Issue 31 1/2006

FolkWorld CD Reviews

Flook "Haven"
Label: Flatfish; No. 005CD; 2005; Playing time: 42.10 min
With "Haven", Flook show probably their highest level of musicianship so far. Only their third studio album, "Haven" is another masterpiece, following very well in the footsteps of their highly acclaimed "Rubai" album (reviewed in issues 22; chosen by FolkWorld's editors as Best CD of 2002). The tunes are, as usual, a mix of composiations by Sarah Allen and Brian Finnegan, and by other contemporary folk musicians, most of them from the "Celtic" scene. Again, there are a few guest musicians on some numbers to further fill the typical Flook sound - e.g. Ewen Vernal (bass), Padraig Rynne (anglo concertina), Andy Davies (hammond organ).
"Rubai" brought us an album full of catchy tunes with a strong focus on the rhythms, offering a lot of things that would draw the listener easily into the music. Compared to "Rubai", the music on "Haven" sounds more fluid, and perhaps somewhat more reflective. "Haven" is an album that will reward you if you take the time to listen to it; music for a different mood than "Rubai". Both albums stand on their own, with a rather different flair, yet both are distinctively Flook.
"Haven" was published to celebrate the tenth anniversary year of Flook. In those ten years we have seen them develop into a band of perhaps the highest level of musicianship to be currently found on the British scene. "Haven" will no doubt further spread their fame.
Homepage of the artist:, contact:
Michael Moll

Julie Fowlis "mar a tha mo chridhe - as my heart is"
Label: Macmeanmna; No. SKYECD33; 2005; Playing time: 44.10 min
One of the most impressive new voices in Gaelic song, Julie Fowlis has come to wider recognition as singer and instrumentalist in the young Gaelic band Dóchas. Julie has a beautiful, light and clear voice, and her singing comes right from the heart. This is Julie's debut solo album.
The first song on the CD, "Òganaich Uir a Rinn M' Fhàgall", is undoubtedly for me the highlight of the album, an all-time favourite masterpiece, full of freshness and with a melody that will remain in your head for a long time. While the CD never again reaches this genius quality, every title has a very high quality and makes very pleasant listening, just not being quite as memorable. All songs on the album are traditional Gaelic. Additionally, there are three sets of tunes, all very well chosen and less well known, showcasing Julie's skills on the whistle.
To make this album as beautiful as it is, the guest musicians were essential, providing excellent instrumentation - these include Danú's Eamon Doorley (bouzouki), guitarist Kris Drever, Allan (fiddle) and his sister Ingrid (harp) Henderson, and John McCusker.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to label:
Michael Moll

Asterikos "Asino Siculo"
Label: Folkclub Ethnosuoni; No. ES5340; 2004; Playing time: 49.05 min
This Sicilian band is the brainchild of Giancarlo Parisi, who has written most of the songs on this album. He also plays the more unusual instruments in the band, including (the liner notes have no translation of the Italian names of the instruments, so I am guessing) a set of bagpipes which looks on the photo nearly as big as Giancarlo himself, and a slightly shrill whistle. He is joined by Massimo Laguardi on percussion (including tammorra, tamburello, djembe) and Tanino Lazzaro on accordion and guitar, with the accordion being often very central in the band's sound.
While most songs are original, many melodies sound familiar from Southern Italian traditional music. The band sound is at times superb, including when the three sing in chorus. Other parts of the album are somewhat weaker, but always pleasant enough. The music ranges from very slow poetic songs to the more typical, lively and at times shrill songs. The album finishes with a donkey song, with plenty of eeyahs - a bit odd I suppose...
Contact to label:
Michael Moll

Various Artists "World Tour - world music and cinema"
Label: MK2 Music; No. 6114972; 2004; Playing time: 66.11 min
I did not expect that this CD would be appealing to me - I usually don't like samplers bringing together music from all over the world - I feel that this often does not work. In so far this was a very pleasant surprise, and indeed I would give the album top marks for a music sampler!
The concept of the album is to bring together world music used in various international cinema films. I have to admit that I have heard of hardly any of these "some of the most significant films from contemporary cinema", but for cinema buffs I name a few: Time of Gippsies, Bonanza, The Kite, Terminal, Monsoon Wedding.
The music represented on the album is a refreshing mixture of world music, some more traditional, some more modern, from four continents. There is Madredeus from Portugal, Kevin Johansen from Alaska, the Israeli Noa, the Algerian Souad Massi, LTK Commune from Taiwan, Ndeye Seneba Seck from Senegal.
Even though the 16 songs come from so different parts of the world, the album feels like one piece, with all numbers feeling right on the CD.
Michael Moll

Duane Andrews "Duane Andrews"
Label: Own; No. 0205749; 2004; Playing time: 39.56 min
A superb album sitting between a number of music styles. Duane Andrews is a stunning guitarist from Newfoundland, playing a blend of gipsy jazz / folk enriched by Newfoundland traditional music, which in itself is a mix of French, Irish, Portuguese and English influences.
While the album starts off with a jazz standard from the repertoire of Duke Ellington, it continues with numbers with a more folky background - tunes from a gipsy guitarist, a Newfoundland fiddler, a tango composer, there is also an Irish reel, a Portuguese waltz etc. Additionally, there are a few numbers composed by Duane himself. You can often hear the influence of the Gipsy Jazz player Django Reinhardt through.
The focus of the music is always on Duane's terrific guitar playing, but there are also guest musicians on rhythm guitar, acoustic bass and, for two numbers, trumpet. The music might be best described as folk music played by a top Jazz guitarist, and the result is refreshing and stunning. Highly recommended.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:
Michael Moll

Gunter Bauweraerts "Midwinter - Naar de Sterren"
Label: Own; 2004; Playing time: 66.56 min
This is the second "Midwinter" album from the Belgian musician and composer Gunter Bauweraerts, following the popular debut "Midwinter" in 2001 (see review in FolkWorld No. 22). "Naar de Sterren" follows the same concept as the debut - music with a winter feeling, nearly all composed by Gunter himself, played with an interesting and unusal range of instruments. Gunter plays bagpipes and the nyckelharpa, and he is joined on the album by organ, hurdy gurdy, violin, Celtc and Classical Harp, bodhrán, low whistle. There are guest performances from a children's choir, as well as of the singers Luc Arbogast and Lais.
The combination of instruments gives the music a reflective atmosphere and a feeling of times long gone by. In particular the organ is presented on this album as an impressive and beautiful folk instrument. The music is steeped in traditional music from Flanders, but takes influences from various other parts of Europe.
"Naar de Sterren" is definitely as recommendable as the previous Midwinter album. It is packed with beauty, and takes the listener away into dreams. This review comes unfortunately a bit too late for Christmas 2005 but why not order it now for 2006?
Contact to artist/label:
Michael Moll

Fine Friday "Mowing the Machair"
Label: Footstompin; No. CDFSR1726; 2004; Playing time: 48.06 min
This is yet another fine Friday indeed. After Fine Friday's celebrated debut album, the second album of the Scottish trio is no disappointment, in fact I find that the music is further developed than on the debut album - more mature, more rounded, even more perfect.
Fine Friday brigns together three young musicians from the Scottish scene: Anna Wendy Stevenson on fiddle and viola, Nuala Kennedy on flutes, whistle and vocal, and Kris Drever on guitar, bass and vocal. "Mowing the Machair" provides a superb mixture of wonderful slow songs, some sung by Nuala, others by Kris, and stunning instrumentals, all of them more the unusual ones.
Scottish music as harmonic and pleasant as it can be. A "must" for Scottish folk fans.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to label:
Michael Moll

James Graham "Siubhal"
Label: Footstompin; No. CDFSR1728; 2004; Playing time: 54.08 min
James Graham is one of the up and coming Gaelic singers, having won the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2004 Award. On his debut album, the youthful singer presents 14 Gaelic songs, traditional or written by some of the great Gaelic bards of the last few centuries. James Graham has a warm voice, and it is obvious that he feels very much at home singing Gaelic songs. While some of the songs are a capella, for many James is accompanied by e.g. piano (James Ross), clarsach (Phamie Gow), guitar (Kris Drever), flute / whistle (Donal Brown) or cello (Christine Hanson). Some of the songs are just awesome; James' interpretation of "Breisleach", with subtle piano backing, for example is just breathtaking.
This album is a bit like a Malt Whisky - you need to take the time to sit down, relax and cherish every aspect of it, to be taken away by its magic.
Contact to label:
Michael Moll

Telmo Pires "Passos"
Label: Traumton; No. CD5178-2; 2004; Playing time: 54.29 min
Telmo Pires is a Portuguese fado singer, being at home in Portugal as well as in Berlin and Paris. On this album he presents mainly his own material, pleasantly accompanied by some German musicians on piano, guitar, double bass and percussion. I usually do like Fado, but in Telmo Pires' case, while his songs definitely reflect the typical "saudade", the melancholy typical for Fado music, I find that somehow his singing does not grab me much, even after repeated listening. This is probably down to my personal taste, as he got very positive reviews in the German press.
Michael Moll

Alain Pennec Quartet "Bacchanales"
Label: Keltia Musique; No. KMCD155; 2004; Playing time: 51.07 min
I have to say that I am rather disappointed by this CD. I have heard a lot good about the French accordeonist Alain Pennec, and his playing on this album confirms that he is an exellent player. However, what I feel makes this album overall rather unspectacular are the music arrangements. In many tunes, drums and electric bass take over, which might make you tap away your foot to the music, but does not add anything to my enjoyment of the music. I find that the drums in particular make the music sound much more run-of-the-mill. From the two songs, the choice of the traditional Irish classic "A kiss early in the morning" sounds also a bit odd within the overall French folk music. The highlights of the album are those moments where the music features only Alain Pennec and /or harpist Aurore Bréger.
I would have preferred a duo album of Alain Pennec with Aurore Bréger - maybe next time?
Contact to label:
Michael Moll

Oscar Reynolds "Rio de Luz - River of Light"
Label: Karumanta Music; 2004; Playing time: 68.27min
Plenty of music played on the Andean panflute. The music is based on Bolivian traditions, while a lot of the music is composed by Oscar Reynolds. The panflute is generally arranged with backing of guitars, charango, percussion and synthesiser. The music is mostly atmospheric; the panflute is often played in with an echo, and the album is overall close to easy listening. Not my cup of tea, but surely there are enough people out there who will enjoy this CD.
Homepage of the artist:
Michael Moll

Tony McManus & Alain Genty "Singing Sands"
Label: Greentrax; No. CDTRAX274; 2005; Playing time: 49.46 min
Scottish guitarist extraordinaire Tony MacManus and Breton bassist Alain Genty have worked together in various projects. This album presents acoustic guitar and fretless bass pure, and as good as you can get it. The choice of tunes is very varied, ranging from Irish, Scottish and Shetland tunes via Norwegian and Breton to a couple of Alain Genty compositions.The playing is perfect, and the music clearly shows that the two musicians have a very good musical understanding with each other. Both guitar and fretless bass are at times lead instruments, and the full talents of both musicians are clearly represented.
Without doubt the fretless bass as a melody instrument is highly unusual in folk music, and I suppose you have to like its sound to appreciate this album. If you want an idea what the fretless bass sounds like on this album, I suppose "singing sands" hits it quite well.
Homepage of the artist: www.tonymcmanus.con, contact to artist:, contact to label:
Michael Moll

Alboka "lau anaiak"
Label: Elkar; No. KD-673; 2004; Playing time: 47.06 min
Alboka is one of the most established Basque folk music bands, and their latest album is yet another proof that their music is superb. In fact, "lau anaiak" has been voted into the FolkWorld Editors's Top 10 for 2004.
Alboka is centered around accodeonist Joxan Goikoetxea and wind instrument player Alan Griffin, with Irish background. For the album, they have gathered a wide range of guest musicians, on various string instruments and percussion. There are also a number of Basque songs, mainly sung by singer, Benito Lertxundi.
Teh album is overall very atmospheric and rounded, with music steeped in Basque traditions, yet full of life. Even though a focus is on ballads in Basque language (7 out of 13 numbers are songs), the music speaks to a wide international audience - the songs are full of soul and create a lot of atmosphere. The playing is always superb, and the combination of instruments appealing.
An impressive and wonderful CD, enjoyable again and again.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:, contact to label:
Michael Moll

The Ukrainians "istoriya - The Best of The Ukrainians"
Label: Zirka Records; No. ZRKCD4; 2004; Playing time: 70.17 min
The Ukrainians are quite a phenomen: The England based band won with their eclectic mix of Ukrainian music, indie rock, punk and world music wide attention not only in the UK, but all over Europe, including in the Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. This album looks back at the first 13 years of the Ukrainians, who have evolved out of the indie band The Wedding Present. Twenty titles, altogether more than 70 minutes, taken from the Ukrainians' seven albums (including two EPs). Obviously, there are plenty of hits on the album, including "Polityka", "Europa" and "Anarkhiya, their version of the Sex Pistols classic. Plenty of songs to hum along, to party to, to have fun with. A superb introduction to this band, but probably also a good enough collection for fans, gathering some of the best songs on one album.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:
Michael Moll

Capercaillie "Grace and Pride - The Anthology 2004-1984 "
Label: Survival; No. SURCD030; 2004; Playing time: 77.27 & 76.45 min
Doesn't time fly - I can well remember when I had Capercaillie's classic album "Dilirium" in my hands when it was still brand new. Since then, Capercaillie have published another nine albums - including one "remix", one "best of" and one "live in concert". You could say that it was about time for another sampler - this time not a "Best of", but rather an "Anthology". I assume the difference of an anthology is that it provides tracks from all previous albums. I am already waiting to see what the next Capercaillie sampler will be called, buit that's just me being sarcastic...
They have not been stingy in the number of titles offered on this double CD - a total of 38 titles, a good 150 minutes, from 15 different albums/singles. Along with that a biography of this Scottish band around Karen Matheson, the singer with the crystal clear voice. Obviously the quality of the music is good throughout, although my personal preference goes more towards the earlier songs (even though I prefer at times the orginal versions to the single versions on this album)
For those who were always thinking about buying a Capercaillie album but never got round to it, this might be an attractive opportunity. For fans, I would not say this sampler is not a particularly exciting offer - even though there might be some rare single versions or a tune that is the first time on CD:
Homepage of the artist:
Michael Moll

Jock Tamson's Bairns "Rare"
Label: Greentrax; No. CDTRAX266; 2005; Playing time: 52.52 min
This band does not care about modern trends (other than the "back to the roots" trend) - they play real Scottish music, in the traditional style, without any attention-seeking, just music from the heart. Jock Tamson's Bairns combine some of the most respected musicians from the traditional Scottish music scene: singer Rod Paterson, fiddler Ian Hardie, concertina player Norman Chalmers, bodhran player John Croall and fiddler Derek Hoy. The musicianship and playing together is very neat, without trying to be too perfect all the time, keeping the warmth in the music. Nearly all titles are traditional, with plenty of songs in Scots. Most of the songs and tunes that are less known, which makes this album even more interesting.
The quality in the music lies in its relaxed flair - musicians who just enjoy to play together, which then even more so can showcase the collected skills. A beautiful CD presenting "real" Scots music.
Contact to label:
Michael Moll

Phønix "Collage"
Label: GO' Danish Folk Music; No. GO1004; 2004; Playing time: 56.46 min
As one of Denmark's most successful and best folk bands, Phønix presents itself on this album as a top live band. The thirteen tracks have been recorded in 13 different locations in Europe, Canada and the USA. Other than with a lot of other live recordings, Phønix seem not to have used on the album just live-versions of titles previously recorded on studio albums, but have chosen new material, which is highly laudable. The style is unmistakenly Phønix - the distinctive sound of the bass clarinet/clarinet of Anja Praest Mikkelsen is what makes Phønix Phønix, joined by accordion (Jesper Vinther Petersen) and percussion (Jesper Falch). The focus on Danish songs is still rather new for the band - only a couple of years and one album ago, singer Karen Mose joined the band, adding another very important and attractive dimension to the band's sound. Karen is certainly one of the best young traditional Danish singers in the folk scene, and her duo work with Helene Blum (as "Karen & Helene") has been celebrated internationally, not least by FolkWorld (the duo album was No. 2 in the Editors' Top 10 of 2004).
The fact that this album has been recorded live has added to the atmosphere of the music - it comes across more lively, happier and more relaxed than a studio album. Apart from that, the album continues just how the last Phønix album, "pigen & drengen", finished - so no surprises, but nevertheless an album in the same top league of Danish folk music.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:, contact to label:
Michael Moll

Phamie Gow "Dancing Hands"
Label: Wildfire; No. 5060106 50000 7; 2005
An impressive album by this excellent young Scottish musician. Phamie's main instrument is the harp, and is also the focus on this album. Yet Phamie shows also her skills on piano, accordeon and whistle on this album. The concept of the album is to experiment with various musical ideas, expressed in Phamie's own compositions. As if composing and playing perfectly a range of instruments was not enough, Phamie has also written an excellent song for the album, "Goodbye to the Sea and Sailors", dedicated to those who have lost their lives at sea. What makes this album exciting is the range of instruments, with the harp constrasting with instruments such as drums, acoustic bass, guitar, saxophone, with outstanding musicians such as Fraser Fifield. While at times the music is as gentle and beautiful as one is used of harp music, at other times the harp is in the centre of lively and innovative modern tunes. There is a tune playing with combining Scottish music with some Indian influences, a couple of French influenced accordion tunes and a Gaelic song sung by young talent James Graham. The album finishes off with a harp tune with electronic backing, which also works extremely well.
"Dancing Hands" demonstrates Phamie's full breadth and depth of musicianship. Whilst her previous albums have been enjoyable, this one is outstanding - exciting music, with a lot of variety, yet rounded with a clear thread running through it. An album of the highest calibre.
Homepage of the artist:
Michael Moll

Fiddlers Bid "Naked & Bare"
Label: Greentrax; No. CDTRAX277; 2005; Playing time: 47.57 min
One of Scotland's leading fiddle bands is Fiddlers Bid from the Shetland Islands. The band has directly four superb fiddlers on board: Andrew Gifford, Kevin Henderson, Maurice Henderson and Chris Stout. Yet it is not all fiddles to the band, to round the sound, the band has also a harpist/pianist (Catriona MacKay), a guitarist (Fionan de Barra) and a bass guitarist (Johnathan Ritch).
The mix of tunes is a typical Shetland mix - Shetland reels, some tunes more with a Scandinavian other more a Celtic flair. Additionally, there are some excellent self-penned tunes, from Chris Stout and Andrew Gifford. A lot of ensemble fiddle playing, balanced with solo fiddle and a strong presence of the harp, make this another delightful album steeped in the Shetland traditions.
Homepage of the artist:
Michael Moll

Various Artists "The Wildlife Album"
Label: Market Square Records; No. MSM CD134; 2005
When it comes to samplers with a bizzare mix of music, this album has to rate high on the bizzare rate. I am quite open to combining different music styles on the same CD, but I have to say that this mix does not work at all for me. Here you find a mix of classical, folk, rock, jazz, blues, with names such as Cara Dillon, Martyn Joseph, Helen McGurk, Roy Harper, Steve Ashley and many more. 21 titles compiled (and some also composed) by Colin Harper, but somehow no number really works with the next one. 18 of the 21 tracks were either specifically recorded for this project or previously unreleased, and I feel that in most cases they do not represent the highlight of those artists represented.
I do hope that other people will find enjoyment in this CD but I am afraid that for me the only reason to buy this album would be that its profits go to WWF and Ulster Wildlife Trust.
Homepage of the album:
Michael Moll

Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley "Last Night's Fun"
Label: Rabblerouser Music; No. RR004; 2005 (re-release from 1995); Playing time: 46.45 min
To mark the 10th anniversay of the album, Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley decided to re-release their previously deleted debut album, "Last Night's Fun", which is an excellent idea. In my personal view, "Last Night's Fun" is actually one of, if not the best duo of this eclectic duo. It contains a lot of the classic songs which made Last Night's Fun famous and popular - including the unique and original Denny Bartley versions of The Moving Song, Roseville Fair and Kilkenny. Musically they were also already at their height - the tunes on guitar and concertina sound lively, fresh and full. Nice to have this old favourite back on the shelves of CD shops!
Contact to artist:
Michael Moll

Aedo "en route"
Label: Klesie; No. LCM100065; 2005; Playing time: 59.38 min
Another one of those real discoveries from the Flemish folk scene. Aedo are a cool innovative young band, with a new exciting brand of music. The tunes make full use of the range of instruments - often focussing on accordion, bagpipes or saxophone, but with backing of drums, guitars and bass. The tunes, nearly all written by Pieter and Jonas de Meester, are catchy and sound very fresh. They are usually somewhat based on pan-European traditional music, in particular French traditional dance music, but take always their own life, taking on all sorts of influences, particularly rock and pop. Thus sometimes the listeners are taken to a bal folk, then into a cool cocktail bar, then to a rock concert, then back to a more serious music theme. To add to the range, there are also two attractive pop songs, one in Flemish, the other in French, with some great folky innovative instrumental interludes. The interplay between the different instruments is often spectacular, e.g. between accordion and saxophone. The only thing which I notice is that possibly for me the CD might have been even more perfect if it would have been slightly shorter, thus more condensed. Also parts of the last tune, a remix of the tune "Experior", is not really my cup of tea - a bit too much experimentation with modern music.
But with that as my only critical note, I can still whole-heartedly recommend this album.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:
Michael Moll

Diplomaticos "Kömikandø"
Label: Boa Cor; 2005; Playing time: 48.28 min
A folk influenced Independent/Rock/Punk album from Spain. The six Diplomaticos might be posing in the sleeves all with an accordion, yet "only" two of them actually play the accordion. The others provide the rock edge to the band - drums, bass, percussion, guitar. The music moves around between punk, Galician folk, rock, world, musette, traditional and more. With a male and a female singer, the songs have an attractive variety. Another dimension is added by the additional guest musicians, adding for example a brass section or a gaita (Susane Seivane).
A refreshing album to be filed somewhere under "Spanish folk punk rock". Play it loud!
Homepage of the artist:
Michael Moll

Spindel "Aminje"
Label: Grappa/Heilo; No. HCD7195; 2005; Playing time: 48.44 min
The beautiful soft and filigrane sound of the hardanger fiddle directly reveals the origin of this band - Norway. Spindel has directly two players of this Norwegian national instrument, combined with string instruments, piano and percussion. The music Spindel plays is a mix of traditional Norwegian, contemporary tunes and own compositions. All tunes are steeped in Norwegian music, yet the interpretation and arrangements are open minded, in particular through the percussion - which can be side-drums or marimba. There are also a couple of songs inbetween the tunes, which are pleasant but not necessarily spectacular. You might find (and my wife does!) that you might not want to listen to the whole CD in one go, as the distinctive hardanger fiddle sound is very dominant throughout the album. I definitely did enjoy the album though!
Homepage of the artist:, contact to label:
Michael Moll

Various Artists "An t-Eilean - The Island"
Label: Macmeanma; No. SKYECD30; 2004; Playing time: 58.24 min
The background of this album is a collaborative commemoration in 2003 of the emigration of around 800 Skye and Raasay people on one day in 1803. Thus, the album features a mix of musicians from all three islands. Eilidh MacLeod, Emma Swinnerton, Anne Martin, Neil Campbell, John Lamond, Blair Douglas and Iain Copeland represent the Scottish side, while Angus MacKenzie, Stee Sharrat and Roy Johnstone are from Prince Edward Island.
The CD offers an eclectic mix of gently accompanied beautiful Gaelic singing from Anne Martin, tunes more in ceilidh band style, solo pipe, harpand fiddle tunes, tunes more in an easy listening style, lively traditional tunes. There is even a tune pepped up by some exciting brass input. Stylistically, the music is more steeped in Scotland than taking on many influences from Prince Edward Island. I find that for me the music is varying between superb and a bit disappointing. There is some excellent talent represented, and I am sure that everybody will find quite a number of tunes on this album they will love.
Contact to label:
Michael Moll

Milagro Acustico "Arabic Poets of Sicily"
Label: Compagnia Nuove Indye; No. LUDOS LDL18367
Another project by the innovative Italian world music band Milagro Acustico. After taking inspiration from a cafe where mediterannean music meets (CD "I storie o Cafè di lu Forestiero") and following the footsteps a Persian poet of the 11th century (CD "Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam"), their latest album is inspired by the poetry f the Arabic poets born and raised in Sicily during the Muslim domination, around the 10th century. Using the original petry from muslim poets of that time, the lyrics have been translated into Sicilian. The band researched the correct sound of the time, both in Isatnbul and Sicily. The result is indeed meriterranean music, blending the Arabic style songs with instruments from other parts of the mediterranean. All instruments are acoustic, and include instruments such as acoustic guitar, baglama, madlin, tambur, ney, kaval and darbuka.Milagro Acustico were supported on the album by a number of musicians, including some from Istanbul. An interesting project, with attractive world music, which reminds of the interconnections of cultures around the mediterranean.
Homepage of the artist:
Michael Moll

Eitre "The coming of spring"
Label: Sjelvar; No. SJECD18; 2005; Playing time: 50.20 min
Eitre are another proof of the great popularity of and quality of Irish music in Sweden. Eitre combine two Irish musicians (singer and guitarist Dag Westling and flautist Kevin Ryan), two Swedish musicians from the band Quilty (on fiddle/cittern/uilleann pipes/whistle) and a Swedish double bass player. Both choice of material and interpretation of the traditional Irish (and some Scottish) music is overall more on the safe side, but always of high quality, with both good playing and singing. Swedish-Irish folk at its best!
Homepage of the artist:, contact to artist:
Michael Moll

Swåp "du da"
Label: North Side; No. NSD6085; 2005
"du da" shows the Anglo-Swedish Swåp at its best. Compared to previous albums, I feel that with "du da" the music has an even stronger emphasis towards the Scandinavian, with the Celtic element being weaker. I discover in the music more Swedish music with a what the English would probably refer to as continental swing. There are also more songs, five songs, all in Swedish sung by Carina. As usual, the music has plenty of swing, is full of life and shows always Swåp's passion and joy of playing. All musicians have their full part in the music, both in composing and instrumentally: Ian Carr with his unique rhythmic guitar playing, Karen Tweed and her wonderful piano accordion and the two Swedes Ola Bäckström and Carina Normannson, with their Swedish fiddling.
But the music seems to be more serious for them - searching for the meaning of life. Ola Bäckström says it all when describing this album: "A mixture of traditional and original material, British polskas and Swedish reels, national anthems, handsome nature, poor ducks & widows, civial engineers with rings in their ears, all in a very happy celtic/swedish confusion. We continue our search of the meaning of life and if the answer we gave in our previous CD - creme fraiche - didn't work for you, this CD might do the trick." And if it doesn't, you might remember Carina's song "Se på TV": "Watch the TV, TV, rinse your brain every day, with programmes from the TV screen, without TV, TV none of us would cope at all." Yet maybe with this CD, it is possible to cope without TV.
As wonderful, happy and quirky as ever.
Homepage of the artist:, UK contact to artist:
Michael Moll

Ulla van Daelen "Metharphosis"
Label: Westpark Music; No. 87113; 2005; Playing time: 56.51 min
German harpist Ulla van Daelen tries to take with this album the harp out of its niche into an innovative and inventice "performance act". The music moves around somewhere between pop, world music, easy listening and jazz, with a bit of classical in it.
The harp playing is generally beautiful, and some of the arangements are great - often when the harp is combined with double bass and percussion, e.g. in "Sal y Pimienta". More often than not I find though that Ulla is trying too hard to add too many themes and instruments to the album, somtimes even to one single tune. Prime example is the tune "Scottish fantasy", which starts off with a pleasant Celtic style tunes, but the harp is then combined with an oboe (which does not really work with the Celtic theme), side drums - after maybe 90 seconds the tune changes completely into some non Celtic sounding interlude, finishing off with some pipes&drums. For a number of other tunes, the amount of additional instrumentation, in particular the keyboards and the atmospheric singing in a couple of tunes, push the music more into the easy listening sector.
As a conclusion: Talent is undoubtedly there, but less would have been more for me.
Homepage of the artist:
Michael Moll

Unni Løvlid "VITA"
Label: Grappa/Heila; No. HCD 7197; 2005; Playing time: 42.24 min
A full album of solo singing of religious Norwegian songs. The album was recorded in the mausoleum of Emanuel Vigeland, providing impressive acoustics with a lot of natural echo.The songs all sound religious and archaic, and have a kind of eternity in their beauty. I have to admit that I find it hard to listen to more than 2 or 3 songs in one go, but undoubtedly the beautiful singing of Unni with the unique acoustics of the venue has its magic.
Homepage of the artist:, contact to label:
Michael Moll


More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6 - Page 7 - Page 8 - Page 9 - CD Special
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3
Overview: CD Review Contents

To the content of FolkWorld No. 31

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 1/2006

All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission. Although any external links from FolkWorld are chosen with greatest care, FolkWorld and its editors do not take any responsibility for the content of the linked external websites.

FolkWorld - Home of European Music
FolkWorld Home
Layout & Idea of FolkWorld © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld