with some background notes and English translation.
Various "If I Had A Song...: The Songs
of Pete Seeger Vol. 2"
Label: Appleseed Recordings; in Germany Wundertüte;
TÜT CD 72.199; 2001; Playing time: 63.59 min
This is the second installment of Appleseed President Jim Musselman's great
labour of love, the presentation of specially-recorded tribute versions of songs
originally written, arranged and/or popularised by Pete
Seeger. (The 2-CD volume 1, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone",
was released in 1998; a concluding volume 3 is expected to appear later this
year.) Volume 2 is a little less musically varied than its predecessor, with
an emphasis on contributors from the broad area of American acoustic/folk/singer-songwriter
music, which is no bad thing as it makes for a seamless listening experience
while still offering enough variety to hold the attention. Also, Pete himself
is rather more involved than before, adding his voice to no less than four of
the sixteen tracks this time round.
The contributors are a mixed bunch, many of whom will no doubt be familiar to
you: Jackson Browne with Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie (with Pete Seeger, on two tracks),
Steve Earle, Eric Andersen, Kate & Anne McGarrigle, Billy Bragg with Eliza
Carthy, Dar Williams with Toshi Reagon, John McCutcheon with Corey Harris, Dave
Carter & Tracy Grammer, the whacky Canadians Moxy
Früvous (always highly entertaining, here with a joyous personalised
tribute to Pete and his wife Toshi called "Maple Syrup Time") and
As with volume 1, the illustrated booklet supplies extensive notes and anecdotes
with each song. A compilation which leaves nothing to be desired, and will surely
appeal to a wide range of listeners. Well done Jim Musselman - roll on the next
Appleseed Recordings CD information
Rosapaeda "in forma di rosa"
Sott A 107; 2001; Playing time: 38.09 min
In the latest issue of this magazine, I wrote as the last sentences in my review
of Rosapeda's first album 'Facce': "A strong voice with a strong band -
all in all a very strong album. I am waiting for the follow up album!"
Here it is - and it was right to wait for it - it immediately found its way
upon the first place of FolkWorld's Top Ten (editors choice) of the best albums
of the year 2001! Congratulations to Rosapaeda and her band.
So - what is special on Rosapaeda? First of all the voice: Rosapaeda's voice
is powerful with lot of nuances, her singing is passionate and she has a very
strong talent to adopt different styles of songs to her voice.
Apart from her own strong contribution to this album, the instrumentalists add
another terrific dimension to it. First of all Eddi Romano on accordion, also
composing a lot of the music; then there are Andrea Gallo on double bass, Pippo
'Ark' D'Ambrosio on arabian drums, tablas and other kind of percussion, Pasquale
Ziccardi on acoustic guitar (and songwriting), the great northern Italian accordeonist
Ricardo Tesi and several more musicians.
It is a very strong album, highly recommended.
Di Grine Kuzine "Feribot"
Label: T3 Records;
2001; Playing time: 55.07 min
Di Grine Kuzine - based in Berlin - call their music themselves klezmer balkan
brass - and I think that is quite appropriate. Feribot, with its fresh unconventional
inspriring music, found its way into the editors choice of the best 10 folk
music albums of 2001.
Let me introduce the band: Di Grine Kuzine was formed as a professional music
group in 1998 in Berlin, and since then they have played many concerts and festivals
around Europe. The band consists of five musicians: the excellent singer and
accordeonist Alexandra Dimitroff, Juri Schrot on clarinet and soprano, Karel
Komnatoff on trumpet, bugle and vocals, Steve R. Lukanky on tuba and finally
Snorre Schwarz on drums and vocals.
The music is often traditional, while some pieces are composed by band members
(and some other composers). They put a lot of power into their music - if you
hear it, you just want to dance...
Homepage of the artist: www.kuzine.de
Kapela ze wsi Warszawa "Wiosna Ludu"
World; OWCD 006; 2001; Playing time: 64.36 min
Fresh young folk music from Poland is up to now not too often heard in the more
western parts of Europe. Maybe this will change with the time. The band from
the village of Warsaw (that is the translation of Kapela ze wsi Warszawa) has
now produced their second album "People's spring" (Wiosna Ludu) -
a very mature work with lots of energy. Another proof that we should have a
closer look towards the polish scene... (Btw., FolkWorld features in this issue
also an introduction to the Polish scene.)
The kapela has a unique form of presenting ancient music - it presents three
young powerful female voices called 'white voices' (going at times towards screaming)
together with ancient melodic instruments such as the old polish fiddle Skrzypice
and the fiddle and a acoustic percussion rhythm section, played by three young
men. They have developed their own destinctive sound.
Their first CD was produced on their own label in 1998, since then they moved
on to a bigger label, and Orangeworld did a good job for them. It is nice that
on this album some of the information is also in English language - this makes
it a lot easier for Western Europeans to find out about the background of the
Additionally to the 13 original Kapela ze wsi Warszawa tunes, there are two
additional remixes of the producing DJs Piotr Pucylo & Mario Dziurex - this
is interesting stuff, showing what can happen if old Polsih music comes into
the hands of club DJs...
If you are into strong female voices, or into Eastern European music - this
band is surely worth to discover!
Homepage of the artist: www.terra.pl/kzww
contact to artist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kadril "All the best"
Music; WBM 21029; 2001; Playing time: 53.29 min & 57.12 min
Kadril is the longest going Flemish folk rock band today, they have celebrated
their 25 years existens in summer 2001. As part of their celebrations they did
a big European tour and have released this superb "best of" double
CD. To celebrate with them we have done an interview with
Erwin Libbrecht and Eva De Roovere on the Tatihou festival in France. It
is published in this issue, and you can find there background informations on
the history of the band. (And you can even win this CD!)
The tracks on this double CD were originally published on 5 albums in the years
1986 ('Kadril' - 5 tracks), 1990 ('De Vogel in de Muite' - 3 tracks), 1994 ('Nooit
met Krijt' - 3 tracks), 1996 ('Live - De groote Boodschap' - 4 tracks) and 1999
('Eva' - 3 tracks); additionally there are 5 new live recorded and 3 new studio
recorded tracks and one "demo track" (whatever this means). So on
the one hand, you can listen to the history of the band and hear again some
of their greatest moments, but on the other hand there is enough new material
for those who own already all of their albums.
Kadril have been and still are a very fine folk rock band from Flanders - if
you do not know them by now, give their celebration CD a try!
Susana Seivane "Alma de Buxo"
Fol / Boa; 28; 2001; Playing time: 47.26 min
Susana Seivane is today one of the internationally best known female pipers
of Galicia. Alma de Buxo is her second album, following her highly praised debut
Susana stays to her concept, playing traditional and newly composed (by herself
and other composers) in a traditonal way, yet with modern aspects. A new thing
is that she also does songs - on the first album she had the help of Sonia Lebedynsk
doing a song. This time Susana herself sings one song on her own and one - in
the typical style of a female Galician group with pandereitera backing - as
part of a group called Sete Saias (featuring also Lola de Ribeira, Olga
Kirk, Guadi Galego, Sonia Lebedynski, Uxía Pedreira and Uxía Senlle).
A very fine song.
One track is played by Susana's granddad Xosé Manuel Seivane - another
member of the piping clan of the Seivanes... After this follow tunes composed
and played by Xosé Manuel, then there are two muineiras composed and
played by Susana herself. It is nice to see that the traditon is well alive!
The backing of the music on the album is done by accordeon, guitar, fiddle,
drums, bouzouki, bass, etc.
Fine music from the north western part of spain.
Homepage of the artist: www.susanaseivane.com
More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 -
Page 3 - Page 4
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page
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