FolkWorld Issue 36 07/2008

FolkWorld CD Reviews

Hevia "Obsession"
EMI Capitol; 50999 5 04885 2 0; 2007
Hevia, probably the most successful bagpipe player worldwide. Of his album “Tierra de nadie” sold over two million copies. This CD was followed by two other successful CD’s and now his latest work has just been released. On this new album Hevia set further steps on the road of electronic music. To my personal taste he took it much to far. By now I know his style and I know the sound of his electronic bagpipe and mixing tradition with electronic beats has been done by so many others during the past years that it needs more to get noticed. Of course, it’s great for a night of dancing or live in concert, but at moments I cant even hear the difference between the bagpipe and the electronic sounds and the bombastic arrangements in tunes like Albandi and Los martires de Rales are just to much for my ears. I know from concerts and from other recordings that Hevia is a real master on Gaita. On this CD his instrument drowned in a big pool of beats, drums and sounds. I’m sure many will love this easy going folk-beats album. This is made to please as many people as possible and because of that the result is a middle of the road and highly predictable album. So if you excuse me I will now listen to his first solo LP which I recently bought on a second hand record fair. On this one you can actually still hear his fabulous style without any distortion what so ever.
Eelco Schilder

Leandra "Metamorphine"
Drakkar; drpro 078; 2008
Leandra is a musician with many faces. She has been a concert pianist, played in a Grunge band and worked on jazz and metal projects. On her debut CD Metamorphine she shows her more dark side. Lots of programming and electronics, spooky atmosphere and 1000’s of ideas. The result is a Gothic like CD with all kind of electronic sounds, far from subtlety in any way. Leandra tries to create some kind of own universe but, to my personal opinion, she forgot to divide the good and the better ones. She has enough to offer, great voice, nice compositions but now it’s a matter of ‘kill your darlings’ and make sure only the best ten make it to the final product. Promising, it’s a bit like a good wine that is opened to early, but needs more time to keep my attention for the whole ten songs.
Eelco Schilder

Si Khan "Thanksgiving"
Strictly Country Records; 63; 2007
For more than 35 years Si Kahn is a highly appreciated singer-songwriter from the US and a social activist as well. His lyrics tell about real people, their lives, loves and troubles. About how people see themselves and look at others. What I like is that his lyrics tell real stories and are not romanticized pictures of out world. For his new CD Thanksgiving  he recorded twenty four songs live on several occasions in The Netherlands. On the CD he cooperates with the Dutch female duo Ygdrassil who sing the harmony vocals. On one song Linde Nijland even sings the lead vocals. The result is a sober and pure album with one guitar and vocals only. The lyrics get al the space they need and it gives a nice opportunity to really listen to what he has to say. The choice to cooperate with Ygdrassil is a good one. Their young and fresh way of singing contrasts nicely with Si Kahn’s down to earth vocals. The CD fits perfectly in the long Si Kahn tradition.
Eelco Schilder

Alban Faust "Naken"
Vildsint Records; Vild 2; 2006
Alban Faust is a German musician who felt in love with the Swedish Nyckelharpa. Besides that he plays the bagpipe and reconstructs, repairs and build the instruments himself. On this new CD he plays sixteen solo pieces for Nyckelharpa both traditional and original. Sixteen wonderful compositions in the best Nordic tradition. You might think that such a CD with only one instrument might be boring. That is far from the true. Faust shows the many sides of the instrument. He shows that the Nyckelharpa is one of these instruments that can get deep under your skin. It’s the melancholic sound, the hypnotising bourdon and most of all his fabulous way of playing. Naken is a small treasure with music in the purest way you can find.
Eelco Schilder

Alex Theory "Water"
Sounds true; M1229D; 2008
More and more the past year I got non folk music for review. Sometimes it’s on the edge of folk and other styles but many times it’s miles away from the style FolkWorld is for. The same for this electronic project by Alex Theory called Water. Over seventy minutes of songs called Molecule 1 – 12. It’s a nice project with soft and intense sounds which actually reminds me more of glass than of water.
Eelco Schilder

Jiri Pavlica "Chvĕni"
Indies; MAM411-2; 2007
Jari Pavlica is the artistic director and first violinist of the band Hradistan since 1975. The band started in 1950 and focuses on the traditional music from their home land
Moravia which is now part of the Czech republic. On this new CD the band plays a composition by Pavlica in which he mixes traditional tunes with old lyrics and more recent work. This CD is a cooperation with the Philharmonic orchestra BRNO, jumping drums and Altai Kai. The result is a symphony of styles deeply rooted in ancient culture. The orchestral start is to bombastic to my personal taste. The beautiful melodies are drowned in an overkill of instruments. Much better is the second part Dialog s minulosti which has an medieval atmosphere or the dialog etnicky which is closest to the tradition. As a whole I would say this is an intriguing project with occasionally some fantastic music. It’s a journey through styles and time. When I skip the bombastic start, about 45 minutes of quality music is left. Including many ancient instruments, strong vocal work, throat singing and much more.
Eelco Schilder

Umnachter "Gedankensplitter"
Label: Own label; 2008
Umnachter is the pseudonym of the Austrian singer-songwriter Robert Polsterer. His main instrument is the classical guitar, and that’s exactly what you get when the CD starts his first song. Finstergüner morgentau starts like a classical guitar piece but slowly this composition shows that Umnachter isn’t the kind of singer-songwriter you might expect. Suddenly the mouthharp takes over and with a low dark voice he kind of sings to the end of the song. This first song describes the whole CD. Sometimes wonderful guitar play, but also overtone, throat singing, haunting didgeridoo and exciting mouthharp. This Gedankensplitter is a CD full surprises, that mixes classical elements with dark, but acoustic, new folk elements in a nice way.
Eelco Schilder

Mostar Sevdah Reunion "The Legends of Life"
Snail Records; sr66006; 2005
Mostar Sevdah Reunion "Saban"
Label: Snail Records; sr66008; 2006
Mostar Sevdah Reunion "Café Sevdah"
Label: Snail Records; sr66009; 2007
The Mostar Sevdah reunion is one of the European top groups since their debut release in 1999. The band plays music from the ancient Sevdah tradition, which can be found in
Bosnia and Herzegovina and which has a long history. The story of the band starts in 1993 when producer and founder of the band Dragi Sestic recorded some tapes which he gave to friends only. When finally the first CD was recorded it was in the city of Mostar, which explains the second part of the bands name. I have been following the band closely from their first CD until the final one from last year. The band contains some fantastic musicians but also brought an old and to many people unknown tradition to many corners of this world. On their CD’s they have cooperated with many great vocalists and musicians including Esma Redzpova and Boban Markovic. In this review I focus on the last three releases which can be bought in beautiful luxury editions. The legends of life is their 2005 album which they recorded together with Ljiljana Buttler on vocals. It’s their second CD with this fantastic singer, she also sung on the 2002 album The mother of Gypsy soul. Buttler was tremendously popular until she vanished from the Balkan music scene in 1987. This 2002 CD was her comeback, and a very successful one. Now Legends of life takes off where the other CD stopped. Twelve beautiful new recordings which has this typical, warm and deep sound of Buttler’s voice. She is now far over 60 years old, and both the joyful and tragic sides of life are deeply rooted in her way of singing. The second CD for review is the 2006 album Saban, called after the vocalist Saban Bajramovic who takes the lead vocals on this CD. During the eighties Bajramovic was the king of Gypsy music, and it’s a bit the same story as Buttler. People lost track on him and in 2001 the Mostar Sevdah Reunion brought him back to the main stage by recording A Gypsy legend. On Saban they renew the cooperation and I cant conclude differently than this is another top CD with music filled with passion, emotion and quality. Listen to his beautiful warm, sometimes even fragile, voice, another intense and pure album by this MS reunion. The latest release is called Café Sevdah and shows the band without any legendary name from the past decades. Included is the new singer Nermin Alukci and MS Reunion shows on this new album that with or without guests, the band has a constant quality and the more I listen to Café Sevdah the more I get convinced that this might be one of their best albums until today. It’s one of their most accessible CD’s with nice melancholic songs and virtuoso guitar parts. It shows the best elements of Sevdah music and reconfirms the fact that the Sevdah Mostar Reunion is one of the best European roots bands from this moment.
Eelco Schilder

Radůza "V salonu baroknich dames"
Indies; MAM 810-2; 2007
Czech singer Radůza has been a known name in Czech music since the early nineties. She sung blues, worked on several projects and played with several bands. Now she has released her fourth solo CD which means in translation; In the salon of the Baroque dames. A strange album, because the accordion can only be heard on one track, while on the previous CD’s this was one of the main elements of her music. She is backed by more than ten musicians, on strings, oboe, trumpets etc. Now, after hearing the CD a few times I still don’t know what to think about it. The first song is a pop song with a keyboard imitating the sound of a spinet. Very strange because on other tracks she plays a real spinet! A nice, but not convincing start. Second comes the title track. A more introvert song with only her vocals and piano. But again it does not go further than nice and easy going music. But still better than the musical-style third song Vařič a mapa. It’s the fourth song Můj počerný andĕli that finally shows the Radůza I remember from earlier CD’s. Her singing suddenly shows emotion and this song turns out to be a small diamond in a box full of fake jewellery. It’s a bit the story of this CD. Sometimes totally unexpected a beautiful song passes by. Sometimes in the promised baroque style or with the atmosphere of an old French chanson. But these moments of joy cant conceal the fact that, to my opinion, the CD is to capricious and lacks a certain unity.
Eelco Schilder

Francisco Fialho "Best of Fado"
ARC Music; EUCD 2131; 2008
Fialho was born in 1955 in
Portugal and from the age of twelve he showed his interest in singing the Fado music. When he was sixteen he moved with his parents to Germany and from the early seventies he worked together with several Fado musicians. He started to write his own Fado songs and on this Best of fado CD, the ARC label published his thirteen latest recordings. Together with guitarist Antonio Carvalho and violia player Alfredo Pena he brings the Fado in a acoustic and pure style. His way of singing and arranging the music stay close to the classical picture most people have of this style of music. It’s poetic and melancholic and I think this CD will reflect the perfect fado feeling for many listeners. But those who like the new-fado movement of the last ten years might find it a bit to less adventures.
Eelco Schilder

Zizal "La!"
Label: Fluxx Records 291.281; 2007
Zizal is a German trio including a pianist, violinist and a clarinettist. The band was formed in 2000 and originally they focussed on traditional Yiddish music. Now, eight years later, the band plays original material and they call their style “somewhere between neo-klezmer and world music”. The CD starts with a seven and a half minute piece called September. A composition that shows the klezmer influences very clearly, but which is brought in an unusual way. The heavy piano rhythms and the fetching violin makes a nice couple, although at a few moments the piano drowns the violin a bit. Very nice is the end of Ha!, a tune that starts chaotic but ends in a tender duet between clarinet and violin. This song shows perfectly the two sides of this CD. The fast and up tempo parts are nice, but to be honest a bit to predictable. It are the beautiful and fragile duets between clarinet and violin, violin and piano and between piano and clarinet that shows the real quality of this band. The music is so intense and delicate at these moments, a pity that these moments are disturbed by the much less impressive up tempo parts. La shows a band with great quality but to my personal opinion the result is to variable to impress.
Eelco Schilder

Tangologia "Las estaciones del angel"
Label: Moon Sound Records; 1315-1514-19; 2007
Tangologia is a young and dynamic German band, founded in 2004. The band members started this band out of their mutual love for the music of the tango master Astor Piazzolla. Now, almost four years after the birth of the band, the first CD is released. On this CD they play both Las estaciones
del angel and La suite del angel. The most remarkable fact is that they replaced the bandoneon for a saxophone, but in many other ways they stayed close to the original setting of the Quintetto Piazzolla. Seen the fact that this is a debut CD recorded by non Argentinean musician, I’m highly surprised about the high quality of this CD. Tangologia captured the intense and warm atmosphere of the tango. There is no doubt that these five musicians are not only technically capable of playing a beautiful tango, this CD has emotion and show a band that understand that Tango is music that comes from the heart. A beautiful debut CD by a band that certainly will give us more passion in future.
Eelco Schilder

Stefan Mönkemeyer "Stringvoices"
Label: Own label; 2007
Stefan Mönkemeyer is a German guitarist who has just released his second solo CD called String voices. This finger picking CD includes many original work but also a bouree by Bach and the famous police song Message in a bottle. The first seven tunes are guitar solo’s only but on a few occasion, like on It doesn’t matter he is joined by singer Tamara Coll. And on a few tunes he is joined by another guitar like on the Monk theme. Mönkemeyer shows to be a gifted guitarist but he composes without any risk and his way of playing is accessible and because of that also a bit predictable now and then. Nevertheless a nice second CD for those who like finger picking style CD’s.
Eelco Schilder

Ballroomquartet "Soundmanifest"
Label: Own label; BQ 2007 002; 2007
A bit scared for what I will get, I put on this CD for the first time. A group with such a name, what kind of CD will it be? But within a few seconds I listen with an amazed ear, this is totally different than I expected. And now, everybody who knows their first CD Surfing Sufi is making fun of me because they already knew what kind of band this Ballroom quartet is. This Belgian band plays a adventures mixture of electronic rock mixed with influences from many corners of the world. The sound of the accordion mixes with the sound of a deep bass, strong beats and electronics. West-European styles mix perfectly with Arabian styles. A very special CD full of creative and surprisingly good modern world-music.
Eelco Schilder

Stevin McNamara "Om Guitar"
Sounds true; M1236D; 2008
Stevin McNamara is a guitarist from South-Africa who is specialised in Yogi guitar music, or music for meditation, so to say. Raised with African music, he loved the sound of Indian music from the first moment he got to know it. This can be heard on this new CD, inspired by raga’s, the sound of the tabla, the Indian influences are very clear. The CD contains four pieces including the 25 minutes piece Searching the inner sky. It’s hypnotising music with a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Minimal music that indeed is a great friend during meditation.
Eelco Schilder

Pathaan "Tandaua Vol.2"
Sounds true; M1190D; 2008
Pathaan is a UK based DJ that focuses on remixing and compiling Asian music. He has released a wide range of compilation and remix CD’s and this is his latest work. Twelve songs with a chill out atmosphere, easy going with moody sounds and rhythms. Nice to listen in a lounge tent or at a hot and steamy club night. But somehow not my style of remixing, a bit to laid back and to much the same style. But that’s a personal opinion of course.
Eelco Schilder

Taliesyn "Jižní amnesia"
Indies; mam406-2; 2008
Taliesyn is a Czech group based in
Prague. The group plays original material with a Celtic touch. Most songs are sung in English and could be categorised under folk-rock with some slight jazz and world music influences. To be honest, I have to get used to the vocals, and during the mix of the CD the band didn’t always find the right balance between the instruments and the vocals. Occasionally the flute sounds to sharp and the drums sometimes sounds like it’s made of tin-metal. Besides that the arrangements are simple and don’t do justice to the nice compositions. Somehow I keep having the feeling that this CD could have been so much more. It’s full of good ideas, some nice musical moments but now and than the CD sounds more like a strong demo than a finished, well mixed product. A pity because I really think that this band has enough quality to record a CD on a higher and more equal level.
Eelco Schilder

Muna Mingola "Dipita"
Culture Taxi; 18512 ctr007; 2008
Alain Nkossi Konda "Vision Africa-pella"
Label: Culture Taxi; 18512 ctr002; 2008
V/A "Manioc & Guarana"
Label: Culture Taxi; 18512 ctr001; 2007
Three African style CD’s from the German Culture Taxi label. The first one is by Muna Mingola who was born in
France and moved to Canada when she was only two years old. Her parents originally came from Cameroon and Mingola lives in that country at a later age for over eight years discovering her parents culture. After she decided to dedicate her live to singing, she won several prices and worked with known international names such as Angelique Kidjo and many others. In 2002 she wins the Montreal African recognition award for ‘Best world beat musical hope’. What ever that might be. This Dipita is her first solo album, nine own compositions and one remix. Mingola mixes African rhythms and sounds with even more Western rhythms and sounds., the result is a kind of easy going mainstream world-pop, or (and I quote my wife) ‘this is what an African country would send to the Eurovision song contest if they were one of the Eurovision members’. I couldn’t have said it better. The second CD is by Alain Nkossi Konda. Born in Congo, he lived for years in New York and now in Bayern. He released his first album exactly ten years ago and won several song writing prices since. It’s uplifting Afro-pop sung in three languages. Easy going, sunny music and, same as the Mingola CD, with a more Western than African sound. And did I hear some very light reggae influences in one of the songs? Stacks of electronics, drums and easy listening songs. Nkossi Konda has a nice voice and is a gifted songwriter, but “less is more” is absolutely not his motto and I personally think that would do his music some good. The final CD is a various artists one with eleven world-pop songs exactly in the same vein as the other two CD’s. No world music but pop with roots influences with which the label aims for a wide audience.
Eelco Schilder

Mazzeltov "Amsterdam"
Frea; 4058; 2008
Mazzeltov is a Dutch klezmer band that has a successful career for the past ten years in the
Netherlands. This Amsterdam is their fifth album and not only their best album until today but also a small Klezmer masterpiece which has everything in it to become an international klezmer-hit album. For this new CD they took the beautiful city Amsterdam as their inspiration. Amsterdam, a melting pot of cultures with a long Yiddish tradition. The Amsterdam dialect is filled with Yiddish words and did you now that Amsterdam is the city with the most different languages spoken world wide? I didn’t, but Mazzeltov taught me that 177 languages are spoken in this multicultural city. Especially for this CD the poet Willy Bril translated well known English and Dutch songs into Yiddish. The band rearranged the music into their well known klezmer sound. The final result is this CD with seventeen beautiful songs. Starting with Dos klejne tsigajnerl in which the subtle violin, accordion, clarinet and bass play in a melancholic way and Rolinha Kross impresses with her beautiful voice. The CD contains one song sung in Dutch. It’s the famous song Amsterdam huilt (Amsterdam weeps) a classic tearjerker about the a father who tells how beautiful Amsterdam was when he was young. Mazzeltov did the impossible, they recorded an exciting new version of this song that still has the atmosphere of the original but in a totally new jacket. After a Yiddish remake of a famous Herman van Veen song, Gottfrid van Eck shows in Flign mit a nign that he is not only a fantastic Clarinettist but also a gifted composer. This are just a few small example out of the seventeen great compositions on this album. I strongly advice lovers of this genre to go to the website and listen to a few of their songs. I’m sure you will be bewitched, just  like me, by the great vocalist Rolinha Kross and the musicians of Mazzeltov.
Eelco Schilder

Di Chuzpenics "Glik"
Label: Own label; 2008
Di Chuzpenics is a quintet fro
Kiel, Germany. The band plays Klezmer music from all over the world. Both dances and songs played on oboe, bass, violin, English horn and accordion. This Glik is their fourth CD which contains nineteen compositions from traditionals to self composed tunes. The CD kicks of with a nice instrumental part, showing the beautiful sound of the oboe. A sound not often heard in Klezmer music. What I notice in this first tune, and in many after, is the misbalance between the instruments. Somehow during the mixing of the album it’s like they forgot to really put the instruments together, it sounds too much like individual instruments instead as a group. The technical quality is ok, but compared with the dozens of other Klezmer band, this one is a bit lifeless. This is also caused by the simple musical arrangements and the fact that the technical quality of the musicians isn’t a constant factor on this CD to my personal opinion. The Chuzpenics might be a nice regional Klezmer group, but has not enough originality and quality to offer to be able to compete with the many, many International Klezmer bands.
Eelco Schilder

Warsaw Village Band "Upmixing"
Jaro; 4286-2; 2008
I have to admit, I’m a Warsaw village band fan since I heard their CD People’s spring the first time. And I find that their CD Uprooting is one of the best modern folk albums from the past ten years. So you can imagine I was very exciting to find their new CD in my review post-box. But when I gave it a closer look, I got a little bit disappointed, it’s a remix album without any new material. The band gave a few restrictions, it should be a reggae style remix album and several songs should be included in different versions. The mixes are made by the famous Transglobal underground, Zion train, activator and many other known and lesser known names. The result is a danceable album and some nice and lesser remixes. It’s clear that the Transglobal underground has a world wide fame in remixing. Their version of Matthew is one of the better ones. I like the way they mix because they managed to keep the atmosphere and sound of the original song without just copying it. So a nice CD for all those DJ’s and dancers who want to feel how a night in the Warsaw village would feel. But me? I’m hoping and praying that a new studio album will be released by the band soon.
Eelco Schilder

Arja Kastinen "Ani"
Temps; 2008
Arja Kastinen is a Kantele player from
Finland who was the first Folk musician to become a Doctor of music examination at the Sibelius academy in 2000. Her dissertation handled about the 15 string Kantele, it’s acoustic behaviour, tuning etc. She has been composing and improvising on the instrument for many years and recorded three earlier solo CD’s. On her latest CD Ani she has recorded ten own compositions on the 15, 14 and 10-string Kantele. Arja Kastinen performs solo and shows the beauty of the Kantele in it’s purest form. Her compositions are of a meditative nature, although a tune like Alla pehkovan petäján is surprisingly powerful. I recommend to visit the webpage which has a lot of information about the instrument and the artist and gives interesting background info about the music. It’s worth the trouble, because Ani  is a piece of music in the purest form you can find and an intriguing documentary about this ancient Finnish instrument.
Eelco Schilder

Arja Kastinen "Ani"
Temps; 2008
Arja Kastinen took the Doctor of Music examination at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, in December 2000. The title of the doctoral dissertation was "An Acoustical investigation of a 15-stringed kantele". Her latest album “Ani” is based on improvisation and was recorded in one day at the IMU-studio in Inkoo by Matti Kontio.
The kantele is an ancient Finnish zither-like instrument. Kastinen plays three different kanteles with different playing techniques - one with ‘jouhikon troka’, the bow of the bowed lyra, which is a kind of archaic violin. The CD features ten different themes, which are improvised and named by old runes. Kastinen tried to translate the names into modern English.
The musical journey begins with a meditation “Under the Lush Pine” (alla pehkovan petäjän) played on the 14 and 15-string kantele. The track captured me instantly with its rhythmic timbre and its beautiful harmonies. Here the mystic sound of the ancient past meets the modern love to tradition and the outcome is an eclectic piece of art. The following parts are reflecting a silent and angelic atmosphere and make the listener fall into a deep pensive mood.
“Iron” (mura) takes again a rather rhythmic path and Kastinen plays the 15-string kantele with hilarious passion. “Autumn like” (sykysyisen) introduces us to the strange sound of the kantele played with bow, the ‘troka’. Another highlight is the traditional tune “The Bear” (kouki) played on the 15-string kantele. Hauntingly beautiful harmonies and brilliant musicianship distinguish this track.
The whole project took three days, one day for the recordings, one day for mastering and one day for editing. I can’t say that it could have been made better than this, even if it would have taken weeks to produce the album. The music is based on improvisation and improvisation doesn’t need more than an excellent musician, a professional studio with someone like Matti Kontio and love for the music in combination with inspiration and creativity.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Amy LaVere "Anchors and Anvils"
Label: Archer Records; 2007
The small lady from the borderland between Texas and Louisiana recorded on her latest CD “Anchors and Anvils” exactly that kind of music she likes. With her big double bass she plays a fusion of classic Country with jazz and gypsy music.
The album features 10 songs, three self crafted tracks, two compositions by drummer Paul Taylor and five cover versions. These include melancholic waltzes, rhythmic country dances, cool jazz ballads, funky soul tracks, as well as rock- and blues songs.
Taylor’s „People Get Mad“ stands out with a funky wahwah guitar, accompanied by steel guitar, drums and bass. On Carla Thomas’ „That Beat“ LaVere combines the sound of the gypsy fiddle with pedal steel guitar and brilliant rock and soul rhythms. My favourite track is „Killing Him“, a cool song inspired by the daily news. She sings about killing out of passion with devotion and puts it in a wonderful rhythmic jazz ballad. Here Amy proves that she’s a very good singer, although sometimes her voice lacks a bit of volume.
„Anchors and Anvils“ is a very interesting album. It features a variation of styles that will find a great number of listeners. Producer Jim Dickinson and a punch of great musicians stand for high quality recordings and arrangements. And they perfectly fill in the gaps when Amy’s voice needs some support. I really like the album, what a pity it finishes after less than 40 minutes.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Sandy Scofield "nikawiy askiy"
Label: Arbor Records; 2007
The Canadian singer Sandy Scofield looks back at her roots and has recorded eleven self composed songs for her forth album „nikawiy askiy“ (mother earth in Cree language). She fuses the sound of North-American native Indians with modern rock, pop and folk music as well as jazz and hip-Hop.
Her band members are Randall Stoll (drums), Brian Minato (bass), Stephan Nikleva (guitars), Brenda Hanson and Kym Gouchie (vocals), and the recordings feature a couple of very interesting guest musicians as well.
Scofield sings together with Kinnie Starr „Faith“, a rhythmic rock song where Scofield’s beautiful singing harmonise perfectly with Starr’s spoken rhymes and backing vocals. The following hip-hop mix „Time has Come“ stands out with three names who guarantee a breathtaking groove: Eekwol, Green Tara and Manik. The words of “Money is the goal” are based on Native American philosophy: you can’t eat money but you won’t mention it before all natural resources are wasted. The title song includes some verses translated into Cree by Art Napoleon. Celtic harp, cello and a beautiful choir make this ballad a hauntingly beautiful sample of Scofield’s music. “Sophie’s Song” includes beautiful chanting, somewhere between Native American and African. And finally my favourite song is the spellbinding “Dig”, a breathtakingly beautiful sermon. Scofield and Joanna Chapman-Smith sing to the sound of Andrew Douglas’ bagpipe and Matt Griffin’s bass and guitar.
Sandy Scofield is the living proof that the Native American culture has already made the step into the 21st century. The fusion of the different music styles creates an extraordinary collection of world music. Here traditional music from North America meets African and European sounds, and Scofield assembles these elements to a top modern sound.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Sarah Bauhan "Lathrop’s Waltz"
Label: Whistler’s Music; 2007
New Hampshire based Celtic whistle and flute player Sarah Bauhan has recorded her fourth album “Lathrop’s Waltz” with a bunch of highly talented musicians and friends. The 13 tracks include three original tunes by Sarah, two traditionals and some of the most beautiful contemporary dance tunes and airs.
Guest singer Chloe Green sings two songs: a song from Canadian born singer/songwriter Garnet Rogers and the hauntingly beautiful traditional song “The Snows They Melt the Soonest”. Green’s wonderful voice and Bauhan’s whistle are delicately accompanied by guitar, piano, bass and bouzouki. Gilles Lebigot’s sublime tune “Ker Jacob” is perfectly interpreted by Marko Murray on guitar and another lovely air is “Calum’s Road” by Donald Shaw, superbly arranged and played on whistle and guitar.
But the CD features also some exciting dance tunes from waltzes to jigs and reels. Here we can hear four excellent fiddlers, a talented piper as well as a great harpist. My favourite set of reels is “Robertson’s/Reel de Montebello/ Evit Gabriel”, where Bauhan plays whistle and flute and Russell Orzechowski accompanies her on the fiddle. And last but not least I’d like to mention the final set of waltzes. “April Waltz” by Albany based accordion player Selma Kaplan and Bauhan’s “Lathrop’s Waltz” melt together brilliantly and are dedicated to Sarah’s father Bill Bauhan.
Sarah Bauhan has collected some of the best traditional or contemporary tunes, written “in tradition”, from all over the Celtic world. Starting from her home in New Hampshire to Cape Breton in Canada, continuing from Brittany to Ireland she made her musical journey as far as to the northern parts of Scotland. I think this album is highly recommendable for lovers of Celtic music and friends of whistles and flutes.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson "Partners in Crime"
Label: Vertical Records; 2008
Ross Ainslie from Perth and 19 years old All-Ireland Champion Uilleann Piper Jarlath Henderson started playing together at the William Kennedy Piping Festival in 2003. Ross looks back at working with Gordon Duncan, Ivan Drever, Flook and Salsa Celtica, just to name the most important. Their debut album “Partners in Crime” has been recorded with a bunch of well known and excellent musicians, featuring Donald Shaw, Paul Meehan, Caoimhin Vallely and more.
They recorded eleven instrumental sets including self crafted tunes, traditionals and compositions from fellow musicians. Ainslie and Henderson play the pipes and whistles and the line-up also includes guitars, bass, piano and keyboards, Wurlitzer, cittern and percussion.
Starting off with a set of three terrific Irish traditional reels, “Old Bush/Jolly Tinker/Richard Dwyer’s”, sets the path and makes instantly clear what the listener is up to. Ainslie’s border pipe matches perfectly to Henderson’s uileann pipes and the guitars accelerate the rhythm to the excess. The following self made tunes, “Break Yer Bass Drone Again/The Crackin Fiddle”, are a perfect showdown for the playing together of whistles and pipes accompanied by great piano playing. So one musical highlight follows the other and the guys show passion, talent and virtuosity in their playing. But they also play some hauntingly beautiful airs like Ainslie’s “Absynthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder”, brilliant how the two guys play the whistles together.
Ross and Jarlath have joined Irish and Scottish forces to play some of the finest traditional music from the Celtic world including Brittany and Cape Breton. Accompanied by brilliant guest musicians the two young pipers establish themselves in the folk music scene with an album that is in my opinion certainly within the best recent instrumental albums.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Krista Detor "Cover Their Eyes"
Corazong Records; 2007
Krista Detor is based in Bloomington, Indiana, but she has travelled a lot in her life and these experiences have a strong influence in her musical expression. “Cover their Eyes” is one of the two albums available on CD, but she recorded two more albums only available digitally.
Her latest album is produced by her partner David Weber, who also sings harmony voices and plays guitar and Cajun. Twelve self crafted songs have been recorded by Detor and Weber with the help of a bunch of highly talented guest musicians. The arrangements are perfect and the line-ups are rich and varied.
The title track is a melodic and dreamy song with wonderful piano playing and hauntingly beautiful singing by Detor. The song starts off with piano, voice and guitar and gradually the line-up gets fuller, which gives the song a dramatic touch. “Anemic Moon” is a gorgeous rhythmic Country song featuring banjo, harmonica and mandoline and Detor’s cool singing. Cool and melancholic is “Dinner with Chantel”, a brilliant jazzy song with piano and violin in perfect harmony embracing Detor’s singing. Guest singer Carrie Newcomer joins Detor on the final track, “Lay him down”. Listening to this you feel like having landed in New Orleans. Violin, dobro, banjo, accordion, drums and bass accompany the two inspired singers to the typical sound of a New Orleans Blues.
Krista Detor’s new album is certainly one of the best albums in Americana I’ve been listening to lately. She’s a gifted songwriter, an exceptional singer and the album features virtuoso musicians. Attention this music is highly addictive; I couldn’t stop pressing the replay button.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Capercaillie "Roses and Tears"
Label: Vertical Records; 2008
Initially Capercaillie’s new album should have been released on the 17th October 2007, but the fans had to be patient for a while. Five months and a half later, on the 31st March 2008, the CD was finally available in the shops. They called the album after the words of Donald Shaw’s “Soldier Boy”: Roses and Tears.
Twelve songs have been recorded and mixed at the Tradhouse & Parklane Studios in Glasgow, with some additional recordings in Donegal and Sydney. Shaw contributed the only self composed song and a few tunes. Other composers include John Martyn, Murdo MacDonald and Duncan Ban MacIntyre for the songs and Michael McGoldrick, as well as Gilles LeBigot for the tunes. Most of the materiel is from traditional Gaelic origin with the brilliant arrangements of these exceptional musicians.
The CD starts with a rhythmic traditional song, “him bò”, including LeBigot’s tune “Aman”. The playing together of McGoldrick on flute or uileann pipes and McKerron on fiddle is exceptional. Driven by the rhythmic section with Vernal, Beresford and Robertson and surrounded by Lunny and Shaw, Karen Matheson sings with passion and feeling. Waulking songs are followed by melancholic ballads and terrific dance tunes. “The Quimper Waltz” by Shaw and “An Damez Kozh” by Bigot reminded me of LeBigot’s project “les voix de la terre” which assembled musicians and singers from Brittany, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. These wonderful dance tunes are my favourite instrumentals on the album.
John Martyn’s “Don’t you go” is a beautiful romantic song. Matheson’s singing, McGoldrick’s pipe playing and Shaw’s piano are awesome. Finally Shaw takes the accordion and kicks off Murdo MacDonalds “Leodhasach an tir chein“ (a Lewisman in a foreign country). Often heard live the song now also features on a studio album.
Good things take their time, tells a German saying and with regard to Capercaillie’s latest album the saying proves right again. A must for fans of Capercaillie and a good chance to get to know one of the most innovative folk bands of our days.
Adolf 'gorhand' Goriup

Capercaillie "Roses & Tears"
Label: Vertical Records; VERTCD 084; 12 tracks; 56 min
The latest in a long line of recordings from Capercaillie, Roses & Tears is not their best but there are some lovely tracks here nonetheless. Him Bo is their hallmark Gaelic vocals with a well-executed modern mainly-acoustic arrangement. Mike McGoldrick's flute makes a star impression here as elsewhere. Turas an Anraidh is a punchier helping of the same, a medley of short songs around a whistle jig, with Donald Shaw picking up his accordion. A couple of spirited slip-jigs follow on fiddle and pipes, and then the Gaelic vocals are back with a bouncy medley of songs and tunes. Seinneam Cliu is one of those beautiful Hebridean melodies, passionately sung by Karen Matheson. The Quimper Waltz is another of husband Donald's wonderful compositions: I'd say it was more Galician than Breton, but hey, what do I know? Before the finish are a couple more modern Gaelic arrangements and another rocking instrumental set. Leodhasach an Tir Chein makes a striking finale, powerful yet gentle.
Capercaillie have stuck to their very successful recipe of mixing mouthmusic and modern instruments. Roses & Tears for me drifts slightly too far into the bass'n'drums arrangements, and if you've heard them before then there aren't enough surprises on this album. The percussion is consistently high in the mix, the arrangements are often quite similar, and the instrumentals sit at a constant tempo. A bit more light and shade would go a long way to making this a repeated listening CD. The two English anti-war songs are handled in a very bland way - they don't stand out from the rest, and they certainly didn't get their message over to me, so I'm not sure why they're there. Despite all that, Roses & Tears is a very pleasant recording and Capercaillie fans will enjoy it: just don't judge the band by this release alone.
Alex Monaghan

Becky Taylor "Ireland Bridge"
Label: Own Label; 10 tracks; 38 min
From the North of England, this young uilleann piper combines Irish music with aspects of English, Breton and other traditions. Her second album is aptly named. In a little under forty minutes, Becky Taylor stravagues through a musical landscape from Tyneside to Donegal. Francis Donnellan's, Rattle the Cash and The Kilkenny Jig sit alongside her own compositions, which often have a slightly English feel. As well as the Irish pipes, Ms Taylor plays Northumbrian smallpipes, concertina, fiddle and whistles. She's joined by several friends: Dave Wood, David Kosky and Paul Cowham on guitars, Leigh Stothard on drums, and Hugh Bradley on bass. For those who heard her debut CD, Ireland Bridge is a big step forward and presents Becky as a piper to be reckoned with.
The Gift mixes rustic modal melodies with the world music sound of Barely Works or Oyster Band numbers. Smallcoalpiper is a contemporary Northumberland showpiece, full of pops and stops, with a driving topline and a strong beat, finishing on the classic Small Coals. The air Mable strays across the Celtic rim, somewhere along an imaginary line between Callanish and Compostella. When It's All Over is a little further West, halfway across that Ireland bridge; a pair of breakneck whistle reels a la Finnegan or McGoldrick. Track 6 is firmly on Irish soil, Carolan's Captain Kane. The traditional jigs Red Haired Polly and Rattle the Cash keep us there, and The Lady's Cup of Tea adds some very fine Irish piping. Becky's style is open and uncomplicated, and the melody comes through strongly. The stately air River Rose leads into an impressive whistle solo. Can't Help Smiling rounds off this recording with a medley of jigs, leaving no doubt as to Becky Taylor's abilities: a fine command of her instrument, a repertoire as wide as these islands, and a gift for contemporary composition. Ireland Bridge is good solid pipering from start to finish, and should broaden the horizons of most traditional musicians.
Alex Monaghan

Box Club "Box Club"
Label: Own Label; 8 tracks; 44 min
Four fine young piano-box players, performing together and separately, with a premier league rhythm section: Box Club are fronted by Mairearad Green, Angus Lyon, Gary Innes and John Somerville. This pioneering CD presents over forty minutes of mainly their own compositions, from reels to waltzes, a splendid example of contemporary Scottish trad. Think son of Phil Cunningham. Or daughter, of course.
Crazy Street kicks off the recording with an Innes session favourite, shifting into a dark Green reel. Polkska has a distinctly non-celtic feel until Neil and Fiona's injects some Kerry magic. Teabaggin is a pair of big meaty strathspeys, Gary's Troon Sniper and the traditional Earl Grey. John's No.62 is a whirling modern triple bourree.with more twists and turns than the Clyde. The two waltzes in TotAly Modest are lovely, Tony Rasmundson's tribute to Aly Bain just shading it over Mairearad's Total Modesty. Angus contributes a couple of cracking jigs, the very familiar Stuck in Port Askaig (what a way to go!) and the surprisingly tasty Cold Chips.
This is a very enjoyable wee album. Benism and the final Extensions set are pretty hard-core accordion, but overall Box Club's music is great fun. The four accordions cover Scottish, Irish, Scandinavian and Central European styles. Guitar, drums and bass complete their already full sound. Be very careful of the website: with samples and pictures, don't get it wrong!
Alex Monaghan

Dick Hensold "Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes"
Label: Ten Thousand Lakes; SC 127; 11 tracks; 53 min
Mid-Western US music teacher and musicologist Dick Hensold started his career studying baroque and renaissance recorder music. The cross-over into bagpipes, and the Northumbrian pipes in particular, came from an interest in drones and variations: hence this CD's title, complex multi-part pieces based around the smallpipes. Some tracks, like First Leaves of Spring and Zoe Cansdale of Hartburn, are Hensold's own compositions in the Northumbrian style. Others, such as Mysteries of Knock or New Way to Morpeth, are old tunes arranged traditionally. There's a version of The Monaghan Jig, James Hill's Random Jig, strathspeys and reels from Scotland and Cape Breton, and a range of airs contemporary and traditional from Northumberland, Scotland and Cambodia, as well as several more Hensold compositions.
The piping is fluent and assured, the old staccato style played mainly on a good set of 13-key pipes in D. Dick Hensold brings in some more open playing at times, especially on the Irish pieces. I find his style rather straight and cerebral at times, without the passion and spontaneity of some players, but his technique is impressive and most of the pieces are delightfully interpreted. Harp, fiddle and whistle join him on First Leaves of Spring, stretching to a string quartet on the big finish Lance Robson's Jig. Elsewhere Dean Magraw plays guitar, and Troy MacGillivray's piano powers the two Cape Breton sets. Rheung Knome Jop Hai stands out not just because of the spelling: Cambodian pop music appears to fit perfectly on the pipes, and is actually not so far from the sound of modern compositions in the bellows-blown piping world, but the combination with Cambodian dulcimer is a fabulous addition to this recording. Big Music indeed, and highly recommended for piping purists and open-minded experimentalists alike. is the place to look online - where else? - and should be up and running by the time you read this.
Alex Monaghan

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