Issue 27 02/2004
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Le Cairde - Unter Freunden "Moving Forward"
Le Cairde, which means "Unter Freunden" or "amicable", is the name of this band,
and good-tempered, these four bearded musicians certainly are. Well, they did
form the "legendary" music group "Kraut & Riewe", so enough said. "If music
be the food of love, then play on"- well, Edgar Illert (vocals, whistles and
mandolin), Hals-Willi Ohl (vocals and guitar), Klaus Rohmig (vocals, bodhran
and guitar) and Lothar Häger (vocals and guitar) must have a ravenous appetite
indeed! Their passionate love for Irish music is reflected in the 19 tracks
on this, their first studio album.
This is an album that contains interpretations of all the usual traditional
Irish favourites, from "As I Roved Out" to "Raglan Road" and "Star of the County
Down". Judging from the fact that you can actually buy a DVD of their live performance
at Hegelsberghalle on 26 April 2003, I guess these guys must have a loyal enough
following in the Frankfurt area. However, I was slightly disappointed by the
lack of fire and brimstone in this recording. The sleevenotes offer informative
introductions to the songs, but when I eagerly forwarded to Track 11, "Aisling/Aisling
Tune", after reading the short blurb on how Shane MacGowan's original had inspired
this cover version, I was puzzled by the rather lacklustre and monotonous vocal
performance and instrumentation. In other words, nothing like the version on
MacGowan's The Snake. [I immediately played the latter after, and the difference
was stunning. But that's another story…!] The band's version of "Raglan Road"
also falls somewhat short of the mark, mainly due to Edgar Illert's warbling
vocals which don't quite convey the haunting emotion and narrative beauty of
Patrick Kavanagh's poem. [Listen to the Sinead O'Connor cover version and you'll
see, or rather, hear, what I mean!]
All in all, Le Cairde's "Moving Forward" is a gentle offering, a tasty enough
appetizer, but I wouldn't quite have it for main course, if you know what I
Check out the band's webpage: www.lecairde.de
Bill Laswell "Points of Order"
Records - INR011
OK, why am I reviewing this album in Folkworld? Have we finally decided to d-i-v-e-r-s-i-f-y
and review experimental music with a hip-hop/ jazz/ funk/ breakbeat edge? No,
I'll tell you why. Because we're talking about a release by Bill Laswell here.
"Who?" you ask. Bill Laswell. The Bill Laswell who has had over 20 years of
experience as a touring musician and composer and nearly 300 albums to his credit.
Bill Laswell, producer and bassist who has collaborated with some of the most
illustrious and eclectic names in music across all genres and boundaries in
the last few decades, including Herbie Hancock, Mick Jagger, Laurie Anderson,
Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop, Buddy Miles, Public Image Ltd., Peter Gabriel and innumerable
others. With a no-frills manifesto which you can read for yourself at www.innerhythmic.com,
Laswell, founder of Innerhythmic Records, basically propounds an extended musical
experiment, "an ecstatic journey into known and unknown worlds of sound." Listen
out for the organ-jazz melodies of German born pianist/producer/contemporary
Karl Berger (Lee Konitz, John McLaughlin, Charles Mingus), as well as the characteristic
Laswellian bass-drum intergroove that defines the underlying pulse of the album.
"Points of Order" is, then, a seamless and hypnotic journey into the new frontiers
of electro-acoustic mutant harmonics, new jazz, rap, funk, hip-hop, dub and
trance. Yep, this album pretty much has it all. And it's bloody brilliant. Turn
it up loud and let the Innerhythm grip your very soul. Bill Laswell's Innerhythmic
website can be found at www.innerhythmic.com.
Reckless Johnny Wales "It's Not About
Label: $15 Villa Villa Music (BMI)
I loved this album. It's a great collaboration between some pretty big-shots
in the music business, let me tell you that. The core band are: former Doobie
Brothers/ Steely Dan Grammy-wining rock guitar icon Jeff "Skank" Baxter, drummer/percussionist
for Nanci Griffith Pat McInerney, Michael Snow (bass, Hammond, tenor banjo,
piano and harmonica), Shawn Camp (acoustic guitars, fiddle, mandolin) and the
feckless, reckless, Bob Saporiti "a.k.a. Reckless Johnny Wales" (vocals, acoustic
guitar, harmonica) himself.
It's a wonderful album. "Quirky vocalists singing songs of substance" (taken
from the press release by internationally recognised music journalist John Lomax
III that I was given) doesn't quite sum it up; "Impassioned vocal performances
reminiscent of Elvis Costello and early Chris Rea, but surpassing both, intelligent
lyrics, Grade A+ instrumental accompaniment by hired hotshots and some pretty
fine guitar licks (listen to Track 6, "Passionate Love", which features Strawbs'
guitarist Brian Willoughby)", however, does.
All songs on the album were written by Bob Saporiti, whose alter ego, Reckless
Johnny Wales, emerged as soon as he retired, in 2001, from 17 years of work
at Warner Bros. Records, as Senior Vice-President, and General Manager of AOL/Time-Warner.
Hmm, that gives me an idea…:-)
I highly recommend this one. It's good, it's different, it's Reckless Johnny
Jeff Ball "Songs of Winter"
Label: Red Feather Music, RFP 1017
When I was asked to review an album of "Native American wood flute" music I
was slightly skeptical. I am not a fan of the New Age scene. Well, not normally
anyway. And certainly not an expert. But I was pleasantly surprised by Jeff
Ball's new album, "Songs of Winter", his sixth release in the U.S., which features
both timeless Thanksgiving and Christmas classics, as well as new melodies.
Ball must be given credit for his competence with the American Indian wood-flute,
an extremely difficult instrument to play, because it has fewer notes than a
classical metal flute. Therefore, it took some delicate fingering and breathwork,
and the playing of half, even three-quarter, hole notes, in order for the full
potential of the wooden flute to be realised on this album. Accompanied by Sennen
Quigley on keyboards and guitars, his brother Randy Ball on bass and Ted Natale
on drums and percussion, Jeff Ball takes the listener through an instrumental
journey ranging from gentle meditative tunes, to listener-friendly elevator
type music. "Songs of Winter" includes seasonal classics such as "Silent Night",
"Auld Lang Syne" and "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", as well as a new interpretation
of The Beatles' "Across the Universe", which wasn't too bad, actually! Ball's
three original pieces, "Through the Eyes of Innocence", "Winter Without You",
and "November", show traces of influence from Bela Fleck and Robbie Robertson.
To sum it up, "Songs of Winter" should really be called "Songs for Winter".
In other words, this album should appeal to the child inside you during the
festive season. The gentle, soothing sound of the American Indian wood-flute
creates the perfect relaxing, homely atmosphere for this wintry time of year.
Failing that, you could always use it as background music for that Shiatsu massage
you always wanted to give your loved one!
Chris Daniels; The Kings and Friends "The
Label: Voyage Records - CD77626
"Our love is like this little Mexican town/ It takes a whole lot of hits and
it's still hanging around." These are the opening lyrics of "50/50", the first
track on "The Spark". In this vein, this album by Chris Daniels and the Kings
is a witty, and at times heartbreaking, portrait of suburban life in the cities,
towns and bars in the American West. For nearly 20 years, Daniels (vocals and
guitars) and his band (Darryl "Doody" Abrahamson on trumpet and vocals, Kevin
"Bro" Lege on bass and vocals, Dean LeDoux on keys and vocals, Colin "Bones"
Jones on electric guitar, Jim Waddell on alto, tenor sax and vocals, and Randy
Amen on drums and vocals) have entertained fans in Colorado, where they are
based, with a characteristic mix of blues, blue-eyed soul and horn-infused rock.
Originally from Minneapolis, Daniels moved to New York City as a teenager, but
settled in Colorado in 1971, and currently teaches three courses at Arapahoe
Community College, including history of jazz. As for the band The Kings, they
were formed almost "by accident" in May 1984, when Daniels formed a rhythm &
blues horn band as a one-night joke stint. Two decades later, Chris Daniels
& The Kings have produced nine albums, toured worldwide and signed a new contract
with PKS in Germany which will make their CDs available throughout Switzerland,
Austria and Germany.
"The Spark" does have its bright moments I guess, especially the listener-friendly
tunes "50/50", "The Spark", "Way Out West" and "At Last", which are getting
quite a lot of airplay on independent radio stations across the U.S.A. Interesting
to note that Americana and rockabilly are gaining more fans across Europe too.
Visit the Chris Daniel and the Kings homepage: www.chrisdaniels.com.
Beyond the Fields "The Artist's Song/
This Morning Up in Heaven"
Label: BTF 002
Back in the late 1980s, a Swiss teenager who was influenced by heavy metal and
hard rock discovered the joys of folk (i.e. The Pogues and The Men They Couldn't
Hang) and started experimenting with writing some songs of his own. Meet André
Bollier, who later founded the band Beyond the Fields. The current line-up (as
of July 2003) are: André Bollier (vocals and acoustic guitar), Marcel Bollier
(Bass), Martin Flüge (drums and percussion), Uwe Schaefer (Mandoline) and Maximilian
To be honest, I can't really say much about this band. Not that their music
isn't good enough, there just literally isn't much of it on disc. BTF have only
released one 3-track EP called "Home" (1999), which contains studio recordings
of "Home", "Nothin' to Say" and "Any Time". The band itself has also seen several
changes in line-up; in the summer of 2002, André Bollier decided to form a smaller,
more compact version of the band which would enable them to play more live gigs.
The reduced line-up featured André on lead vocals and acoustic guitars, Michael
Sinn on backing vocals and electric guitars, and Martin Flüge on djembe and
various percussion instruments. This rendered the band a more acoustic, even
reggae sound which has influenced the opening minutes of "The Artist's Song".
In a completely different style, however, is "This Morning Up in Heaven", a
rude, tongue-in-cheek complaint against the Eternal One. Which brings me to
the point that Bollier's lyrics are mostly purely autobiographical. Take the
opening lines of "The Artist's Song": "Love music in all its forms/ Delicate
folk tunes just as much as funky beats, dirty metal riffs, or powerful classical
scores." So much for subtlety! And in "This Morning Up in Heaven": Saint Peter
Said, "Hey, God/ Remember that kid from Switzerland?/ You know, the skinny one/
Who's got his own folk rock band?" "You know, we took his mother/ His soulmate
and his closest friend/ Yet the little bastard/ Is getting back on his feet
again." And yes, this one sounds heavily Pogue-influenced.
I might buy their album when they finally release one; for now, however, I think
these guys need some time to get their act together! Visit Beyond the Fields'
Cois Tine "Memories"
Recorded at Gateway
"Memories" is a double-CD collection of 34 songs and tunes, all self-written
and composed by four musicians from central and western Ireland. The songs are
written mainly by Mick O'Connor and Mike Coyle, the former being the founder
of the band Cois Tine ("Beside the Fire" in Irish.) O'Connor's love for Irish
music started at the age of 8 when his mother became his first music teacher.
Today, he plays the accordion, melodeon and tin whistle and also writes poetry.
Coyle, who hails from Co. Cavan (and oh aye, that accent be tkick on some tracks!)
is a songwriter who, at the age of 84, is still churning out new melodies and
lyrics. The other two members who make up the band are Linda Welby (vocals and
keyboards), who hails from Loughrea, Co. Galway, and Peggy Higgins (vocals and
guitar), who spends her time between Galway city and Kilrush, Co. Clare.
The album was recorded at Gateway Recording Studios (run by Christian Berger
in Oughterard, Co. Galway) and features traditional airs and tunes with variation
for keyboards, guitars and drumbeats. Songs such as "Dear Old Leenaune Town"
(Leenane, in Connemara), "Shores of Derryclare", "The Lovely Hills of Doon"
and "Take Me Back to Galway" reflect the love of the Irish countryside, which
is a prevalent theme throughout the album.
"And what about the music itself? Would you recommend it?" you ask. Well, let's
put it this way. Have you ever been to one of those small "traditional" pubs
in Killeshandra or Arva in Co. Cavan on a Saturday night, where bags of Tayto
crisps are lined up behind the counter next to bottles of washing-up liquid
and Barrys teabags (I've always been more of a Barrys than Lyons person!) because
the pub doubles up as a grocery store, the only one open late at night when
you really need that pint of milk? If you have, well, remember that beardy guy
with the farmer's cap in the far corner of the room churning out a mixture of
folk/country tunes on his Yamaha keyboard, complete with synthesized drum beats?
Well if you liked his stuff, then you'll lap up this bumper of an album. No
offense to these musicians, of course. But to be honest, this CD wasn't really
my cup of tea. It'd probably give your mother or father-in-law hours of listening
The band's website, http://www.coistine.com,
was under construction at the time of review.
Moya Brennan "Two Horizons"
Label: Universal Music International - LC
Anyone who hasn't heard of this former lead vocalist of the band Clannad and
sister of popular singer/songwriter Enya ought to have their "folk junkie" membership
card revoked. After releasing over 20 albums with Clannad and participating
in various collaborations with artists such as U2 and Chicane, Moya Brennan
ought to have her own wax statue in the Irish Hall of Fame (or perhaps she already
does! Check out the Hot Press Irish Music Hall of Fame on Middle Abbey Street,
Dublin.) This is Brennan's fifth, and already highly-acclaimed, solo album which
weaves 16 tracks together seamlessly, creating a musical, and rather ethereal,
journey through the dreamy landscape surrounding Tara Hill (where the legendary
harp was played.) The Irish Harp, an instrument imbued with a mythical and historical
significance is itself featured throughout the album.
The title "Two Horizons" was inspired by Brennan's personal trip to Tara Hill,
whereupon, as she ascended the hill in early dawn, the moon was on one horizon,
and directly opposite, the sun was on its rise. Brennan felt this to be an apt
metaphor for Ireland's continued fusing of past and future, as reflected in
its myth and culture. The songs themselves were written in collaboration with
Ross Cullum, who plays guitar, percussion and keyboards on this album. Some
other musicians on the album include Sinead Madden on fiddle, Paul Byrne on
drums and percussion, Máire Breatnach on fiddle and viola, and Martin Carthy
on guitar. The tracks "Show Me the Way", "Change My World" and "Falling" are
already receiving considerable airplay on radio stations worldwide, and the
number of copies of the album being sold speaks for itself. Given the fact that
this is also an enhanced CD with additional audio and visual goodies, I reckon
it should make a very juicy stocking filler this Christmas!
Homepage of the artist: www.moyabrennan.com
Label: Own (Chocolate Records); No. CHOC001CD;
2001; Playing time: 51.06 mins
Three beautiful female voice and two electro-harps, presenting songs and music
based in Scottish traditions - that is Shine.
The trio combines three of the most distinguished singers from the Scottish
music scene, all of them having a record of unique vocal arrangements and innovating
folk traditions. Corrina Hewat, part of the folk jazz duo Bachué,
has her roots in Scottish folk, but has studied Jazz. Alyth McCormack
is one of the most impressive Gaelic singers around at the moment. Finally,
Mary MacMaster has already a long established reputation in the folk
music scene, as part of Sileas, the Poozies and various other projects. The
band Shine blends these talents and voices, to a magically beautiful and distinctive
"Sugarcane" features a mixture of tradtional Gaelic songs - both enchanting
slow ballads and waulking songs - and a selection of English songs from all
sorts of songwriters from Jazz, Pop, Folk and Scottish poets (Ali McInnes, Rick
Taylor, Sting, Michael Marra, Robert Burns, Robert Tannahill). Most songs are
built around stunning vocal arrangements, yet each voice has also its solo parts;
the three voices are each very distinctive and make up a unique blend. The harps
of Mary and Corrina add to many songs additional depth and atmosphere.
Shine has been this autumn on intensive UK tour, partly also in a combined tour
with three jazz divas. Their live appearances were stunning and memorable. This
CD is as stunning, even though different songs are highlights on the album than
the highlights of Shine's live performance.
This is a wonderful album, calm and full of beauty. Perfect music for quiet
Homepage of the artist: www.shine3.com
Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion "Dore"
No.SCD2421; 2003; Playing time: 46.39 min
An exciting Welsh album that crosses many musical boundaries. The band Bob Delyn
A'r Ebillion is steeped in Welsh roots, however, the music they play is contemporary
and often quite radio-friendly. The album "Dore" has been produced
by the famous Welsh producer Gorwel Owen who has already arranged albums of
the Super Furry Animals and the likes - and this influences cannot be overheard.
"Dore" presents an exciting mixture of songs, all in Welsh language,
many with typical themes from traditional songs of the "Celtic" traditions.
The music changes between rootsy guitar/singer-songwriter pop via roots rock
and slightly more shrill folky numbers to slow, harp accompanied songs. Some
of the music reminded me of Runrig, some of Travis, some of diverse more folky
acts; yet this band has its very own distinctive styles. Most of the songs are
sung by the gentle smoky voice of Twom Morys. The band features instruments
such as harp, sax, guitars, violin, bass, percussion and drums.
This is an album full of surprises, overall a convincing roots album, with the
potential of bringing Welsh language music more into the mainstream market.
Contact to artist: email@example.com,
contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
La Lionetta "Arzan"
Ethnosuoni; NoES5331.; 2003; Playing time: 46.59 min
This album celebrates the 25th anniversary of this excellent band from the Piedmont
region in Italy. Even though the band exists already such a long time, this
is only the fifth album of La Lionetta. As in former albums, "Arzan"
is again an album full of positive atmosphere, power and passion. The band manages
to combine the enthusiasm of a brassy southern village band with an internationally
appealing high profile concert band. The band bases its music on its piedmont
traditions, but takes in influences from various parts of the world. Most of
the numbers are original, all are in Piedmont dialect.
The most distinctive element of La Lionetta is without doubt the bass tuba blasting
through most of the band's music, and providing a lot of the power and groove
to the band's sounds. Add to this the sound of Italian bagpipes weaving their
way through several songs, a rather tribal sounding percussion, and several
typical folk instruments, such as violin, guitar, mandolin. And then there is
a range of guests on this album, most of them providing an additional groove
by adding some more brass - trumpet, saxophone, clarinet etc. The lead singer
of La Lionetta, Maurizio Bertani, is a charismatic singer with a warm voice,
strong enough to sing along to very brassy music. Among the guests are also
two female singers, providing at times an attractive contrast to Maurizio's
An impressive album with a lot of groove, wild yet most of the times very melodic;
plenty of melodies that you stay in your mind for a long time. A CD which will,
I am sure, will find regularly its way into my CD player!
Homepage of the artist: http://www.lalionetta.it,
contact to artist: email@example.com,
contact to label: firstname.lastname@example.org
Label: Own; DISCANTO CD01.; 2001; Playing
time: 64.46 min
Music from the Italian Abrruzian region. Originating from the band "Vico
del Vecchio" from the 70s, Discanto have been formed in 1995, yet they
are still going strong, and their music sounds fresh and young. The five piece
band combines accordion, violin, tamburine, guitars and percussion, along with
strong and rather intense singing voices. Most of the songs on this album are
traditional; several of them will sound familiar to those who own a number of
Italian folk CDs. The music is perfectly played, and has a lot of charme. I
have to admit though that, especially in the slower songs, the singing is getting
too intense for me, even though I find the singing rather impressive. Still,
overall I did enjoy listening to this CD, it has exciting musical arrangements,
the choice of songs is tasteful. You do also get a lot of value for money with
this CD - more than an hour's worth of quality music.
Homepage of the artist: www.discanto.net,
contact to artist: email@example.com
Aes Dana "Frontiera"
Ethnosuoni; NoES5333.; 2003; Playing time: 45.28 min
Some of the most exciting Irish and Celtic based music releases of the last
couple of years have come from the European continent - thinking of Birkin Tree
from Italy, Fromseier Rose from Denmark, Danny Guinan with his Dutch band. All
of these take their main inspiration in Irish music, but add new dimensions
and ideas to the music, creating something new and exciting. This album fits
neatly into the list.
Aes Dana is an Italian band with a line-up of celtic harp, violin, saxophone,
flute and tin & low whistle, guitars and percussion. Additionally they have
in Valeria Milazzo an enchanting singer, whose style is more based in pop than
traditional music. For this very CD, the band managed a real coup by convincing
Paddy Keenan, one of the best uillean pipers of the world, and Irish accordionst
Mairtin O Connor to join them. In particular Paddy Keenan makes quite an impression,
and without his stunning uillean pipes the album would not quite be the same
(even though I am sure it would still be very good!).
Most music on this album has been composed and arranged by the band's guitarist,
Guiseppe Leopizzi. The style is modern celtic folk pop, with plenty of pleasant
ideas to pep up the music, and with atmospheric and mellow moments as well exciting
rock arrangements of folk themes, at times reminding of the Breton band Glaz.
Besides Paddy's pipes, other instruments that make a strong impression and give
this album its character are the Celtic harp and the saxophone. Most of the
songs are in English language, and even though the singing style is for my taste
a bit too much based on pop, the musical arrangements of the songs make them
exciting and unique.
A convincing Celtic album with exciting influences from the South.
Contact to label: http://www.folkclubethnosuoni.com;
Christine Primrose & Brian Ó hEadhra
"An Turas - Gaelic song from Scotland and Ireland"
Music; No. CACD003; 2003; Playing time: 41.35 min
This album celebrates the common traditions of Gaelic Ireland and Scotland,
bringing together two excellent singers from the two Celtic nations. Christine
Primrose comes from the Isle of Lewis, one of Scotland's islands in the Outer
Hebrides. She is native Gaelic speaker and has been singing traditional Gaelic
song all of her life. Brian Ó hEadhra comes from Dublin; he has learnt
Irish Gaelic at school, and was inspired by traditional sean nos Gaelic singing
from his regular visits to the Irish speaking areas of Connemara. Brian is also
founder of the internationally acclaimed Celtic music group Anam.
On this album, the two singers decided to sing songs as they might sing them
to their friends and family at an informal gatehring in their own homes, and
this album has actually been recorded in their houses. The selection of songs
gathered on this album includes traditional Gaelic songs from Ireland and Scotland,
as well as new Gaelic songs composed by the two singers in the traditional style.
Many of the songs are a capella; some are subtly accompanied by guitar. The
two voices work beautifully together - Christine has a light pure voice, while
Brian's is warm and rather deep. Most a capella CDs get a bit much for me; this
one is an exception - every moment of this CD is impressive and deserves the
full attention. The fact that the voices alternate with each song (they only
seldomly sing in chorus) makes each song more distinctive, and gives the album
enough variation to keep listening, even if you do not understand a word of
Gaelic. This is pure beauty of Gaelic traditions.
Homepage of the artist: http://www.brianoheadhra.com,
http://www.anammusic.com; contact to
Peter Puma Hedlund & Company "Another Way"
Music; No.RPMCD-001; 2003; Playing time: 45.52 min
Peter Puma Hedlund, from Sweden, plays one of the Swedish national instruments,
the nyckelharpa, a keyed fiddle with a unique, subtle yet full sound. He is
a two time winner Nyckelharpa World Championship title, and his talent on this
instrument is well proved on the album. The album has been released in the USA,
yet the publisher stresses that the album is 100% Swedish.
I must say, I have very mixed feelings about this album. I love the moments
when Peter plays solo, or only subtly accompanied - his playing is beautiful,
and I could listen to it for hours. Unfortunately this beauty is at times rather
inappropriately disturbed - take the first number of the album as a good example:
It starts beautifully and promising with the wonderful sound of the nyckelharpa
subtly accompanied by guitar, being then all of a sudden interrupted by rather
blandly played percussion along with keyboards, dobro, as well as uilleann pipes,
sounding more like bland (folk) dance music, and overpowering the lovely sound
of the nyckelharpa completely. this happens time and time again. The clear talent
of Peter shines quite often through, but for my taste he would have been better
off limiting the number of guest musicians on this album. On a more personal
note, the combination of dobro and nyckelharpa does not work for my ears. The
sleeve notes say that Peter's normal band features only a guitarist/accordionist
and a keyboard/clrinet/pump organ player - that sounds already more appealing
Having said that, I was impressed by Peter's playing, and I would love to hear
a full solo CD of Peter.
Contact to artist: firstname.lastname@example.org,
contact to label: email@example.com
Chateau Neuf Spelemannslag (CNS) "Curing Norwegian
No. HCD7165; 2001; Playing time: 46.06 min
Chateau Neuf Spelemannslag are, in my opionion, probably the most exciting and
unique band on the Scandinavian scene. CNS are more of a folk orchestra, with
16 highly talented band members, creating a terrific blend of Norwegian traditional
music, jazz, classical and rock music. The band combines an eclectic and exciting
range of traditional and modern instruments, featuring hardanger fiddles, tenor
and soprano saxophones, clarinets, accordion, whistle, bagpipes, guitar, piano,
electric bass and drums/percussion. Add to that four brilliant female singers,
and plenty of innovative ideas, fun of playing, and backgrounds as diverse as
traditional, classical, jazz and rock - and you have CNS.
The music sounds at times more like a quality jazz bigband - with the one exception
that the band plays not "boring" jazz classics, but instead sexy Norwegina
traditional tunes. And even though the band has 16 members, every single one
will get detailed attention. This is most exciting music, that crosses musical
borders in a natural way, without compromising the roots of the music. The music
is groovy, filled with joy, yet also with a pinch of the typical darkness of
Scandinavian music, and new pleasant musical surprises are waiting for the listener
This is an essential album for fans of Scandinavian music, as it is for fans
of individual bigband jazz. 46 minutes of entertaining, exciting and impressive
As this album is already three years old, hopefully we can expect soon the next
album of this terrific band.
Homepage of the artist: http://www.cnsband.com,
contact to artist: firstname.lastname@example.org,
contact to label: email@example.com
David Munnelly "Swing..."
Hummingbird; No.DDCD002; 2001;
Playing time: 43.46 min
David Munnelly is a superb Irish accordion player, who has played in diverse
Irish music projects, most noteably in Niamh Parsons' Band. This is his first
solo album, and it makes you hope that it is the first of many!
Even though the music is always centred on David's accordion playing, he has
gathered for the CD a wonderful bunch of talented musicians, including ex-Danú
fiddler Daire Bracken, Richie Buckley on soprano sax, Galvin Ralston on guitars;
plus percussion, bass, hammond organ. The tunes played are a mixture of David's
compositions, traditionals and contemporary tunes. The album shows the full
width of David's skills - playing fast and typical traditionals, beautiful slow
tunes, and slightly more unusual very catchy tunes with more of a musette sound,
such as "Lively Leah". Overall happy music, played with passion and
skill; music that goes beyond the typically played Irish traditional jigs and
reels. The next album from David should be due soon, and I am looking forward
Homepage of the artist: http://www.davidmunnelly.com,
contact to artist: firstname.lastname@example.org,
contact to label: email@example.com
Ben Sands "Better Already"
Label: Spring Records; 2003; Playing time:
Ben is musically the more quiet and thoughtful singer of the Sands Family, a
family band internationally known for the songwriting of the individual band
members. All songs on this album are written by Ben. The album features some
beautiful and emotional quiet songs, songs about love, friendship, loneliness,
all with charming lyrics. Other songs have more of a traditional ballad feel,
such as "Fair exchange" and "Wedding Daze". There are also
a couple of tunes - one set written for Ben's granddaughters, the other to say
farewell to Newry Town - when Newry received city status with the start of 2003!
The album is focussed on Ben's singing and guitar playing, yet there is a large
number of musicians that provide some additional musical input.
This is an album full of warmth and thoughtful stories. A beautiful album for
those quiet dark nights.
Homepage of the artist: http://www.bensands.co.uk,
contact to artist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Né Ladeiras "Da Minha Voz"
Label: Zona Musica (in Germany via Galileo);
No.ZM00053; 2001; Playing time: 54.34 min
Né Ladeiras is one of the leading folk/roots singers of Portugal; she
has been also founding member of the Portuguese top band Brigada Victor Jara.
"Da Minha Voz" is her sixth solo album. Né has a beautiful
warm voice that has this typical element of Portuguese fado music in it.
The album is a collaboration of the singer with Brasilean singer and composer
Chico César and Portuguese poet Tiago Torres da Silva; most of the songs are
written by the poet, put to music by Chico César and sung by Né.
The songs build their theme around the role of women in the discovery of Brazil.
Musically, the album crosses boundaries, with main musical influences from Portugal,
Brazil and Africa.
The music is extremely well crafted, combining acoustic folk instruments (bouzouki,
accordeon, guitars, bagpipes, roots percussion) and modern instruments (electric
guitar, samples, drums), and combining soft and romantic melodies with tribal,
sampled or upbeat songs. Each number of the CD has plenty of unique atmosphere;
while it takes influences from all sorts of music from around the world, it
always keeps its distinctiveness and charme. I love it.
Contact to label: email@example.com
Haugaard & Høirup "Om sommeren"
Folk Music Production GO; No. GO0203; 2003; Playing time: 42.12 min
What a time of the year to bring out a CD entitled "In the summer"
- the album has the idea of having a sense of summer, plenty of sunshine, flowers.
And I suppose listening to it does remind you that summer will soon be again
on its way, slowly but surely.
Fiddler Harald Haugaard and guitarist/singer Morten Alfred Høirup are
among the best folk fiddle/guitar duos of our time, and you can be sure that
they have proved on this album once again that they are worldchampion league
players. Compared to their earlier releases, this album has a more relaxed and
gentle atmosphere. A lot of the music has been composed by the two musicians,
yet also these tunes have a distinct Danishness about them. Most of the tunes
are gentle, and have beautiful melodies that lets your mind drift away into
day dreaming - maybe indeed of summer with all its warmth and flowers. There
are also two songs on the album, sung by Morten Alfred; both are traditional
songs with a romantic flair.
Many fiddle/guitar duos seem to have to prove their talent by playing as fast
as they can, yet at the times destroying some of the beauty of the tunes. Haugaard
& Høirup do not make this mistake - "Om sommeren" features
mainly slower tunes which showcase their talents, and let the tunes speak for
Haugaard & Høirup are today's musical ambassodors of Denmark; there
seems to be no other music act from Denmark that makes a similar impression
internationally. This is another superb album, which I am sure will bring them
once again plenty of praise in Denmark and worldwide.
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