Issue 30 01/2005
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Mynta is a Swedish-Indian group who mix Indian, Scandinavian music with Arabic,
African and Latin influences. The group started in 1979 but it would take until
1987 to meet with the Indian musicians Fazal Qureshi and Shankar Mahadevan who
are members of the band even on this new cd. Besides the different areas of
world-music the band has besides the traditional music, a big feeling of jazz
music. Together with the electronic beats and the very strong musicians make
from this melting pot of music a real listening pleasure. The cd starts with
the title song Teabreak which is a heavy dance song with a great touch of India
ready to dance the night away in some hot steamy night-club. The cd also includes
a house remix of this song to make sure my feet cant follow the beats anymore.
But there is also plenty of room for more subtle songs like OA's Celtic dance
which, funny enough, feels like one of the most Indian songs on the cd because
of the fabulous vocals. More romantic is Sunset in Beijing in which the group
present a more acoustic sound with a warm feeling of late night jazz. For me
Teabreak is a very open, uncomplicated cd without being to commercial. Top musicians
who play strong compositions in a modern way.
Petra Eisend "A statement of mine"
Label: Own; 2003
Petra Eisend plays the Djembe for some years now and wanted to make a solo project
around the techniques of Adama Djame. On the cd she performs seven tunes from
which five are traditional. Although it must be great to really go for an instrument,
for me as a person who doesn't play the Djembe this is a difficult cd to judge.
Already during the first tune I feel board as it's like the same rhythm goes
on and on. After two songs I wished she would at least use a flute somewhere
to give the cd some variation (the light background vocals on Lubanche get over-screamed
by the drums so I don't count these in.) Maybe another djembe player would enjoy
this cd a lot, but for me this is just to much of the same.
Contact: tel: 097268225
Paola Lombardo, Donata Pinti & Betti Zambruno
"So sol d'amarti alla follia"
ethnosuoni; No. 5341; 2004
Paola Lombardo, Donata Pinti & Betti Zambruno are three female vocalists from
the Italian Piemonte region which is situated in the north/west of Italy. As
many areas of Italy this region has a rich history in traditional music. Central
role plays the three strong vocals of the singers. A beautiful combination of
a high pitch younger vocal with two strong, almost dark older voices. The combination
is close to perfect and somehow it shows the voices of three generations in
all it's beauty. On the cd they recorded several traditional songs from the
Piemonte region but also songs who are composed in the past fifty years. There
is also a French traditional which is logic because the area is situated at
the French border. The music is also a mixture of Italian and French styles.
Mon amand de Saint Jean is a typical French chanson while Ama chi ti ama has
a much more Italian atmosphere. Although the vocals are most important on the
cd, it also contains some percussion, hurdy gurdy, accordion and a few other,
more or less, traditional instruments. The musician play at the background and
are pure to support the vocals. So sol d'amarti alla follia is a traditional
cd of high quality. A welcome addition to the Italian big collection of folkmusic.
From the first to the last tone, the cd catches me with rich, pure and quality
The unseen guest "Out there"
Label: Own; 2004
The unseen is a duo that mixes Indian traditional music with folk, rock and
a touch of many other places of this world. Out there is a self produced cd
from two inspiring musicians who met in India a few years ago. Declan Murray
who was travelling through the country with his guitar met the other halve of
the duo Amith Narayan and they spend several weeks jamming together, creating
their own unique music. Together with a few guest musicians The unseen guest
managed to record an intense and real strong debut cd. Starting of with Let
me in which has an open atmosphere and a good feeling of both the west and the
east. Smooth percussion and an almost Arabic violin make this song a real opener.
More down to earth and a bit darker is In the black which in spite of it's simple
structure is very effective. This is also because of Declan Murray's vocals
which is a bit husky and although limited in reach, he uses it very well. He
creates a warm atmosphere with his vocals helped by the subtle percussion and
especially the Indian elements in the music. Also some blues on this cd Listen
to my son shows a whole different side of the band. Decla's vocals is different
in such a happy folk-blues song. It has more body which shows that he knows
how to use his voice in different styles of music. Nice song, but still I prefer
the meltingpot ones. On the opposite of this song there is Mangala express which
feels like an old Indian raga mixed with more Western chords and instruments.
This Out there is a strong debut cd of two musicians who search for a new sound
in music. It shows a lot of potential and I hope the duo will continue developing
their own style and record more of their nice music.
Homepage of the artist: www.unseenguest.com
Wylie & the Wild West "Hooves of the horses"
Label:Dualtone 80302-01163-2; 2004
The band Wylie & the wild west is the group around Wylie Gustafson who is a
known western entertainer in the USA. On this new cd Hooves of the horses he
mixes typically western music with a bit of folk, swing, country and rockabilly.
All sixteen songs are easy-listening and brought in the same decent- no-risk
style. Actually most of his songs, like for example I grab my saddle horn and
blow, remind me of old musical songs. The same atmosphere and easy to sing along.
Wylie has a warm voice which is very pleasant to listen to. Especially in the
more slow songs I like the rest and inner peace he shows in his music. This
is a solid cd with typically music that most people will recognise immediately
as the music of the wild, wild west. It has no surprises but is of a solid constant
quality. Of course you must like this special type of music to really appreciate
Homepage of the artist: www.wylieww.com
Eddie Pennington "Walk the strings"
No. cd40146; 2004
As a big fan of the folkways label I'm always interested in what the label issues
next. Having a small collection of the old vinyl records from this label full
with field recordings and other authentic music, I did loose the label a bit
when they stopped pressing lp's. The label just released a intriguing guitar
cd by Eddie Pennington who is by now a known and awarded thumb-picker. A student
from Mose Rager and inspired by Mele Travis he shows on this cd a fine collection
of 20 (almost all) solo pieces. It's clear that there is a master at work. He
has a full and lively playing style and his interpretation of old blues songs
or other more or less known old and new traditionals is pure and rich of tradition.
Great how this cd shows several sides of the instrument and the musicians. Eddie
Pennington is one of the best in his style of music, that is what walk the strings
La moresca antica "La turchi alla marina"
ethnosuoni; No. 5337; 2004
La moresca antica is an Italian group who play Italian marines songs of the
past few hundred years. Together with a group guest musicians their acoustic
interpretations of, often ancient, songs give a nice picture of an old tradition.
Because Italy is and was a meeting pint of several cultures, on the cd many
styles will pass by. Sometimes Arabic, sometimes almost Celtic and sometimes
real Italian music but mostly with a Medieval character. A song like sanda nicole
has the feeling of a real sea shanty while the beautiful Riturnella breaths
Italian air. Same for a song like Tira tira barba nicola canto dell'argano which
comes from the region of Venice and shows the typical harmony vocals which are
known from this region. Further the cd contains a tarantella from Napels, prison
song from Rome and a lot of songs from the Italian coast and songs who were
sung on the ships while travelling on the ocean. A nice cd which besides the
songs of the marines gives a good overview of the different styles the Italian
traditional music has. I prefer these songs in which the ancient instruments
play a role. They spice up the music a bit because I do miss the Italian fire
sometimes, which I normally like so much in the Italian traditional music. The
music is done really well but a bit to neatly, but don't let this stop you from
getting this cd because there is enough quality here to enjoy the fourteen recordings
and the extra's which can be viewed at the computer.
Kim Sanders & friends "You can't get there
Kim Sanders is a musician from Australia who plays several wind instruments.
From different kind of gaita's up to the tenor sax which he all uses on this
cd as well. He studied and performed music for a longer period in Turkey, the
Balkan and West-Africa and these influences can be heard in his recorded work.
On this cd he co-operates with Sabahattin Akdagcik on several lute instruments,
Steve Elphick on double bass, Peter Kennard on percussion, Tarlochan Singh on
tablas and Epizo Bangoura on djembe and balafon. The cd contains a collection
of strong compositions which mostly find their roots in Turkey an a few in the
Balkan. The music is sometimes mystic like in Segah taksim (taksim is the Turkih
word for improvisation, that is what he does in this tune) or in Kabadayi. But
the music can also be full of tension and real virtuous like in the Bulgarian
tune Giorgi's pravo. Kim sanders shows that he knows his way on all the instruments
he plays. The compositions and performance are of high quality and the mixture
of instruments from different areas give a rich sound to the music. I like the
sound of tabla in Blues for the Balkans. A tune from Macedonia which indeed
is brought in a blues way and these tabla's together with the sax make this
a beautifully, almost sad piece of music. If you would like to order this cd
please visit the webpage as mentioned below, it's worth the trouble.
Homepage of the artist: http://kimsanders.customer.netspace.net.au/index.html
Label: Own; 2004
The German band Geyers plays, according to themselves historock. A mixture of
rock and traditional music from several kinds. A remarkable group who have been
chosen musicians of the year in 1999, their name at that time was Geyers schwarzer
haufen which they changed in 2000 into Geyers. The band combines electric guitars
and drums with ancient instruments such as hurdy gurdy, bagpipe, flutes, crumhorn
and many others. The band puts a lot of time and care in the sound of their
music which is of a high quality. Also the compositions are mostly strong and
really catchy. One of the highlights for me personally is their interpretation
of several Gavotten by the composer Praetorius. A really strong composition
which starts in a light, happy folkrock style with merry flutes and a pretty
violin. But halfway bursts into a heavy electric guitar solo which leads to
a medieval hardrock final with crumhorn and all. On the cd they also recorded
several songs. The low vocals remind me sometimes of the throat singing from
Tuva like in the start of Herori matori. I find that the songs can be divided
into two categories. Songs like the earlier mentioned Herori matori but also
Lasterzungen are nice and easy to listen to rock songs with traditional influences.
I prefer songs like God's gospel or Karmeliter where the group really creates
a full sound and reaches a great symbioses between modern and ancient music.
Here the group also shows their quality in harmony singing. Which is of a simple
structure but very effective. For me Geyers is one of the best bands in this
field of music in Europe. At some moments they drive me nuts with great tunes
like the earlier mentioned Gavotten. But each of the songs and tunes is above
average and shows a group that grows better and better each new cd I hear by
Homepage of the artist: www.geyers.info
Jeff Callahan "Woebegone"
Label: Own; 2004
Jeff Galahan is a singer songwriter from New Jersey, USA. Together with a big
group of musicians he recorded his second cd Woebegone after four years of heavy
touring. He plays the acoustic guitar himself while other instruments such as
violin, drums, flutes and other electric and, more or less, traditional instruments
are played by the many guest musicians. To make it complete he also has Kathy
Philips doing the female second vocals, a strong addition to Callahan's own,
nice voice. I'm very surprised that this is a private pressing as the music
easily could be issued on any major folk interested label. A good sound, positive
atmosphere and strong compositions. Often the music has a light Celtic sound,
a bit of Americana but mostly it's straight and honest rock songs with a good
traditional touch. Sometimes a bit psycho like in Together alone on other moments
with a light oriental touch like in Pawan kaur. This Woebegone is a pleasure
to listen to. Somehow it makes me think back to the music of the Scottish band
Runrig, although it's not the music that makes me write this but the fresh and
open atmosphere of the that makes me make this comparison. If you like a easy
to listen to, friendly cd with a good mixture of folk and rock with some sideways
to other styles - this might be exactly what you are looking for.
Homepage of the artist: www.jeffcallahan.com
Stefano Valla, Attilio Rocca & Attore Losini
ethnosuoni; No. 5339; 2004
This Italian trio Stefano Valla, Attilio Rocca & Attore Losini started as an
idea to honour the great Italian accordionist Attilio Rocca, who is a interpretator
of traditional music for ages. Together with the two other musicians on pifferi
(an Italian reed instrument) and guest musicians on vocals, hurdy gurdy, guitar
and other instruments, the great accordionist recorded 21 traditional tunes
and songs. The cd has an extreme pure sound and is brought directly from the
heart. Beautiful example is Il pover luisin in which young and old voice, accordion
and guitar, create a beautiful ancient piece of music with a great final on
accordion and pifferi. To enjoy this cd you must like accordion music in the
traditional way. Not like the instrument is often used by modern bands, here
you here the instrument like it has been used for the past decades. Also the
sound of the pifferi is very specific and won't be liked by all people.
Last call "10"
Label: music and words; mwcd 2031; 2004
Last call is a Dutch blues group who play original material. Sometimes beautiful
raw blues like in the title song 10 but also accordion blues like in thinkin
about you which, as most of the songs, is a straight easy to listen to song.
I do miss a bit of rawness in the vocals and sometimes the mix sounds a bit
easy but that doesn't change the fact that this is a nice cd. A bit to common
to get above the other blues recordings, it just misses a remarkable own sound.
Although I must say again that they convince me in the earlier mentioned song
10 and Ramblin in which the music suddenly has tension and is a bit wilder than
the other songs.
TMO "Me & my raincoat"
No. 584-2; 2004
TMO is a 100% blues band who focus on pure acoustic blues. This trio exists
out of Hubert Dorigatti on vocals and guitars, Egon Niederkoffer on bass and
Adrian Kirchler on percussion. The cd Me & my raincoat is the bands debut cd
although all three musicians have been active in the blues music for several
years. All tracks are self-penned and have a authentic atmosphere. Dorigatti
has a nice voice, although a bit more roughness would upgrade the music a bit
more, his voice is powerful and warm at the same time. A nice cd which I enjoy
listening to, it's relaxing and pure and although this is a folkmagazine, I
do enjoy listening to such cd's like this one now and then. A pity for the band
that we don't have real blues experts, they would probably be able to put much
more sense in this review. I can only pass on the feeling I get by listening
to TMO, and that is a good feeling. Honest music with soul played by three fine
Radoov "Láska a vojna"
No. mam224-2 2003
Moravia has a long tradition in traditional music. The central instrument in
this area is the Cimbalon and the last few years it was especially Iva Bittova
and the band teagrass who made the Moravian music more known outside the borders.
Radoov is a group of traditional musicians who perform with a choir up to twenty
singers. The music is very intense and this cd is of high quality. It shows
several sides of the Moravian traditional music. The cd starts with a mystic
almost sacred piece of music. In Nepujdu já za takého it is a women choir who
sing a powerful song with help on fiddle, cimbalon and bass. This song has a
more light and uplifting atmosphere. In between these two extremes the group
recorded intense songs and great instrumental pieces with vocals of several
soloists from the Choir and from first violin player Radim Havlicek. I find
the music on many parts close to the Transsylvanian music. The way the bass
is played, the sound of the violin but also the way the cimbalon sounds reminds
me more to this tradition than to the music of any other area near Moravia.
Láska a vojna is pure traditional; experience of the highest quality. The cd
touches me on many occasions. It 's sometimes dramatic, sometimes happy but
often a bit sad and melancholic. Highly recommended.
Karl Ritter "Atmen"
No. sp-027-2; 2004
Karl Ritter is a guitarist from Austria who just released his latest cd Atmen.
He started his musical career on violin and switched to guitar in 1972. He recorded
his first work in 1980 and has issued a impressive collection of music since.
On the cd he plays solo, with his guitar and every sound you hear is real, without
any overdubs. It's a strange collection of songs in which Karl often surprises
by his innovating view to music. I also understand that his music is created
by improvisation only, which opens a whole new area of possibilities. He plays
pure blues orientated songs together with intriguing "sound searching" pieces
of music. With this I mean that he tries to find the limits of his instruments,
what sounds can it make in bot the conventional and unconventional way and how
can I turn these sounds into a piece of music. Good example is the song Zim.
I think Atmen will be liked by finger-picking lovers but also by people who
are into more improvisation, experimental music in a not to extreme way.
Homepage of the artist: www.ritter-produktion.at
Tenores di Bitti "Caminos de pache"
No. 8088; 2004
The Tenores di bitti are representators of a unique vocal tradition from the
island of Sardinia. The group was founded in 1974 and although their music is
very specific and the group had periods when only a small audience appreciated
their music, they have always been there devoting their time and talent to the
beautiful vocal tradition of the island. They founded the first school for Canto
a tenore to train others the specific way of singing. This way they kept the
traditional music alive. The new cd is the first recording of the current line
up. Which includes two founder members and two new vocalists. The basic of the
music can be explained as two bass voices form the basic for the songs by repeating
vocal sounds during a song. The bass vocals add small changes in the rhythm
and the pitch of the voice. On top of this bass vocals another singer will sing
the lyrics sometimes on the foreground, sometimes almost drowning in the bass
vocals. The music is pure and breaths a long history. It is amazing what techniques
the singers use and the music has a hypnotising character. The low vocals penetrate
deep into my body while the lead-vocalist give the songs extra emotion. A true
musical experience which is of high value to the world of traditional music.
Donovan "Beat Cafe"
No. 1081; 2004
Donovan, the known singer-songwriter is still very much alive. He just released
his latest cd beat cafe which is full of intriguing new songs. Helped by Jim
Keltner on percussion and the very recognisable sound of Danny Thompson on the
bass. Donovan mixes popmusic on the opening track with jazz and blues on most
of the other songs. Sober musical arrangements make the music speak for it self.
His lyrics are often almost spoken, like in Shambala. It works because it forces
to listen closer to what he is singing. Especially in this song it's like he
is sitting next to you whispering in your ear. On the cd he also sings one traditional
called The cuckoo. I know several interpretations of the song and always loved
Jean Ritchie's version. But where she makes it sound like a sweet, sad song,
Donovan turns it into a more dark, bit up tempo jazz song. Both versions are
so different that I'm so amazed bot are the same song. That's what I like of
traditional songs, making it your own and turning it into a new song although
it's decades old. Beat cafe is a strong cd on which Donovan seems to do what
he likes to do. He sounds relaxed and unforced the only thing is that I find
his lyrics often a bit to obvious. Especially when you compare them with the
two songs somebody else wrote the lyrics for, the earlier mentioned The cuckoo
and Dylan Thomas lyric Do not go gentle. It's the way Donovan brings his lyrics
that make them make sense. Still that doesn't change the fact that this is a
beautiful cd which I enjoy listening to a lot.
Strepitz CDs "no. 0" (1999); "Suns naturai"
(2003); "Vangeli apocrifi 01 la nativita" (2003); "Vangeli
apocrifi 02 passione" (2004); "Iluoghi della cornamusa" (2004)
Nos. cd320 - cd437 - cd508 - cd515 - cd518
Strepitz is a group of Italian musicians who play both jazz and folk music in
an exciting way. I had a two song cd reviewed by them last spring and ended
the review with the words that I was so sorry the cd contained only two songs.
Now I got hold on their entire catalogue and in this review I give you an short
impression of one of Italy's most creative music groups. Strepitz likes to search
for new adventures in music. Their cd's have often a theme or are made within
a special project. The band had some change in members but the basic of their
sound is a mixture of jazz and traditional music. Not old fashioned jazz but
modern jazz, sometimes very experimental.
In 1999 the band released Strepitz no 0. (Nota cd320) a collection of five traditional
and selfwritten pieces of music. Here the band sounds very open and they play
the tunes and songs in a refreshing way. The music is of the happy kind and
technically very balanced. But still far from experimental although I can hear
several small ideas in the music which will be used in a more intensive way
on their later cd's.
The cd is followed by the cd Suns naturai (Nota cd437) from 2003. On this cd
the band reaches a fascinating high level of music. The heavy, dark opening
song Furlana ends in a dreamworld of sounds full roaring wind and brass instruments.
Right at the beginning the band makes it clear that they got much more experimental
but still they keep the recognisable sound of jazz and tradition. Sometimes
I hear clearly Italian folk theme's coming out of the passionate music. What
follows are twelve other pieces of music which seem to be connected to each
other. It's like the band tells a long and lost story, sometimes furious, sometimes
sweet and harmless, often mysterious. An amazing cd, a highlight in the bands
In 2003 they also recorded another cd called Vangeli apocrifi 01 la nativita
(Nota cd508) The band combines literature and poetry with music. It has both
spoken word and music, which can make this cd less interesting for people who
don't understand Italian. But than, again the music is of such high quality,
it would be a pity not to hear this work as well. I find that this cd has a
much more traditional feeling than the others although it's the same band. In
una capanna will be recognised by many as Italian folkmusic while a song like
e dal cielo un paraninfo is more in de chanson style. These two types of music
get mixed in many of the other songs. It's less experimental, more back to basic.
Again a beauty of a cd which would be liked especially by the lovers of the
more traditional Italian music in stead of the experimental kind.
In 2004 the group continued with two cd's. First Vangeli apocrifi 02 passione
(Nota cd515). This cd starts almost sacred with beautiful female lead vocals
backed by male voices and a string instrument. Again the music is back to the
experimental type again and this time it's like jazz entered the middle-ages.
It has a less traditional sound, this time it's the jazz side of the band that
comes first. Exciting, but a bit like Suns naturai.
On their latest cd there are only three members left. This Iluoghi della cornamusa
(Nota cd518) is another highlight in the works of this group. It's a journey
through Europe by backpipe. The band takes several type of European backpipes
and show their sounds by playing from the tradition the instruments come from.
It starts very recognisable, the intro is what I was used from the band. The
same sound, same structure but with this difference that the music was is more
sober and has a purity that stays during the whole cd. Beautiful vocal part
on this song as well. What follows is an Italian piece, starting of on two Zampogna's
only the drone is heavy and the sound takes over the whole room. No instruments
added, pure the Zampogna bagpipe solo or as duo. This Italian part is absolutely
fabulous and still gives me goose-flesh all over. I could tell you about all
the songs on this cd but it's much better to get one yourself.
I hope I made clear that Strepitz is a band which is worth having the cd's from.
They play amazing music and have the guts to try new things. I'm very enthusiastic
about all their work but Sans naturai and Iluoghi della cornamusa are in my
opinion their two masterpieces.
Gorchestra Cantarchevai "In concerto"
ethnosuoni; No. ES5334; 2004
An Italian Christmas concert live on cd. This orchestra with choir brings traditional
(celebration) songs from all over Europe. It's a real Christmas cd full with
light choir works like on Noi siam i tre magi dell oriente, no se si sera el
amor and esodi biblici. On these songs the choir sounds closer to the choir
music from classical orchestra's while in songs like Vo girand per le osterie
it is much more traditional music that sounds through. I definitely prefer the
last style. The cd contains for example Hungarian, Italian, French music songs
and sometimes some spoken word set on music like in Notte oscura / melodia curda.
A nice atmospherically cd but not more than that. A bit to standard and the
sound quality isn't always at it's best. This might be caused by the hall they
Tarak Nath Mishra and Keshava Rao Nayak "Varanasi
Recordings; CD001; 2004
My first reaction when I saw the name of sitar-player Tarak Nath Mishra was:
never heard that name before. When checking out the information on the cd and
the website of the recordlabel I became more clear. "Fragment Recordings" is
a new and small label with no direct intention to release known artists. Besides
the "Varanasi Concert" they brought out a cd with recordings of New York-street
sounds. Although slightly different, this cd has the same idea behind it. The
recordings are far from hifi, but probably recorded with a small device, like
MD, or DAT. The concert consists a sitar-performance of Raga Kervani. After
a short alaap the tabla comes in, and they soon go to the faster part. A good
choice, as his playing technique in the slower part lacks the subtle touch of
the real masters. Before and after the concert-registration, there are two tracks
called "Atmosphere". The last track is a recording with the subtitle "a boat
ride across the Ganga". Besides that, the booklet consists pictures made around
Dasashwamedh gat in Varanasi. The whole idea is to create the illusion you are
really there, walking around, seeing the city and hearing the music. This cd
does not bring the highlight of Indian classical music, but it is what God must
have meant, when he created ethnomusicology.
Ustad Shahid Parvez "Magnificent Melody"
No. fy8086; 2004
Shahid Parvez is one of the leading sitar-players at the moment. As a nephew
of the late Vilayat Khan, he also plays an important role in spreading the sitar-style
of the Imdad Khan-tradition. On this cd the main piece is Raga Dabari. This
is a very old night-raga, and has been brought to fame by the singer Tansen
at the court of the Moghul Akbhar. The first part of the raga, called alaap,
is played without tabla. The way Parvez floats slowly from the low to the high
register from note to note shows a very fine touch. Still, listening to Pervez,
I always miss something. It is not his technical scale, there is nothing wrong
about that. What lacks is fire, or passion.
Knut Reiersrud Hans Frederik Jacobsen Vajra
Musikkforlag AS; HCD7191; 2004
Himalayan Blues is a co-operation between Vajra, a folkgroup from Nepal, and
the Norwegian group "The Funky HomoSapiens". They played together on a jazz-event
in Kathmandu, and after that, they made the 'nearly live'-recordings, we can
hear on this cd. The Nepali group consists a tabla-player, sarod, and bansuri
(bamboo-flute). Although music from Nepal is based on the Indian tradition,
it is more a folk-tradition. Their melodies and arrangements are more straightforward
and not following the strict rules of raga. The Norwegian musicians have a funky
background, at least that's what they tell themselves in the cd-booklet. I cannot
find many sources of funk in the music. The whole thing is very tame, and the
most notable moments are the pieces where the Nepali musicians take the front-role.
It seems that they followed mostly the pieces of Vajra, and the nice thing about
fusion-projects like this, is to aim at building a bridge between two different
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan "Regal Resonance"
No. fy8080; 2004
On "Regal Resonance" we can hear 50 years old recordings of a singer from Pakistan:
Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. Although the recordings are very poor, it is nice
to hear the music of India/Pakistan, as it was performed 50 years ago. It is
the main goal for a musician of the Indian tradition, to recreate the music
that his guru taught him. The music therefor doesn't change much over the years.
Still, you can hear that things have changed. Indian music has moved, after
the independence of India and Pakistan, from a court-culture to a concert-culture.
The music on the cd sounds very rough and the showing of virtuosity seems not
as important as it is today. Also the slow tempo, is much slower, than it is
in a slow piece today. It is not easy, at the start to listen to this cd, but
after taking this gap, it is very fascinating.
Dr. N. Ramani & Hariprasad Chaurasia "Together"
No. fy8087; 2004
Not many people know that Indian music is divided in two main traditions. The
north Indian music (Hindustani music) and the South Indian music (Karnatic music).
They use different instruments and also play different ragas. Sometimes musicians
from north and south play together. On this cd, the famous North-Indian bansuri-player
Hariprasad Chaurasia plays together with Dr. N Ramani. Ramani like Chaurasia
plays a bamboo flute. But the South Indian flute, is smaller and therefor has
a different sound. Also the ranges of the flutes are different. Chaurasia's
flute covers the lower octave, and Ramani the higher one. They play together
in a way that when Chaurasia starts low and goes up, Ramani picks it up when
the melody goes to the higher octaves. They can cover the whole broad range
an instrument like a sitar can produce. As main piece they chose Raga Malkauns/Hindolam.
Malkauns is a raga from north India, Hindolam from the south. But the ragas
share most of their main characterics, like the scale. This cd really is one
of the best Indian cd's I have heard last year.
The Unusual Suspects "Live in Scotland"
No. CDFSR1727; 2004; Playing time: 64.53 min
"The Unusual Suspects" could be seen as the Scottish response to the
genius Norwegian folk big band Chateau
Neuf Spelmansslag - they perform Scottish traditional music in a big band
format, with contemporary music influences. Directed by the acclaimed duo Corrina
Hewat (harp & vocals) and David Milligan (piano), the band brings together
22 of the most talented musicians from the Scottish music scene, with representatives
from most of the important Scottish folk bands. I can count in the line up,
apart from harp and piano, six fiddles, three pipes/whistles, two accordions,
four singers, a brass section with 2 trumpets, a sax and a trombone, plus guitar,
bouzouki, drums and percussion. To pick just 6 musicians, to give you a flavour
of the profile of the band: Chris Stout, Bruce MacGregor, Rory Campbell, Phil
Bancroft, Annie Grace, John Morran.
The result is often impressive, a wonderful piece of noise, with a combination
of wild tune sets, and excitingly arranged traditional songs, several of them
actually very quiet. In particular the combination of brass and folk instruments
makes often a very groovy sound. However, some numbers sound incredibly shrill,
like the Bass Strathspey Set, where you have a number of pipes and brass instruments
competing in who sounds more noisy and shrill - not necessarily a delight for
the ears. While several tunes are very high profile and arranged with great
ideas, The Unusual Suspects do not have yet the same sophistication that Chateau
Neuf Spelmanslag has.
The album was recorded live, and this is also what the Unusual Suspects are
about. No doubt in live this band is unforgettable, full of fire and inspiration.
The CD gives probably only a bit of an idea what this band is about - yet I
would not have liked to miss out on this special album.
Homepage of the artist: www.unusualsuspects.uk.com
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