FolkWorld Issue 38 03/2009

FolkWorld CD Reviews

Naragonia "Janneke Tarzan"
Appel rekords; APR131; 2007
Naragonia is a Belgium duo formed in 2003 in Portugal by Pascale Rubens and Toon van Mierlo. Both play the Diatonic accordion but know their way on instruments such as the Gaita, saxophone, violin and clarinet as well. The band has gained a good reputation in the past few years. Their debut album got good critics and besides a duo, they also perform as a quartet which includes violinist Wouter Vandenabeele and guitarist/cittern/mandola player Maarten Decombel. On Janneke Tarzan you can hear both the duo and quartet versions of the band. All tracks are original but deeply rooted in the Belgian/French/Dutch (bal) folk tradition. I cant conclude otherwise than that Naragonia released a n absolute top CD. Itís pure quality, beautiful dance music, played a bit introvert. This makes their music a real pleasure to listen at home and to dance on at concerts. Fabulous interaction between the musicians, strong duets between the two accordions, sad violin, great gaita and even a beautiful song, sung by Pacale in French. Naragonia proves with this album to be one of Belgiumís best kept secrets, time to conquer the world!
Eelco Schilder

Katzen kapell "Maximalism"
Ragdang records; 002; 2008
Tango Crash "BailŠ Querida"
Label: Galileo; GMC028; 2008
Compass Rose Quintet "Cosmopolitango"
Label: Own label; 2007
Tango siempre "Only human"
Label: Galileo; GMP031; 2008
Four albums that (more or less) play music from the Tango tradition. First one by a more than interesting band from Sweden called the Katzen kapell. Before I heard the CD I guessed it would be a klezmer/Yiddish kind of CD. How wrong I was! This sextet impresses me with a good mixture of tango, classical, jazz and rock related music. Six original tracks, over forty minutes of passionate cross-over music with a central role for Catharina Backman on the accordion and Eva Lindal on the violin. Although it wouldnít be fair not to mention the other musicians on piano, organ, vibraphone, marimba, drums, percussion and bass because they create the solid foundation of the band. Itís energetic, furious and technically of the highest level. Maybe a bit to far out for the real tango fans, but I love this creative album full of surprising sounds and passionate music. Tango Crash is already a lot more ítangoí than the first CD in this review, but far from the traditional kind. Itís the bandís third CD and a real modern-tango adventure. Eleven original compositions and one Yupanqui composition, deeply rooted in the tango tradition but combined with beats and electronics. Sometimes dreamy like in Finitud, sometimes a bit spacy, almost avant-gardistic like in Le Trocandombe or Baila querida. Always with surprising twists, strong musical arrangements and highly skilled musicians. This is a great listening experience and one of the nicest tango releases of this year. Back to the acoustic tango with The Compass Rose Quintet again a group who doesnít play the classical tango but mixes it with folky influences, light African and Flamenco rhytms and much more. This CD has a much lighter sound than the earlier two mentioned in this review. All tracks are original but have a recognisable sound, I constantly ask myself where I have heard it before. I cant conclude otherwise than for the third time in this review that we have a winner! This is a sparkling, well played, sunny CD with the best elements from Southern musical traditions. Itís not as renewing or creative as the other two, but it has the right spirit, quality and a unique sound. Very nice! The fourth one is the most classical tango one. Only Human by Tango Siempre but still one with smooth electronics and light modern influences. I like the subtle way they integrated the electronic sounds in the tango style. It sounds very natural and a bit like Ďlate night radio musicí. Played in a more traditional way, nice sound, good musicians and very enjoyable. But also a bit less outspoken than the others in this review and personally I like it when bands search for new styles and an own identity.,,,
Eelco Schilder

Dites 34 "3=5"
Label: Folkafon; FO601; 2008
Dites 34 is the latest band by three Minuit Guiibolles members and two jazz musicians. This 3=5 album contains thirteen live recordings and is the debut album by this new band. Most tracks are original but this album includes the Tesi composition Tarentella rouge et noir as well. The album starts with an easy, Spanish orientated, composition called Take 26. The sound engineer is clearly searching for the right balance between the instruments, but slowly this song starts to show the bands quality. The next song Tartifume shows the band in all itís glory. Strong accordion play, halfway taken over by the jazzy saxophone. In Les petit poisons fous and the title song 3=5, the band takes the dreamy road. A peaceful moment in this energetic and this CD with some nice musical surprises. For instance the jazz sound in Cup of three or the African beats in 4 Miles. A nice debut album.
Eelco Schilder

Lovenia "Fortun"
Label: Own label; 2008
Lovenia is a German band gathered around singer Astrid Adlung. This is the bands debut album, containing dreamy psych-folk complete with didgeridoo, sitar and some sampling. The result is a nice album in the tradition of the English Neo-folk with oriental touches, dreamy songs and occasionally a light pop- jazz approach. A song like Bhimpalasi reminds me a lot of Dead can dance, also one of the better tracks on this album. Same for Tuchna with subtle use of the didgeridoo and much more poppy. Nice debut which will probably be liked by many ethereal Ė neo-folk-spacy-psych etc. lovers.
Eelco Schilder

The Demon Barbers "+24DB"
Label: Own label; 2008
A typical English Folkrock band, thatís the first thing that comes to my mind when hearing this mini-album by The Demon barbers. Pure folk-rock in the best tradition. Strong vocals by Damien Barber, one of the founding members, with some nice female harmonies, perfect concertina and violin and a solid drum and bass sound. Not renewing, but certainly refreshing. This 23 minutes short (too short) CD contains their version of Martin Carthyís Betsy Bell and Tony Hallís The amphitrite. Also their version of The Death and the lady is a very nice one, different than the other versions I have heard. Nice album, but a bit too mini for my taste.
Eelco Schilder

V/A "String of Sutartines"
Label: Kuku; SMF033; 2008
Sutaras & The Dainius Pulauskas Group "Vilnius kaip ant delno"
Label: Kuku; SMF042; 2008
Two albums from Lithuania, two very different styles. The first is collection of polyphonic music and songs by various artists. This album contains some interesting recordings from 1937 until 2008 with Lithuanian folk music. The album gives a nice historical view on how the music developed throughout the decades. Starting with the oldest recording from 1937 as some kind of intro, followed by beautiful recordings like Trys keturiose by the band Atalyja, one of my favourites on this album. Unfortunately this group has only one track on this album while the vocal ensemble Trys keturiose (yes, the same name as the song title) has six tracks and strangely enough some vocal only but also some weird, experimental rock ones. Interesting are the tracks by Dijuta, a strange, hypnotising flute/vocal ensemble. Zalvarinis, shows the more modern approach of the music with some nice folk-rock. Lets not forget t mention the jazz ensemble Sutaras, who play the jazz interpretation of the traditional music. This is a great album full surprises and strange sounds. It makes me curious to hear more. The second CD from Lithuania is by Sutaras (who also had some tracks on the first CD) with The Dainius Pulauskas group. Both are two known and awarded groups. Their cooperation results into a jazz-folk mixture. The tradition is still recognisable, but the jazz takes the overhand on most songs. Even some Latin and Dixieland influences can be heard. I personally prefer the songs where the tradition is most present. Nevertheless a well produces album of high quality.
Eelco Schilder

Startijenn "Pakit Holl"
Label: Paker production; 001 DB10; 2008
Startijenn is a young and dynamic Breton folk band. In the past few years they became one of the best known groups in Brittany and they have been playing all around the country and even abroad. Pakit Holl is their second album which is deeply rooted in the traditional Breton music including some fine Gwerz style music besides plin, valse and other dances. The quintet includes musicians on Biniou, uillean pipes, accordion, bombarde, guitar and percussion. Although they play in a traditional setting, the group has a full, sometimes almost a bit rocking, sound. The music is very recognisable for everybody who loves Breton folk music. This band plays it on the highest level in a creative and passionate way. Strong musical arrangements and nice instrumental harmonies make this album one of the nicest from Brittany this year.
Eelco Schilder

Fei Scho "Zum funk"
Label: Own label; 2008
Fei Scho is a German band from Bayern, founded in 2003. Five musicians on instruments such as the violin, hurdy-gurdy, flutes guitar and bass focus on a mix between classic, folk, traditional music form Bayern, funk and worldmusic. Their repertoire includes traditional pieces, original material and a Andy Cutting and Hoirup composition. A wide variation in styles pass by. I hear some light gypsy influences, tap-dance, real alp-funk, an almost classical waltz and some groovy world-jazz. The band has a light and easy going sound. Their music is uncomplicated and well played. It reminds me a bit of the Dutch band Flairck who also blended all kind of styles in some easy going folky style of music. It's not as funky as the title suggests. For that, the musicians take it too easy and to calm. Nevertheless a nice debut album with some good cross-over style music.
Eelco Schilder

Lancy Falta Gypsy Stream "In the Fields"
Galileo; BAY003; 2008
Lancy Falta grew up in a house full of music and started to play the guitar at the age of ten. By now he is one of the best known Gypsy-jazz guitarists in Germany and cooperated with many artists including Joe Zawinul and Chaka Khan. He is related to the Reinhardt clan and In the fields is his debut album. Together with a violin/mandolin player, bassist and percussionist, Falta plays a smooth kind of jazz with some gypsy influences. Own compositions are mixed with traditionals and tunes by artists such as Parker and Pastorius. It's late night jazz of the highest quality. Falta is a master on his guitar and he is backed by a fine group of musicians. Nice guest vocals Isis kŲhler make this album a very enjoyable debut. Especially for all those who like good guitar music, dreamy jazz and gypsy-jazz related sounds.
Eelco Schilder

Steve Tilston "Ziggurat"
Label: Hunris records; HUB004; 2008
Steve Tilston is known by most people strangely enough not because of his solo records, but because famous names like Fairport convention, Dolores Keane and so many others recorded his songs. Already in the early seventies he recorded on the famous village thing and transatlantic label. He played with John Renbourn and on several occasions with Maggie Boyle (who is one of the guests on this album). His career has been celebrated with a 5 cd box issued by Free reed and now his latest studio album Ziggurat is available. Twelve beautiful new tracks and two traditionals in which he shows to be not only a fantastic songwriter, but one of the best folk singers of this time. A strong, warm voice and beautiful, sober musical arrangements make this album a fantastic album and probably one of the best English folk albums of 2008.
Eelco Schilder

Pete Morton "Casa albierta"
Label: Further records; 002; 2008
Pete Morton is a folk singer from Nottingham whoís star has been rising since his album Hunting the heart was chosen folk album of the year by Mojo in 2000. This Casa albierta is a charity album for schools in Gambia. On this album he recorded ten songs and all ten in a different language. After children who starts to sing a song, he opens the album in Spanish with title song. Nice, but somehow it feels like Morton is searching for the right balance. Better is the Irish traditional TŠ mť mo shuŪ which sounds like a song that is closer to his personal style. Besides these two the famous Swahili song Malaika in a sad, peaceful version, the Dutch song Avond sounds more like a South-African song than a Dutch one and is hard to follow for me as a Dutchmen, but it has the right atmosphere with this fragile guitar. This charity album is a friendly album with some nice songs. Not world shocking, but honest songs brought in a personal way.
Eelco Schilder

Michael Doucet "From now on"
Folkways; SFW 40177; 2008
Michael Doucet is one of Americaís most famous Cajun violinists. His work with the band Beausoleil is known al over the world since the seventies. That he is also a solo artists is not known to many. In 2005 he got awarded the National Heritage Fellowship award for his contribution to American culture. The famous Folkways label has now published this solo album on which Doucet plays a anthology of his work. In the booklet he explains why he recorded the specific song and tells a bit of their history. Itís a beautiful collection of a master musician. Often solo on violin (with some vocals), one track solo on accordion and a few with Todd Duke on guitar or Mitchell Reed on fiddle. This is a CD like you might expect from the Folkways label. With background information, a pure kind of music by an musician who has his roots deep in the culture he represents. Very nice.
Eelco Schilder

Blau "All up stee"
Label: Starfish music; 66668-2; 2008
Blau is a German acoustic duo who compose and sing their own songs, sung in Platt-Deutsch. Their main instruments are the Sousaphone and guitars and they play songs that easily could have been a traditional but also contemporary songs about Nordic walking and other modern problems of people above a certain age. Their music goes from Tex mex, to German folk, country, blues and Caribbean influences. Clearly a duo that loves what they are doing but donít get above the average of the many CDís I get for review. Simple songs with ditto arrangements, clichť style ingredients make a song clearly a blues or one of the other styles they play. Not very subtle, but played with passion and pleasure. Probably great in the local pub, but I have to admit that I need more to keep me interested while listening to the album at home.
Eelco Schilder

Mike Martell "She waits for me"
Label: Own label; 2008
Mike Martell is a singer-songwriter from Prince Edward Island, Canada. He has been a fisherman for over forty years and in 2001, at the age of 47 he wrote his first song. Since that moment he kept on writing with the Sea as one of his main themeís. Now the time was ripe to record some of his songs and offer them to lovers of the genre. From the first moment his deep voice impresses me. Not the best trained voice in the world, but with emotion and a very personal sound and style. He is beautifully backed by Tami and Sophie Martell, who with their light voices, are the perfect counterbalance for Mikeís deep voice. This is how folk music should sound, a singer who sings reflections of his own life. The things that touch him, the sea, the people, all straight from the heart. She waits for me is a very special album with a seldom seen pure kind of music.
Eelco Schilder

Norman Seldin "Asbury Park, Then and Now"
Label: Own label; 2008
This double CD is an overview of a long career in music, for about fifty years long Seldin has been a singer-songwriter, keyboardist and so much more in music. That he has many sides shows this self published double album with a nice look into both the career of a musician, but also into the development in music during the past fifty years. The first CD starts with typical close harmony songs from the early sixties. Followed by the bombastic My hero the opera-style song Nessun dorma and more close harmony songs. (including a version of the classic song Over the rainbow) and many more nice, easy going songs. More sixties pop are the tracks with The Vailtairs or what to think about the tracks by Stormin Norman & Steel breeze, with a bluesy feeling. Many of the tracks are taken from vinyl, so you hear some occasional noice, to give this authentic feeling. The second CD starts with more Stormin Norman. But also contains tracks by the Motifs and Joyful Noyze. Itís clear that we are somewhere in the seventies now, with songs by The Soul set and it ends with a good old bluesy feeling. Nice album with rare and hard to find tracks from a musician with an impressive career in music.
Eelco Schilder

Carmel Sheerin "Here with you"
Label: Own label; 2008
Backed by a band with a lot of family members, Carmel Sheerin sings modern bluegrass music. Produced by the known producer Bill Vorndick, she sings original compositions and a few covers (including the Beatles) in easy going Bluegrass style that at some moments might remind you of Alison Krauss or Rhonda Vincent. She is at her best in a song like Driftin away in which her vocals almost sounds Irish and remind me a bit of a younger version of Dolores Keane. Here with you is a open minded album with some very nice, accessible bluegrass music. This is such a CD that I really think nothing is wrong with. But I also miss a little bit personality, itís a bit to careful to my taste. Nevertheless an album with some high quality music that will easily find itís way t a bigger audience.
Eelco Schilder

Ignacio Alfayť "Pau-Etika"
Label: Own label; 2008
Alfayť is a Spanish diatonic accordionist from Zaragoza. All his background information is in Spanish including the webpage, so I cant give you much details. I did find out he is a member of several groups, including a Flamenco band and many others. This solo album is made with the help of a few guest musicians but most of the music is solo accordion. Eight compositions and one poem. Alfayť shows to be a very nice musician who understands the power and possibilities of his instrument. His music does show influences from several Spanish regions, but I donít find it typically this or that, he putís a lot of own ideas in his compositions. Nice for those who love solo accordion music from Spain.
Eelco Schilder

Carus Thompson "Cover tapes"
Valve records; 7087; 2008
The fourth album by Australian singer-songwriter Carus Thompson. This album contains thirteen homageís to ĎAustraliaís best singer-songwriterí and was recorded live in the studio in 2008. This album is the result of the fact that he always played a few covers while touring in Europe and in Edinburgh the idea came to his mind to collect them and make a CD with those covers by some of Australiaís finest singer-songwriters (according to Thompson) What I hear is a man with his guitar and mouth-organ, playing nice folky songs. Itís pure and honest music but I would like to know why he picked those songs, not much info in the CD, as some are beautiful but others are not more than nice. Thompson himself is a nice singer, with a powerful voice and a decent but not remarkable guitar sound. Iím sorry to say but between the many singer-songwriters CD that are published each week he is a nice one, but doesnít get above the average according to my opinion.
Eelco Schilder

LorbaŖ "Vun Hebrohy nah Schrepperie"
Label: Jam tonic; 2008
A bit confusing, this band LorbaŖ. During the late seventies and early eighties there was a band with the same name who recorded two albums on the English Burlington label with Steeleye spanís Nigel Pegrum. But the LorbaŖ that is for review here, seems to be another band, a quartet that sings traditionals and original compositions in plattdeutsch. This is their fourth release since their debut album in 1987 and the first one in eleven years. The band includes violin, bass, mandolin, guitar and female lead vocals. Itís the standard folk line-up and that is also what this LorbaŖ is. Vun hebrohy nah schrepperie contains nice own compositions like the lovely Wenn se singt, a peaceful instrumental called Dat geele meer and a few more up tempo songs like Waschsalon with a bluesy/country rock sound. I think the band is at itís best in the traditional songs and the slower ballads. The songs have nice, simple arrangements which are a bit predictable. This fourth CD gives a nice picture of the bands repertoire, which is, after my opinion, a bit too middle of the folk road.
Eelco Schilder

Manderley "...fliegt Gedanken, fliegt..."
Sireena Records; 2037; 1976/2008; Spielzeit: 44:03 min
When I saw the booklet of this album I rushed upstairs to search in my record collection, and yes! There it was, the original album of Manderleyís Fliegt gedanken fliegt. To be honest, I hadnít listen to the LP for years and didnít remember it as being a remarkable one. Well, after hearing this CD reissue of the 1976 album I have to admit I was wrong. Itís not a world shocking, but a nice album that deserves to be reissued on CD. The band only existed for three years. Started in 1975, published the LP in 1976 and disappeared again in 1978. Itís such a typical seventies band that is influenced by the known English and American folk(rock) singers and bands. On this album they show nice harmony vocals and warm lead vocals by Helga SchmŲlter. Their music is this typical blend of German music with American and English folk sounds. Easy going and at itís best in the more rock orientated songs like Da muss doch wohl ein ausweg sein. The CD contains two live bonus tracks, for the diehard Manderley fan.
Eelco Schilder

Hammerling trifft Michaela Dietl "ZUG"
Label: Klangidee; 004; 2008
The duo Hammerling exists out of Austrian multi instrumentalist (alphorn) Fritz MoŖhammer and percussionist German Erwin Rehling. On this ZUG album they cooperate with accordionist Michaela Dietl. The CD contains both a collection of studio and live recordings of the trio. They play their original compositions with passion. They easily blend jazz with sounds from the Alps. They improvise and experiment with rhythms and sounds, trying to cross the limitations of their instruments. The interaction between alphorn and accordion is very nice, somehow the instruments match but also these two musicians know how to challenge each other to give everything they have, both backed by excellent percussion work. The album is full of variation, from happy sounding gnome dances to dark and sweaty nightclub sounds. Intriguing project with great musicians who managed to create a unique and own sound.,
Eelco Schilder

Sagapool "Episode trois"
Label: Anubis; anucd 14; 2008
Sagapool is a sextet from Montreal that was born in 1999 at the Conservatoire de musique in Montreal and now, ten years later, their third album is released. Sagapool is a band of the world. In a refreshing style this band mixes gypsy, klezmer ska, brass, folk and many other styles. This CD does not only show the song writing talent of the musicians, but also their high level as musician. With so many instruments and such an overkill of possibilities, many other bands would drown in their ideas and their urge to use them all. Not Sagapool, their full, rich sound is perfectly balanced and fascinates me a lot. Itís instrumental music that brings me into a good mood. I love hearing a bunch of good musicians having fun and making good music at the same time. Time to conquer the world!
Eelco Schilder

Lenka Lichtenberg & Brian Katz "Pashtes"
Label: Own label; 2006
Sisters of Sheynville "Sheynville Express"
Label: Own label; SOS 236-2007; 2007
Two Klezmer/Yiddish albums with Lenka Lichtenberg as one of the musicians. First Pashtes, which is a musical cooperation between the Czech born Lenka Lichtenberg and Canadian Brian Katz. As a child Lichtenberg was a big star in her native country, having several top ten hits and played in musical theatre pieces. She studied ethnomusicology and wrote her thesis on Yiddish music during the holocaust. Her partner in music Katz has a strong reputation in jazz, Jewish and classical music and is an expert free improvisation and blending styles into a new sound. The duo is helped by nine musicians varying from percussion, violin to accordion, flutes and saxophone. Pashtes contains ten poems written by Simcha Simchovitch, put to music by Lichtenberg and one song by Katz. The booklet contains English translations of the poems, which makes the music even more interesting. Lichtenberg and Katz surprise with pure, acoustic music on a high level. They change from jazz to classical music with constantly the Jewish tradition and main ingredient. Sometimes soft guitar and careful vocals, on other moments Lichtenberg shows every corner of her voice backed by saxophoneís, horn, bass in a track like Yo ikh gloyb. I think itís music that will appeal more to the lovers of jazz than to those who are into the traditional Jewish music. But no matter if this is your style or not, itís music on the highest level. Then Sisters of Sheynville, a Yiddish sextet that was chosen vocal act of 2008! This band brings Yiddish and klezmer music in the ďswingĒ style, with the feeling of the first part of the 20th century. Jazzy with strong harmony vocals. Sometimes hard to recognize as Yiddish, indeed a more vocal-jazz band. Itís sunny music, but personally Iím more into Yiddish and klezmer than into jazz, so although I recognize the high quality of the music, itís not really my kind of interpretation of the style.,,
Eelco Schilder

Brian Dunningís Puck Fair "Forgotten Carnival"
Label: Own label; 2008
Puck Fair was originally founded in New York in 1984 and recently started a new life in Dublin. More than twenty years after their debut, and only, album they return with the Forgotten carnival. Besides Brian Dunning on flute, the band exists out of Sean Whelan on guitar, oud and bass and Robbie Harris is doing the percussion part. On a few tracks they invited guest musicians on violin, vocals, strings and bass. Their music is a jazzy kind of Celtic music and the CD contains all, except one, new compositions. The first time I listened to the CD it reminded me of the Dutch band Flairck and especially of flutist Peter Weekers who has the same style of playing. This Forgotten carnival has a nice, easy going atmosphere with laid back acoustic jazz-folk. Nice are the Catalan traditional Rossinyol although I got the feeling the vocals were recorded separate from the musicians, it has a slightly strange sound. My favourite is Dunedance with a nice Arabic touch both in the string work, percussion and the vocals. I think this is a CD that will be liked most by those who love the sound of the flute, as it takes a very prominent place in Puck fairís music.
Eelco Schilder

Michael Jerome Browne "This beautiful mess"
Borealis; bcd192; 2008
Tim Hus "Bush Pilot Buckaroo"
Label: Stony plain; 1336; 2008
The Marc Atkinson Trio "IV"
Label: Pacific music; 14652; 2008
Lynne Hanson "Eleven months"
Label: PLH; 200801; 2008
Les Chauffeurs Š Pieds "Partons allons"
Label: Scorbut 10; 2008
A bunch of Canadian CDís for review here, starting with guitarist and singer Michael Jerome Browne. This beautiful mess is his fourth album since 2001 and all his previous albums have been Juno nominated. He is backed by a fine group of musicians and his style is a mixture of country, blues and folk. With a relaxed voice and very nice (pedal steel) guitar he shows to be a interesting singer-songwriter, without being outspoken in anyway. What you see is what you get, pure and honest singer-songwriter music. Tim Hus is more of the rocking kind. What to say about his latest CD Bush pilot buckaroo? He certainly shows why he is called the Canadian cowboy. Itís not his, limited, voice that does the trick, but the pure enthousiasm he puts into his music. Hus is giving a party and we are all invited. Straight on Country and Western rock. Fast and furious and in an irresistible happy style. He is backed by a great band that has at least the same enthousiasm and fire as the front man himself. I bet Tim Hus can make rain clouds disappear and brings the sun out wherever he plays. The third album in this review is from theMarc Atkinson trio. IV is their fourth album, which you might have guessed. The band is formed around guitarist Marc Atkinson who is backed by Chris Frye on Rhythm guitar and bassist Joey Smith. The band plays smooth acoustic jazz with some amazing finger picking. Atkinson shows on this album to be a strong composer and a great musician. Not only technically spoken on the highest level, but this trio has found the right chemistry to make this a very interesting instrumental album. Will be loved by finger picking freaks and lovers of the acoustic-jazz guitar style. Then Lynne Hanson who is a singer from Ottawa and has just released her second album called Eleven months. Hanson shows to be a great talent with her easy going folk songs. It reminds me of the recent wave of Americana artists but than with a bluesy and Canadian accent. Her calm voice sings songs about things she observes in her surrounding. She is backed by a fine band with some great pedal steel sounds. At a few moments I find her music a bit to careful, as if she doesnít want to disturb her audience to much. Nevertheless a solid album with beautiful and relaxed music. Next is the band Les chauffeurs Š pieds, a trio playing traditional music from Quebec. The band started about eleven years ago and has released five albums. This sixth album contains music which is typically for the Quebec traditional music. Strong harmony vocals, of course a typical branle like Votícotillon branle, but also some reels and other dances. The trio stays close to the basic elements of the music and does not arrange the music in a too complicated way. Somehow they have a bit this typical seventies/eighties Quebec-folk sound without sounding old fashioned. It is these subtle additions to the songs that makes it more than just another traditional band. Fantastic is Partons allons, jeunes garcons which has a nice psych touch and is an example of the unexpected small twists these guys give to the music. A very nice album with fresh traditional music.,,,,
Eelco Schilder

Danielson "Trying hartz"
Secretly Canadian; 180; 2008
In this review is a 2 CD set by Danielson called Trying hartz. Danielson is Daniel Smith who originally started Danielson as an art school project for his senior thesis. The first name was The Danielson family in which he played with his four younger siblings. Under this name one CD was released in 1997. The next two albums were released under the name of Tri-Danielson and now the band is simply called Danielson. This double CD set is kind of career overview with recordings from 1994 until 2004. Trying hartz shows a creative maniac who discovers every corner of his creative brain. It is progressive, folky, psychedelic, avant garde, rock, theatrical, sixties, seventies, eighties and nineties and so much more. (do I hear some gospel? A shy attempt to make some hiphop?) Danielson plays with sounds, structures and melodies. He loves to steer a song in unexpected directions with often surprising results. Enough creativity and quality to fill one CD, the second one might be a bit much for some.
Eelco Schilder

Troitsa "7"
Sketis; 048; 2007
Troitsa "Son-trava"
Label: Fonografika; 2008
Troitsa is a trio from Belarus that was started in 1996. The first time I saw the trio play was in 2001 at the Folkwoods festival in Holland where the band became one of the highlights of the festival. I remember that even years later people were talking about the intense, almost mystical performance this band gave. In 2006 they returned to the festival, again with great success. Their first two cdís were also recorded in Holland and published on the Dutch pan label, not easy to find but worth the search. The trioís front man Ivan Kirchuk is a multi instrumentalist and singer who has a deep, warm voice. Besides him the band exists out of Yury Dzmitrieu on several string instruments and Jury Paulouski who is the percussionist of the band. The 7 album is a release from 2007 on the Russian Sketis label with recordings from 2004. Itís a fascinating album with dark, dreamy Russian psych-folk full of unexpected twists, strange sounds and some haunting music. It has elements of not only the Russian culture, but I hear light oriental, Balkan and Scandinavian influences. Their latest album Son Trava is published on a Polish label. This album has a more polished sound, without loosing this typical Troitsa sound. It has a more folk-rock orientated sound, but again with such a drive, such a tension in the music that Iím locked to the speakers for the whole hour this CD takes. Itís probably their most balanced album until today, with some fabulous arrangements, rhythms and vocal work. For all those who like experimental, dark-Russian folk, buy them both! You won't find music of this quality, with such an unique identity that often.
Eelco Schilder

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