Issue 29 09/2004

FolkWorld CD Reviews (6)

Irish Singers at Tønder Festival, photo by The Mollis

V/A "Highlands and Islands - Vol. 1: Loch Shiel"
Label: Miraculous; WCMCD 025; 2003; Playing time: 63:38 min
56:51N, 5:30W; with a total length of 28 km Loch Shiel is the fourth largest lake in Scotland. The narrow lake with its steep slopes in the northwest Highlands unfurls from Glenfinnan, where Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Jacobite standard and rallied his clansmen in 1745 to fight for the British throne. Lochaber-based media production company Miraculous Productions, run by Nick Turner of the Watercolour studios in Ardgour and musician/broadcaster Mary Ann Kennedy, aim to get beyond the "tartan and heather" image that still obscures many tourist ventures. The idea has been to put a group of musicians and storytellers aboard the vessel M.V. Sileas and take a trip down Loch Shiel, let the music flow and record the entire output: tunes, songs and stories from the Scottish Highlands, featuring the local maestros and their bands, respectively: Charlie MacFarlane and his son Iain (fiddle and pipes -> FW#24, playing with Blazin' Fiddles -> FW#15 FW#23 and Boys of the Lough -> FW#23), Dougie Hunter (piano accordion, Hoogie), Allan Henderson (fiddle, Blazin' Fiddles, Cliar -> FW#14, FW#22, FW#23), Iain MacDonald (flute -> FW#24, Battlefield Band -> FW#27, Ossian -> FW#1), and up-and-coming traditional group Daimh.
It's the perfect tourist gift, and sometimes the tunes are much too syrupy (but such is Scottish music at times). The cruise is appropriately kicking off with "The Steamboat Hornpipe". The tune was in the repertoire of the 19th century Northumberland fiddler James Hill and was supposedly written to celebrate the first steamboat sailing between Newcastle and the Clyde. (O’Neill’s 1001 Tunes prints it in a different key under the title "Tim the Turncoat" and uilleann piper Darragh Murphy recorded it as "The Good Natured Man" -> FW#21.) "Ri Taobh Loch Seile" (On the Shores of Loch Shiel) sung by Margaret MacLellan is praising the lake and its people. It has been written by the late Donald MacColl (*1901), one of the area's most notable bards and puirt-a-beul singers; he also learned to play the pipes in his young days from Angus MacDonald who is related to the piping brothers Iain (see above) and Allan (-> FW#4, FW#20, FW#21). The translation goes like this: On a warm, balmy day, I'm in the forest shade, looking up and all around both sides of Loch Shiel, the musical choir of the trees so cheerful in the branches. The pasture has grown desolate where men once worked the soil. When I look at the furrows I see the ruins of Hector's house where there would be song and story while gathered round the fire.
There are more volumes in the "Highlands & Islands" series to come. The next will focus on the area around MacLeod's Tables in North-West Skye and the Nordic traditions surrounding the Shetland Islands.
Miraculous Productions
Walkin' T:-)M

"The NoExcuses Harmonica Guide" [CD-ROM/DVD]
Label: Moonroller/No Excuses Guides; ISBN 0-9545159-8-6; 2003
Once upon a time there was music all around. Every area had its local maestro and you could listen to the sounds he's producing, peer at his fingers - and learn. Then came the dark ages when grammophone, radio, televison and pop culture killed live music and the oral tradition. The number of players declined and pupils went desparate over instructional books and multi-track recordings. However, with modern CD-ROM and DVD technology, you can both listen and watch some great players again.
No Excuses Guides exactly did that and came up with a set of instructional CD-ROMs. The Harmonica Guide has been written by Mat Walklate (-> FW#26). The Manchester-based musician is equally at home with blues, jazz and Irish music. The CD-ROM is divided into different sections which make easy browsing. Beginners are introduced to harmonica history, different harmonica types, basic music theory, and how to play the instrument, from holding the harp to note bending and overblows. The tutorial combines descriptive parts with supplementary soundclips. The advanced sections include harmonica styles from blues to folk to country, care 'n repair and buying guides to all additional gear. Finally, you can play along to over 140 backing tracks, featuring blues, rock, country, Celtic/African/Caribean roots (sometimes nothing more than a drum rhythm). The CD-ROM is rounded off with player profiles and an A-Z encyclopedia.
The Harmonica Guide is available as CD-ROM only or plus the "JamAcademy BandJam" DVD. The Jam Academy band with Mat Walklate on harmonica is performing 8 tracks (so it's a rather limited pleasure), e.g. a "slow blues in E" or "simple country in G" (which means Nashville style, no old-timey). You can choose any song you want to play and watch the full band perform (vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboard, bass, drums), jam along with the backing track or replace any musician. After all, the band won't mind if you make a mistake.
Coming to a conclusion, the NoExcuses Guides constitute an approach to teaching the harmonica that is both still novel and useful, and great fun after all. A Guide is also available for guitar, bass, keyboard and singing. Now there's no excuse...
Moonroller/No Excuses Guides
Walkin' T:-)M

Christel Rice "Tunnel Vision"
Label: Cuzone; 2003; Playing time: 35:32 min
Strangely enough, "Tunnel Vision" kicks off with the unaccompanied Irish sean-nos singing of Jim O'Dowd. This has nothing to do with the rest of the album, featuring the flute playing and dance music of Christel Rice. Christel Rice is originally from Philadelphia where she trained as a classical flutist. Long time neglecting her Irish roots (her great grandparents immigrated into the US in the early 1900s), she (re)discovered traditional Irish music and abandoned the silver Boehm instrument for the wooden flute instead. Relocating to Boulder, Colorado, Christel became involved in the local Irish music scene and formed her own group The Wayfarers. Now here's the debut from a great yet quite unknown flute player. The 8 lively sets are arranged with fiddle, banjo, accordion and uilleann pipes, guitar, bass and bouzouki backing - and even Indian tablas. Peter Rydberg did some production work as he did before for Solas. And this is what I'm reminded most, the stunning first Solas album from 1996 when Seamus Egan's outfit (-> FW#17, FW#22) was fresh and hot and hadn't moved away that much from traditional music into more contemporary territory.
Cuzone Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Lehto & Wright "A Game of Chess"
Label: New Folk Records; 3760; 2003; Playing time: 66:10 min
Minneapolis based Lehto & Wright (-> FW#17, FW#18, FW#23) do the Fairport/Steeleye (-> FW#23, FW#25) thing in the American way. Folk rock as unique and outstanding as hasn't been done for quite a while. John Wright (vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, bass) and Steve Letho (guitars, mandolin, accordion) plus drummer Matt Jacob play Irish jigs & reels, traditional British ballads and contemporary folk songs. Have a listen to the fine "I Wish I Was in England" (Christy Moore -> FW#1, FW#2, FW#3) and "Of Time and Rivers Flowing" (Pete Seeger -> FW#21, FW#26). The much maligned "Curragh of Kildare" takes up a new life being turned into a rock ballad. Folk rockers of the world take an example! This should be the role model!
New Folk Records
Walkin' T:-)M

Rise "Uncertain Wonders"
Label: Orissor Productions; OP2000; 2000; Playing time: 64:15 min
Rise "Posing as Human"
Label: Orissor Productions; OP2010; 2004; Playing time: 61:17 min
The Scottish band Rise from the Isle of Bute developed from a group playing Celtic music, alternative country, pop and rock covers into a highly original band with original repertoire. What Rise themselves call alt.folk is a crossover of Scottish and American music, a blend of contemporary pop, folk rock and traditional music. Debbie Dawson is the soulful singer, Gerry Geoghegan the mastermind on everything that has strings, plus Kris Manvell on drums. Besides their catchy pop songs, they put their hands on some traditional and traditional-like stuff and make it their own - as opposed to a vehicle for tenors in kilts to sing by the fire on cheesy Hogmanay shows: "Loch Lomond", Francis McPeake's "Wild Mountain Thyme", Dick Gaughan's "Both Sides the Tweed" (-> FW#25), Rabbie Burns' "Green Grow the Rashes-o". (The booklet brings up the myth that the name "Gringo", as some Mexicans call Americans, came about because of this song. During the battle of the Alamo some Scots were heard singing it and to the Mexicans, "Green grow" sounded like "Gringo".) "Time and Tide" however is no traditional ballad, the melody is traditional only, but a Burns-type original in a modern arrangement. The verses are an adaptation of "The Snowy-breasted Pearl" and the chorus is suggested by Burns' "Now Westlin' Winds" and Tannahill's "Gloomy Winters Noo Awa'". Music to promote the health of both body and mind.
Walkin' T:-)M

Pete Lashley "Slate"
Label: Own label; 2004; Playing time: 37:42 min
Possibly you've encountered singer/songwriter Pete Lashley while busking around his native North West England. More than a street musician you can find him performing in the pubs and clubs throughout the country and enthralling his audience (I assume this from the compliments in his online guestbook). Pete's fourth album "Slate" is a mix of original songs somewhere inbetween soft folk rock and catchy pop numbers. His voice has been often compared to Neil Finn of Crowded House. But whereas some songwriters produce pieces in silver and gold, Pete is in the slate business. That's more earthy and rootsy.
Walkin' T:-)M

Cuppatea "Love and care"
Label: Private label; 2003
Cuppatea is a duo that are Sigrun Knoche on vocals, flutes and keyboard and Joachim Hetscher on guitar and vocals. On their cd love and care they recorded twenty songs like: only you, your song, angel of the morning and other classics and a bit less known songs. It's not easy to write about this cd because it's clear that both musicians love what they are doing and I don't want to spoil somebody's fun but this cd is impossible to listen to. The vocals are constantly out of tune, the instruments don't seem to follow the same rhythm or melody line and the recording is just terrible. I can imagine that on small family gatherings these musicians have small success. But for me as a totally stranger and my job is to judge this cd, I can only say that this cd is really terrible to listen to.
Homepage of the artist:
Eelco Schilder

Kona boj "Ja sa kona bojim"
Label: Indies records; mam228-2; 2004
For half a year ago I was wondering with a friend why we don't hear much music from Czech and now I found a bunch of CD's with music from Czech to review for folkworld. A very nice one, this cd Já sa kona bo im by the band kona boj. I couldn't find much info about the group because their webpage is in their native language so I can't give you much background info. The group exists out of six musicians and on this cd they got help from several guest-musicians. Instruments like the flute, electric guitar, drums, violin etc form the basic for the sound of the band. But the best part are the strong female vocals of the band. Sometimes she reminds me of Iren Lovasz but than with a more rock background. The band plays with ethnic music both on the traditional instruments as on the electric ones. I hear a few times the electric guitar play in a very traditional style which gives a solid melodic sound to the music. A very nice cd with easy to listen to soft folkrock from Czech.
Eelco Schilder

Atahualpa Yupaqui "Concierto instrumental (Live in Cologne 1978)"
Label: Pläne; 88900; 2004
The legendary Atahulpa Yupanqui doesn't need much introduction to lovers of guitar music. This great musician from Argentina died in 1992 leaving a big collection of poems, songs and tunes. He started playing as a child on a two string guitar, inventing his own music in which he reflects the impressions he had in daily live. On this German live recording he plays thirteen tunes, many traditional and a few from known composers or from his own hand. Besides that he recitals two of his poems. These recordings show a master at work. It's hard to explain the warmth and intensity Yupanui puts in his music, something that is often missed by many guitar players. Of course he got a beautiful technique, but it's his way of interpreting the music that makes it so intense. Danza de la paloma enamorada is a good example of this. Such a short, small melody brought with such change in rhythm and volume that the music gets a live of it's own. Absolutely essential to have one of his recordings, this is a good option to add to your collection.
Eelco Schilder

Trovaci "Balkanplatte"
Label: Jigit!; 1030; 2004
The young German jigit label just released a new cd with Yugoslavian folkrock. They present the band as anti-folk inspired by the Sex pistols and the Clash. The band takes the Yugoslavian eighties music into today's culture. It's a party band, that's clear. Punk, ska rhythms, very basic melodies and not to technically they indeed sound like a protest underground band from the eighties. It's nice when you read the booklet and read that these song actually mean something. It are songs that were written just after Tito died and things started to change in Yugoslavia. In no time there was a big new wave going through Yugoslavian music with songs that protested against the promises of socialism and the values of the bourgeois. If you listen to the record with this historical information it's much easier to understand the music and it's value. When you just listen to the music without any info it might feel like your listening to just another funky band with some (very) light ethnic influences. These influences can be find in the rhythms and in the way some of the songs are constructed. This cd is interesting because of the link between music and history. If you expect some Yugo folkrock, don't buy this. This has actually nothing to do with folk, this is just solid alternative underground rock with a rich history.
Eelco Schilder

Various artists "The best of Indies records 2000" and "The best of Indies records 2003"
Label: Indies mam 125-2 and mam 230-2
Finally introductions to the music of Czech are entering the rest of the world. The first cd is the Indies sampler from 2000. For me a great cd with almost 80 minutes of mostly new names. Starting with a great song by the known Iva Bittová & Vladimir Václavek Sto let which immediately shows the best of Czech music. The cd contains a collection of traditional, singer-songwriter, folkrock bands from the Indies label. From the alternative folkrock by BOO to the singer-songwriter music of Z.Navarová with Gutiérrez and KOA. Their Lajla tov has influences from both the eurosongcontest and South-America. An easy listening adventure in roots music. Highlights for me were Oswald schneider with V cérném a beautiful ballad in light jazz style with smooth electronics. Midnight music at it's best. Rale with Moondance, traditional, dark folkmusic with nice vocals and a dangerous atmosphere. Jan Hrubý & kukulin with duch plzenských sklepu. A beautiful, bit medieval folktune and another strong traditional tune by Jiri Pavlica & Hradištan with Karneval. A great journey through the Czech music which I enjoyed very much. Interesting to order if you want to know more about the several groups that were active in 2000. You can also get the later 2003 double cd which contains a more update collection from the Indies catalogue. Some of the same names as on the 2000 edition but also many new names. Personal highlights on this double cd: Tomás Koco & orchestra with Tanecnica probably one of the best traditional piece of music of all three cd's. Kapka with Tara fuki a bit avant-garde folkmusic. Female vocals remind me of Scandinavian bands like Hedningarna at moments but are also typical for Balkan music. Intriguing song this is. And also on this 2003 edition it's Jan Hrubý & Kukulin who comes with a nice song called Raurorské vodopády. This time not traditional music but traditional music mixed with electronics. All three cd's have more good music to offer and of course also some lesser tunes. But they are definitely worth a try.
Eelco Schilder

The Borderers "Inspired"
Label: Private record 2002
The Borderers are Alex on lead vocals and Jim Paterson on vocals, guitar, mandolina and keyboards. This duo comes from Australia and have been nominated for three categories in the Australian live music awards in 2002. Their song Na mara was chosen as the best worldmusic track in Australia. On inspired the group works with 28 guest musicians from vocals to washboard and many other instruments. The group plays Celtic, country, bluegrass inspired music mostly own material but also a Eric Bogle song. Their music is very open minded and made for a big audience. No risk, nice music with a popular sound. Sometimes a bit to popular to my taste. Saying sorry sounds to sweet and reminds me of many eurovisionsongcontest songs, music for millions. I prefer much more their winning song Na mara on which they threw away a bit of their sweetness and recorded a nice modern folksong with programming, good guestvocals and a nice Celtic sound. It's a pity this is followed by Jump right in which is again safe, happy music but without any fantasy and unfortunately the rest of the cd (except the remix and the original version of Mama knew best) has the same atmosphere. This is folkmusic at it's most popular. It wont bother anybody, no problem to listen to, but to mainstream to really got my attention.
Homepage of the artist:
Eelco Schilder

Label: Private record 2004-08-22
Tervakello (tar bell) is a small orchestra with Udu drum as their basic instrument together with several wind-instruments. They improvise the biggest part of their music and they try to create a shamanistic soundscape. The orchestra wants to create an ambience and not just music. The band started in 2002 and has been performing in several dancefestivals and concerts. They also played music to theatre pieces and animations. It's very intense music with long tunes with smooth rhythms and the sound of soft wooden flutes. To some it might sound like many new age cd's but I have to say that putting the group in that category wouldn't do them justice. It are subtle change of sounds and rhythm with which they manage to create a serene atmosphere. It's subtle almost minimal music with just small changes in it's structure. Strong arrangements and somehow very catchy. It needs time and concentration to capture the essence of the music and therefor I think many people would say this cd is just more of the same sound. For people who have the time and the inner rest to give this cd a chance, you might enjoy this music a lot.
Homepage of the artist:
Eelco Schilder

Ray Mason band "Idiot wisdom"
Label: Captivating music cm-9158; 2003
Since 1982 about 140 shows a year plays this singer-guitar player. He released several cassettes and in 1994 his first cd was born. He is also a member of the lonesome brothers and he also appeared on several cd's by musicians such as Lloyd Cole and Wolf Krakowski This Idiot wisdom is his latest work full with, mainly, own songs. The main ingredients are his bluesy vocals and the sound of his silvertone guitar. It's singer-songwriter with influences from many sides of music but I would call it straight on solid guitar rock and roll. Well done, nice songs but not exceptional music in any way. Clearly Ray Mason is a strong guitar player and a good singer. But the music is not my speciality and somehow for me personally it's difficult to judge if he is any different from other artists in this genre so please don't follow this review and go to the webpage to get our own impression of his music.
Homepage of the artist:
Eelco Schilder

Klaus Trabitsch "Zeit"
Label: Extraplatte 660-2 2003
Klaus Trabitsch is a guitar player from Austria who likes to invent new music. He mixes music from several parts of this globe into his own style of music. Together with several guest musicians on percussion, harp, harmonium and other instruments he manages to create a relaxing atmosphere in his music. The cd starts with Pop song a strange title for a song that doesn't sound like a popsong at all but feels like a dreamy late night jazz classic. The dreamy feeling stays during the whole cd. Good fingerpicking, nice combination of instruments like in Heit loßt sa si guad an in which strings and the typical Caribbean percussion feel like a soft summerbreeze on a romantic island. What I like about this cd are the strong compositions and the basic interpretation of these by the musicians. No tricks, no electronics added, their own quality is enough to make the music work. Although I'm not always in the mood for this kind of silent music, this would be my favourite for those days I'm in the mood.
Eelco Schilder

The brothers in the kitchen featuring the Moore sisters "Bring it back alive"
Label: Private record no webpage given
The first time ever since I started writing for both Folkworld and New folksounds that I find a real gospel cd on my review table. And believe me, this is a gospel cd in the biggest meaning of the word. The lord is coming soon, saved, Little talk with Jesus are just a few of the songs which can be found on this cd. Recorded in the basement of the church it's pure and energetic music. Easy to sing along but not recorded in the best quality. The cd even got a Van Morrison song! It has touches of rock and roll like in By and by but the lyrics have nothing to do with rock and roll at all. Anyway, I have only one gospel/jazz inspired lp in my collection which is Savage rose's masterpiece Babylon from the seventies, so I'm not an expert at all. Actually the purity of the music touches me somehow but it's not my style of music. I do like the bit underground sound of the band but I 'm not a lover of the more clapping and singing along part of this cd. I do hope they enjoy making music for many more years, but they didn't bring any light back into my life with this cd.
Eelco Schilder

Wolfe bros "Old roads new journeys"
Label: Coppercreek cccd-0223 2004
The wolf bros is an old time stringband from the mountains of South-western Virginia. The group started during the seventies but has been most active during the past ten years. They are a band that operates local and their music is a traditional interpretation of old tunes with some own lyrics. With the standard instrumentation of banjo, bass, guitar, accordion and fiddle, the band brings old times back to life. It has a strong country and western sound and the band sounds exactly what I expected from a band like this. Good quality, lyrics that tell about many aspects of live brought in a solid conventional way. I have a bit problems with the violin in the Clark hill waltz somehow it's just slightly out of tune for my European ears but maybe it supposed to be. This is my only remark about this fine cd with pure music that sounds solid like a rock.
Eelco Schilder

Nikitov "Amulet"
Label: Chamsa records cd001 2004
Nikitov is a half Dutch, half US quartet who play Jewish music. Amulet is their debut cd and a very nice one. In a sober setting of guitar, bass, violin and vocals the band knows how to interpretate the Jewish music on a high level. Mixing it with jazz en gypsy the musical arrangements sound fresh and new. The cd contains famous songs like Dona Dona, bei mir bistu scheyn and Bessarabyanka besides some lesser known classics. The vocals are from Niki Jacobs who has a beautifully trained classical voice, somehow this fits perfectly to the Jewish music. She now is a music teacher in Amsterdam, studied classical vocals in New-York and played with several members of the famous Klezmatics band. Violinist Jelle van Tongeren also has a classical study on violin although he switched to gypsy jazz when he was seventeen years old. He has a warm way of playing the violin and understands the art of letting his instruments tell the story of the music. This is an art not all musicians have, often it's just nice and technically well done playing. Jelle does add this extra to his play which also combines perfectly with the vocals and the acoustic guitar of Adam Good and acoustic bass of Jason Sypher. Adam Good, by the way, is specialist on Balkan music and also played on the very nice cd Harmonia which I recently reviewed for another music magazine as well. Jason Sypher focuses on several musical styles from Jazz to Appalachian. He played with many known musicians and he puts the power to the music of Nikitov with his bass. A beautiful cd by a group of highly skilled musicians. The only problem I always have with such records is that I hear the same songs so often. I would love a cd with unknown treasures of the Jewish music, hereby I challenge you to record a cd with songs and tunes I have never heard before. I'm sure with this quality of musicians they will than make a price winning album.
Homepage of the artist:
Eelco Schilder

Julian Spizz "Incipit"
Label: Jaro 4253-2 2004
Julian Spizz is a vocalist and a lecture in music who studied vocals by Bobby McFerrin and others. On this cd you will definitely hear the influences of McFerrin's music. This is Spizz first solo cd after having recorded two cd's with the vocal trio Trinovox. The whole cd is a solo project that means that all vocals are done by himself. No instruments, vocals only. Spizz is always looking for new techniques, new sounds and rhythms to make his music more and more interesting. This first solo cd is well done. It has power, is full of strong rhythms and has a surprisingly modern sound. His music has been influenced by Italian music mostly but has some other cultural touches as well. But to my opinion this is a very Italian album. The way of singing, the style of the songs reminds me of Italian - the Italian music that got popular outside the country as well, especially in the singer-songwriter genre. With this cd Spizz shows he is a band on his own. Unbelievable to hear how he can create rock music on his own, with his voice only. Long guitar solo's, beach boys kind of choirs and beating drums to finish the whole.
Eelco Schilder

Chuck Suchy "Evening in Paris"
Label: Little bluesteam records 103 2004
I first heard a song by Chuck Suchy on the compilation cd of the Oak centre general on which he was one of my favourites. So when he contacted me with the question if I would like to review his latest cd I immediately said yes, curious to hear more of his music. Together with Peter Osthrousko on mandolin and fiddle, Joel Sayles on bass and Joe Savage on dobro and steel guitar, Chuck recorded a beautiful cd which stole my heart the first time I heard it. Listen to the beautiful, emotional song Diminishing winds and you understand why I'm so enthusiastic about this singer-songwriter. He creates a intimate, very personal atmosphere helped by the three strong musicians. The acoustic setting, his natural way of singing, almost like he is telling a story, forces me to listen. After hearing Stan Rogers he started to write his own songs and ballads inspired by his own farm live. That's probably what makes his music so pure, he sings about the things that matter to him and are part of his daily live. He gives a unique look inside a way of living typically for the US farmers at the Missouri rivers area. But not only that, his sober guitar play, the beautiful mandolin and violin and the crying steel guitar do the rest. This is such a cd that I always hope to find when I go through the many review cd's by singer-songwriters and singer-song-writers wannabe's I get from the magazines to write about. This evening in Paris makes me a very happy person.
Eelco Schilder

Ben Suchy "Head for home"
Label: Private record 2004
Together with the cd by Chuck Suchy, Chuck also sended me the second cd by his son Ben. Always a danger, children of artists who start their own career. Do they manage to develop their own style? Or are they just doing the same thing as their parents but than in a younger version? Let me assure you that Ben is one of the first calibre. His music is also singer-songwriter but much more in blues style. The cd's kicks off with a great old time blues kind of song Good evening on which he shows his quality on slide guitar. But also just blues inspired songs like walking along show his talent. Here he shows that he, same as his father, knows how to bring a song and tell his story. Still a bit unsure and his young voice isn't 100% stable yet, but it has enough depth and personality to grow into something beautiful with age. The lyrics tell about a lot of she's and her's, a bit naive and innocence but in the positive way. A fresh cd which easily keeps my attention and interest. This musician has great potential and I hope he will allow himself to develop his style and skills into even better and unique music.
Homepage of the artist:
Eelco Schilder

Landluft "Steirisch und modern"
Label: Extraplatte ex 573-2 2004
The band Landluft from Austria exists out of four musicians on Harmonika, several guitars, contrabass, mandolin and flutes. The band brings traditional music from the Alps into the modern world. They mix this with jazz, and music from the Meditarian area. The cd has an overall open and modern sound. Strong opening with sammeln that shows real mountain music with a touch of Balkanmusic. Much more fragile is Die herde erhebt sich in which the flute and Harmonika create a soundscape that reminds me of ancient music from the Far East. After this bit traditional sounding start the first song takes place called volle kraft. A nice acoustic ballad with nice and warm vocals. Than the first traditional dance Musette played with the Harmonica as main instrument this sounds very European. It isn't a typical Austrian dance but could as well have been Dutch, German or even French. Than the same melody is played in polka version and somehow suddenly it sounds much more Austrian to me, I wonder why…The cd contains several other nice songs in the same vein as the above. Some have a bit more modern approach but mostly this is pure acoustic music. Although I'm not an expert of any kind in Austrian music, I like this cd very much. No tricks, no unnecessary effects just straight and honest music brought in new and fresh musical arrangements.
Eelco Schilder

Adaro "Schlaraffenland"
Label: Tempus fugit 693723 60672 9; 2004
With Adaro Germany has one of the nicest bands in Medieval rock I know. The band exists out of five musicians on ancient instruments such as bagpipe, hurdy gurdy, bombarde and Crumhorn mixing this with electric guitar, loops fender rhodes and drums. They sing songs and play tunes by for example Oswald von Wolkenstein and Reinmar von Hagenau but also choose some Anonymous material. The music is about 800 to 450 years old and brought to the modern world in a passionate and professionally way. The cd has two sides, the acoustic beautiful ballads side like wohl dem leibe in which Konstanze Kulinsky shows her quality as vocalist. What a beautiful voice perfectly for this type of music. On the other side you will find strong rock songs with ancient influences like Minne ist ein süßer nam and Komm her zur mir. Both strong modern songs with surprisingly good beats and some heavy electric guitar work swell. The musicians made nice arrangements to the music and the sound of this cd is overall of high quality. Also the combination of the male and female vocals work. Normally in this type of music I prefer the female vocals, in this one they are equal. Not just another "medieval rock hype" cd, which unfortunately there are a lot in bad quality. This adaro should be taken seriously, they show that this music can be performed in great quality. They are one of the treasure keepers of Germanys first Medieval rock band the legendary Ougenweide.
Homepage of the artist:
Eelco Schilder

Various artists "World reggae"
Label: Putumayo 221-2 2004-08-23
The putumayo label has been providing the world of nice sample cd's since a few years now. They issued collections with music from all kind of areas as well as childrensongs and other special fields in music. They have just been releasing a reggae cd introducing reggae music from the past three years. It contains twelve recordings done by as many artists from twelve different countries. The thing all track have in common are the reggae feeling of the music, but otherwise they show the own identity of the country the music comes from. Included are songs by Más y más, Alpha blond, Kana and Maria de Barros. Treat yourself on a nice trip around the world with sunny rhythms and good music. As any of the putuyamo cd's the cd comes with a booklet containing information about each artist who appears on this cd. Also you can find information about how to get the cd of the artists you would like to hear more about.
Eelco Schilder

More English CD Reviews: Page 7 - Page 1 - Page 2- Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2
Overview: CD Review Contents

To the content of FolkWorld No. 29

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 09/2004

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