FolkWorld #44 03/2011

CD & DVD Reviews

Kremlinaires "The Ghost of Uncle Joe"
Own label, 2010

Kremlinaires is a UK based band with seven musicians who fit perfectly in the Russendisko hype from the past few years. This time no modern beats on old music but good old folk-rock music with a Russian swing. With a good sense of humor the well dressed musicians use all the cliché’s about Russian culture and put them on this album. From their version of Kalinka to Rock the Kremlin which is their version of the eighties hit Rock the Casbah. Prepare for thirteen songs of uncomplicated Russian folk rock, perfect for your dressed party or a vodka evening with friends.
© Eelco Schilder

Lenka Lichtenberg "Fray"
Own label, 2010

Article: Connecting 100%

The singer-songwriter Lenka Lichtenberg surprised me with her beautiful Yiddish-jazz album called Pashtes from 2006 on which she recorded a beautiful collection of songs together with Brian Katz. On her new album Lenka Lichtenberg takes an even more adventures road and mixes Yiddish music with oriental, Indian and Mediterranean styles amongst others. Backed by a wonderful group of musicians on instruments such as table, guitar, drum, ney, clarinet, violin and so much more, Lichtenberg impressed with an intense journey through the ancient cultures. Sometimes introvert and acoustic, on other moments with a nice rock touch. A good combination between passion, emotion and relaxation. Between modern and tradition and between all these well chosen elements of the different traditions she got inspired by. An hour of intriguing music in which Lichtenberg expresses her own style of singing, composing and performing.
© Eelco Schilder

Terrae "Unknown People"
Folkclub Ethonsuoni, 2010

Eight years ago founded band who mixes ancient and modern acoustic Sicilian sounds. Their previous album got strong reviews and was praised for its own identity and craftsmanship. On this new album, called Unknown people, the quartet shows great progression. Traditional songs mixed with original material in a natural blend. Together with a few guest musicians who appear on one or two songs, Terrae impresses with a modern kind of folk that is deeply rooted in the melting pot of cultures Sicily is. What impresses me the most is the intriguing polyphonic singing. The opening track Coru is one of the best examples of the very own sound of the bands polyphonic quality. But they impress in many other ways as well. Quantu basinicò is a beautiful, bit melodramatics song with again typical (solo) vocal parts by guest vocalist Simona di Gregoria. In this great song, and some others, the band added some very soft electronic parts. Very well chosen and perfectly fitting in the music. Attenzione attenzione shows how they keep on experimenting and adding unexpected twists to their music. This is a strong album with modern folk music from Sicily of the best quality.
© Eelco Schilder

Bezobratri "Bezobav"
Indies Scope, 2010

Ida Kelarova, Desideriem Duždou, Tomáš
Kačo & Škampa quartet "Romská balada"
Indies Scope, 2010

For a few years I got overloaded by Czech label releases. All kinds of music came my way, from authentic traditional music to jazz and terrible kind of predictable party rock. The last two years somehow almost no albums from Czech all made it to my doormat, this might have something to do with the fact that I didn’t like about 90% of the CD’s and probably my reviews did show that somehow. But I’m more than happy to have received a few new releases, as the Indies label published a few albums of high quality.
The first one is by the band Bezobratri. This second album shows great passion for tradition and contains some of the best Czech music I have heard in years. Most of the musicians origin from the Moravia region and one comes out of Slovakia. Most of their music is rooted in Slovakia and occasionally a Hungarian or Polish traditional is added. Main ingredients are the flutes and violin(cello) besides the fine vocals. These seven musicians create a fresh sounding style of music, well played with passion. Sometimes music that invites for dancing but also a few great haunting ballads like Počúvajte, páni which is one of my favorites. Nice how they stay close to original styles and suddenly add some extra energy or unexpected musical arrangements. I have been thinking for a long time, going through my LP’s and CD’s but I have to conclude that this is probably the best album I have from Czech/Slovakia. Highly recommended!
The second one is by Ida Kelarova, Desideriem Duždou, Tomáš Kačo & Škampa quartet. This album is called Romská balada and contains thirteen Roma ballads (as you might have guessed.) This is such an album that sometimes make me stop with what I’m doing and close my eyes. The two main lead vocalists Kelorova and Dužda, both have a warm, jazzy voice with a great expression. They are backed by the great pianist Kačo and the lovely melancholic sound of the Škampa string quartet who give a beautiful atmosphere to the songs. They invited several guest vocalists to complete their music. It’s romantic music with a warm atmosphere and sometimes a raw edge. Roma music for intense enjoyment, not the typical Roma celebration music. For the second time the Indies label surprises me with a beautiful release.
© Eelco Schilder

Dreamers Circus "Dreamers Circus"
Go Danish Folk Music, 2010

This is the first step into the international world of folk music by the Danish trio Dreamers Circus. This trio is founded by Nikolaj Busk (piano), Ale Carr (cittern and violin) and Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (violin & harmonium). They invited two guests and so you can hear Sofia Karlsson and Roger Tallroth on the very nice song Idas farväl. This first output is not a full length album but a five song EP. The original compositions are well composed and well played and show the quality this cooperation between three fine musicians has. When their first full length album contains tracks of this quality, it will be a dream debut and Dreamers circus will belong to the top of Danish folk.
© Eelco Schilder

Daniel & Emma "Innerligheten"
Own label, 2010

Innerligheten is the debut album of Daniel Carlsson on Saxophone and Emma Reid on violin. Carlsson has a background in jazz and classical music and today has a focus on folk music. Reid has a more folk orientated background and started to play the violin at the age of three. This debut album contains eleven tunes, mostly original material, two traditional and the Möller/Eden composition Rävhalling. Funny enough one of my favorite albums of 2008 was the debut album by Siri Karlsson which is also a Swedish duo on violin and saxophone. The two ladies behind that band already proofed that the combination of those two instruments gives a whole new dimension to folk tunes and Daniel and Emma show that it’s a combination to stay. The album starts poetically with a dreamy melody called Mari ar moal in combination with a poem by William Blake. It’s the only tune with lyrics, the rest is all instrumental. It doesn’t matter what they play, its passion, intimate and of high quality. Their version of Rävhalling is absolutely beautiful, their own compositions are full of Swedish traditional elements with an occasionally Celtic vibe. In their own work they dare to experiment a little bit more, although I personally find that they stay very close to a ‘traditional’ (more or less) sound. Wonderful music and again a Swedish violin/sax album that might end up in my top ten of best albums of 2010.
© Eelco Schilder

Sinatra Tribute Band & Max Neissendorfer "All the Way"
Jawo Records, 2011

Marco Lobo e Convidados "Bahia"
Jawo Records, 2011

Die.hammerling "Hommage an die verlorenen Sprachen"
Jawo Records, 2011

In the last Folkworld issue[43] I reviewed a bunch of CD’s by the German Jawo label. A young, dynamic label with an own signature. Now three new albums are released and time to tell you about the Sinatra Tribute Band & Max Neissendorfer and their album All the Way. Ok, I admit, I looked a bit strange when a Sinatra tribute album landed on my doormat, but on the other hand I did review stranger things. It contains seventeen songs, once sung by the legendary singer all sung by Neissendorfer and backed by a septet of outstanding musicians. Neissendorfer has a fabulous voice and in combination with the tribute band he brings the old songs in a convincing way. There are probably dozens of bands playing Sinatra songs, but I’m sure that 99% of them isn’t as good as this one. They don’t copy the master, but use their highly professional quality and passion to create a very own sound of the highest quality. This is vocal jazz as it should be and I think this band deserves better than being called a tribute band, truly a strong album.
With Marco Lobo e Convidados we move to Brazil. This percussion wizard is well known for his work with great artists such as Maria Bethania, Sergio Mendes, Billy Cobham and many others. This is such an album that keeps amazing me. From easy going jazz with influences from many Brazilian styles, to nice twists with a more experimental sound. Lobo constantly surprises with new rhythms and sounds on many kind of instruments. He plays with a great flute/ sax player called Márcio Tubino, who surprises me with his free and creative play. Also the piano by Walter Lang plays a prominent role in the sound of this album. A very nice album with rhythmic music with a good taste of Brazil passion.
The third and last one on the Jawo label is by Die.hammerling and is called Hommage an die verlorenen Sprachen. Only a few years ago I reviewed the album ZUG by a duo called Hammerling and accordionist Michaela Dietl. A strong album with a wide variety of styles. The cooperation continues and the band is now called Die.hammerling. I think the Jawo label has a great ear for quality, again this is a great album. In many ways different than the previous two. I find this one the most adventures one with creative original compositions and again a wide variety in sounds. From the Alps to African, Latin, to west, south, north and east and back. Jazz, improvisation, folk, funky and sometimes almost rocking, but all acoustic. This album is a tribute to the disappearing languages, which of course is a theme that gives a lot of inspiration for beautiful music. Listen to Surinam one of the highlights on this album and you know what I mean. What a power, passion and pureness. Dietl with her raw accordion and strong voice, Moßhammer with his melodic trumpet and the fine percussion of Rehling who is like the cherry on the pie. I do hope Die.hammerling keeps playing together for many moons and above all, I hope Jawo records keeps releasing such well produced, good sounding, high quality albums.
© Eelco Schilder

Sonalp "Moutor"
Own label, 2010

Sonalp is a young and very dynamic Swiss folk-rock band and Moutor is their third album. The sextet plays modern music inspired by Alp traditions on typical regional instruments but also some from totally different cultures. Including the Yodel and Alphorn but also strong electronic and rocking drums and guitars. It’s very rarely that I really get impressed by Swiss folk. Somehow many of the albums I get in this genre have a cliché approach, but not this one. From soft cowbells to the metal sound of Cocotier this really works for me. It’s an album full variation with an impressive and perfect blend between old and new styles. Played by a bunch of creative musicians who rock down the Alps and bring a new dimension to the Swiss folk culture.
© Eelco Schilder

Bengalo "Foy"
Etnisk musikklubb, 2010

German CD Review Bengalo was founded ten years ago and this is their third album. The trio exists out of the excellent Anne Fossen, Jovan Pavlovic on accordion and kaval and Christian Haug on guitar. They are joined by several guest musicians on bass, violin, banjo and demes. They originally got inspired by the Romani tradition, but during the years their music has evolved into a very own blend of tradition, jazz and rock. On this new album ten new recordings, newly written and (Greece) traditional. Strong element of the band is the powerful vocals by Fossen, who has a very expressive voice and impresses in both the energetic and peaceful songs. In an instrumental part like Pavli most the band takes the more jazz orientated road with nice accordion solo. Jugo is a real Balkan party song, straight on and very recognizable. It shows the many sides of a group that plays with passion and from the hearth. Sometimes I find the interaction between the instrumentalists not in the right balance. Occasionally the violin sounds like it was recorded separate from the rest of the group, it doesn’t form a unity. Same for the el-bass which somehow doesn’t always form the perfect combination with the other instruments. But that are only a few personal remarks on a very nice album with a marvelous accordion player, a fantastic singer and a good guitar player.
© Eelco Schilder

Ensemble Marâghî "Anwâr"
Felmay, 2010

Ensemble Marâghî is a very young group, started in 2008 in Venice. This is their first album, a careful step into the world of Persian/Ottoman music. The ensemble exists out of three musicians on instruments such as the ney, Ud, dâyre, zarb and bendir. Percussion, flute and string form the main ingredients for their interpretation of the ancient music. The trio is joined by singer and lute player Sepideh Raissadat, she is one of the leading voices of Persian music of this moment. The band takes their music very seriously and dives deep into its historical context. This strong debut album shows three musicians who have an ear for the subtle patterns of the ancient compositions and a singer who impresses with her deep, emotional voice. The result is a peaceful album with intense music of high professional quality. They are storytellers who keep the richness of the (Persian) tradition alive in an authentic way.
© Eelco Schilder

Maramme "Terre senz aqua"
Musica novantiqua, 2009

Andrea Capezzuoli & Francesco Nastasi
"Per fare legria ai siuri de Milan"
Folkclub Ethnosuoni, 2010

Pratola Folk "È n’ammuina"
Italian World Music, 2010

Three very different Italian music albums, three groups, three different styles. First Maramme, a Italian/German band with seven musicians/singers. They play newly written songs with male and female vocals, flute, strings and percussion. The compositions of the band are very nice and the musicians have enough quality to create some wonderful music. But somehow it misses the power of the real Italian folk, it’s more Italian theatre music, storytelling songs with gentle music which is occasionally a bit to decent to be honest. I get the feeling, and maybe I got this totally wrong, that every note is composed and the music was created in the head instead of the hearth. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well played, beautiful atmosphere but it feels like Hundreds of ideas and influences are pushed together and create a well played kind of Italian folk-musical. But please, do listen to their music and form your own opinion as it might just be the style that makes you love Italian music and is your starting point for discovering the richness of the Italian tradition.
Real Italian tradition comes from Capezzuoli and Nastasi, two musicians from the Northern part of Italy and on this new album they reunite a duo that for a long time was a often seen combination of celebrations. These two musicians bring back the sound of the musa and piffero together in a beautiful and professional way. Nineteen traditional tunes and songs from North Italy are brought in a pure way. With a few additional vocals, this is a must for lovers of the Piffero and musa sound. Be prepared to hear some beautiful drone music with dancing melodies, sharp and fresh sounding. Beautiful ending with an additional accordion in Valzer in do which gives the music a richer sound. An intriguing album with unique and authentic music played by great musicians.
Pratola folk is almost an orchestra with besides the ten musicians from the band, eleven guest-musicians playing along. Their album è n’ammuina is a new one in the long history of the band which was founded in 1974 by Orlando Marano who is still one of the leading members of the band. This album contains thirteen songs and dances, almost all composed by Marano. Besides the many sides of the Italian folk there is some Balkan influence as well. Pratola folk presents a great energetic sound which is full of live and passion. It is sparkling music with a diversity of instruments, voices, rhythms and so on. In his compositions Marano goes from one side of Italy to the other and mixes the hotness of the southern music with the sometimes Celtic influenced music of the North. I like the bit unpolished, sometimes messy recordings which breath the temperament of the real Italian musician who celebrates and plays until far past midnight.
© Eelco Schilder

Gregor Huebner "El violin Latino"
Peregrina Music, 2010

Gregor Huebner always had a passion for Latin music. He has been part of Tango groups, jazz formations and so much more. His excellent violin play can be heard on many albums, including solo projects. On this new solo output he focuses on the Latin music only. Six Cuban, three tango and four Brazilian styled recordings are the result of his passionate search for music he loves. For all three styles he works with a different backing band. Great how he shows the differences and similarities in the styles. Huebner shows his quality as a great violinist with feeling for the music. His style is very open and his jazzy and light approach makes this music suitable for a big audience. A friendly album by a professional artist.
© Eelco Schilder

Fürstenecker Nyckelharpa Consort "Carpe Harpam"
Tongång, 2010

Daniel Pettersson "Oxögon"
Tongång, 2010

Dalsland Spelmansförbund "Drivved"
Vildsint Records, 2010

In this review a couple of albums with the nyckelharpa as main instrument. The first one is by Fürstenecker Nyckelharpa Consort and is called Carpe harpam. This album is the result of a yearly gathering of nyckelharpa players from several European countries. This album is the recording of their final concert in 2009 and shows a side of the instrument that hardly ever can be heard. A collection of tracks from 16th and 17th century Italian, Swedish polskan, Ravel’s Bolero, Metallica and some original compositions by known Nyckelharpa players such as the Belgian Didier François. What a pity that we don’t have more of these orchestra’s who play other styles than the Swedish tradition only. This really is a beautiful album with a surprising own sound and a classical approach. This album is a celebration of nyckelharpa music at its best, I want more! More viola da gamba pieces played by the nyckelharpa, more 16-18th century music and more Metallica! This album shows how special this instrument is and that it really needs to be in the spotlight. Hopefully new projects will come out of this one.
Daniel Pettersson is a nyckelharpa player from Sweden and takes it the more traditional Swedish way. Together with violinist Maria Jonssons he plays twenty traditional pieces on his contrabass-, silverbas- and moraharpa. Again a wonderful new album, well played, pure and authentic. I like the three different sounds of his instruments who all three have their own character and give a different feeling to the music. Pettersson is a gifted player who is capable of putting his heart and soul in his play. He can do happy dances and sad tunes and I believe him. A wonderful solo output which is another small pearl in my collection.
The third one is by the Dalsland Spelmansförbund and in this Swedish group the nyckelharpa is part of a bigger line up including thirteen violins, guitars, clarinet and bass. The nyckelharpa is played by Alban Faust who impressed me with his former solo album Naken. He is the leading men behind this orchestra which plays traditional tunes from the region and a few original Faust compositions. Besides his marvelous nyckelharpa play, it’s the typical Swedish violin group sounds that makes this album a nice folk document. The arrangements are uncomplicated and the full sound overwhelms occasionally and invites for dancing. Great to hear three albums with nyckelharpa with three totally different sounds, styles and atmospheres. It proofs one thing; the nyckelharpa is alive!
© Eelco Schilder

Jaune Toujours & Mec Yek "RE: plugged"
ChouxBroken Silence, 2010

Two Belgian based bands, not with new material but with remixes by several DJ’s from all over the world. First the band Jaune Toujours, I think I got almost all their albums and although they always deliver quality, the last one wasn’t as surprising as their earlier output. This time they let some DJ’s going wild on their numbers and that works really well. Their enthusiastic played music is perfect for dancing beats and electronic additions. It’s a kind of natural marriage that makes their music richer and brings out a new side of their music. Besides the eight Jaune Toujours tracks this album also contains five remixes of Mec Yek songs, a Balkan orientated band. Their debut album was nice, but messy and to be honest, in many of the remixes the production is better than on their album. Nice Balkan beats, sharp vocals and of course the mandatory SKA remix (yawn). A nice danceable album with effective remixes.
© Eelco Schilder

Svjata Vatra "Zillja zelenen’ke"
Own label, 2010

The third release by the Estonian-Ukrainian band Svjata Vatra is a double release with an audio CD and a Live DVD. After their surprising debut album and strong second CD, Svjata Vatra develops more and more into a professional band with an international sound. Their music is a more and more balanced mix between ethnic, brass and rock. The musicians get their inspiration from their home country and beyond. Influences from the Balkan are often heard. A song often ends or starts with an up-tempo danceable melody and the total atmosphere is much lighter than on their first album. Svjata Vatra is now an uncomplicated festival-proof band for international stages. The DVD gives you an idea of what you might expect when you get this band to your country and I do think it’s about time we see them on some Western-European festivals this summer.
© Eelco Schilder

Daniel Kahn & the Painted Bird "Lost causes"
Oriente Music, 2011

Daniel Kahn was born in Detroit and since five years he lives in Berlin where he involved in several folk and klezmer projects. I already wrote shortly about his multi talents in my review of the earlier album he recorded with Painted bird. I liked their creative, uncomplicated way of making music and consider Partisans & parasites as being a very nice album. But now, a new one called Lost causes and Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird shows a tremendous step forward and recorded a fabulous album. Their combination of Yiddish traditional, partly sung in Yiddish and partly sung in English, and new compositions by Kahn is absolutely a golden combination. Without sounding depressed or desperate they sing and play a critical view on our world, its history and presence. Songs about the working people, political protest songs and the beautiful ballad Sunday after the war which is one of the best anti-war songs I know. I like it that parts of the songs are in English, it makes the music much more accessible for a wider audience so they understand the often poetic way of reflecting on the hard Yiddish life. As a child I grew up with Zupfeigenhansel’s album Jiddische Lieder and still consider that as a milestone album in Yiddish music. This Lost causes sounds completely different, but has the same energy and almost the same impact. Two songs on this new album are also on the Jiddische Lieder album. The beautiful vocals/banjo English version of Dem milners trern and their own version of Arbetslozer marsh. They don’t copy, they create a new song with the same impact in a different style. Kahn and painted bird even manage to let Lili marleyn sounds like new. With this album Daniel Kahn & painted bird show their unique talent and the fact that they are not afraid of walking new routes. I absolutely love their way of bringing the beautiful old songs in a open minded, almost relax way. Add the strong new compositions by Kahn to this and you won’t be surprised to find this album in my top 10 of best albums released in 2010 as you can see somewhere else in this FolkWorld issue.[44]
© Eelco Schilder

Kirsten Bråten Berg "Songen"
Heilo, 2010

Kirsten Bråten Berg is probably one of the best known Norwegian folk singers (and a silver smith as well). For over three decades her recordings found their way to an (international) audience. She was a member of the Slinkombas group and besides solo work she can be heard on albums by other Norwegian musicians such as Annbjørg Lien, who is one of the musicians on this new album. Bråten Berg has often been awarded for her music and this new album shows why she is one of Norwegians leading folk singers. Songen is a collection of traditional songs that, according to Bråten Berg, must be sung by any new generation. With recording them she makes sure they are kept alive in a wonderful way. With some of Norwegians finest (folk) musicians she sings fifteen essential songs including known songs such as Blåmann, blåmann bukken min and many other known and lesser known (children) songs. Her warm voice is stronger than ever, the pure arrangements make the songs powerful and hearth warming at the same time. This is a small hour of top Norwegian traditional folk songs sung by a legendary singer backed by acoustic musicians who bring this music into the 21st century and make sure they are not forgotten.
© Eelco Schilder

A Fil de Ciel "Vertigo"
Folkclub Ethnosuoni, 2010

When we are talking about Occitan music, most people wouldn’t know where we were talking about and the ones who do probably think about the French part of the Occitan region. Not very strange as this French part has many groups and musicians who keeps the tradition alive since the seventies. This a fil de ciel comes from Italy and in the North-West part of the country you will find the Italian part of the Occitan region. The culture is still very much alive and has many ambassadors in music, literature and art. This quintet from the Italian part brings a combination of traditional pieces and works from artists such as the famous French Hurdy gurdy artist Chabenat. The combination of ancient and regional instruments with all kinds of (electric) instruments creates a pleasant kind of folk-rock, light-jazz and chanson. Sometimes it reminds me of Fado at other moments I hear typical (Northern) Italian or French influences and even the Celts cross the country. On top of all of this you have the very nice vocals by Rosella Pellerino who somehow reminds me a bit of Rosapaeda in her lesser expressive songs. Vertigo is a very nice album that brings beautiful, melodic music full of sweetness and a bit melancholic.
© Eelco Schilder

Shlomit "Tehora"
Shir, 2010

German CD Review Israeli jazz, that is what singer Shlomit Butbul brings. With an international band she recorded twelve songs written by Amina Figarova with lyrics from herself and a few others. In a flute, bass, piano, percussion setting you already might have guessed that this is not an album with a lot of folk influences. With her wonderful voice Shlomit brings quality vocal jazz in a conventional setting. Sometimes some (more or less) traditional elements pass by like in Chasrat menucha but to be honest, she really is at her best in the more pure jazz ballads like rikud shalom sheli. For those of you who like some nice jazz this might be your album.
© Eelco Schilder

Maja Osojnik Band "Black Waters"
Viennese Soulfood Records, 2010

From Vienna comes the Slovenian singer/musician Maja Osjnik. Besides singing she is also a master at the recorder, but on this new album this awarded artist focuses on her singing. Although you can hear her soprano recorder, electronics and field recordings on several tracks. Don’t expect to get a traditional jazz record. Osojnik shows to be a fantastic composer, musician and a creative mind. She mixes Slovenian folk songs with original work and blend experimental jazz with ethnic and light rock influences in a very natural way. Using electronic added sounds she creates her own universe. Without being explosive music, Osojnik sings in a direct and energetic way. Her unexpected twists, small musical jokes put a smile on my face and in-between I get amazed by the beautiful and authentic music she creates. This Black Waters or Črne vode as the original title sounds. Is a strong new album by an artist with international quality.
© Eelco Schilder

Ensemble Oni Wytars "Mediterraneum"
Sony Music, 2010

Zefiro Torna "O, monde aveugle!"
Home Records, 2010

Two albums with early music (more or less). First the Oni Wytars album which is an international band that plays early music in all its variety for almost thirty years now. In those years they became one of Europe leading early music inspired groups. Their latest work is called Mediterraneum and is a collection of traditional pieces, mostly from the 13th-14th century and older. All of the fifteen compositions come from the Mediterranean countries and are played by an ensemble of international top musicians. On their journey through time and countries the ensemble plays an impressive mixture of known and lesser known tunes and songs from the Italian, Spanish, Ottoman, Greece and many other traditions. From impressive Sufi to wild Italian dances. Each track has its own atmosphere and is full of secrets. Listen and discover wonderful melodies, complicated rhythmic patterns and passionate play on the ancient instruments. With room for improvisation this album reflects an almost mystical time where religion, tradition, culture flourished like never before. An intriguing album for the lovers of early music but also for all of you who like folk and is interested to hear the early influences of modern folk.
The second group is based in Belgium and is called Zefiro Torna and since their start fifteen years ago they amazed listeners with their own interpretation on early music pieces. On this new album they are a sextet and joined by guest musician Liam Fennelly on Kamanche, viola da gamba and Fiddle. In 2005 they won a Belgian price for best classical album of the year. The band is not just another early music consort, but a group of creative minds who dare to look further than the century old music, they give it a very own interpretation and a strong modern sounds. The hundreds of years old songs and tunes are mixed with new compositions by the musicians and others like Brassens Le blazon. Els van Laethem’s beautiful voice plays a central role in the group's music and her compositions for example La gola builds bridges between the old and the new. Zefiro Torna makes early music accessible for a inexperienced audience with real craftsmanship, strong songwriting and an energetic and creative sound.
© Eelco Schilder

Bob Brozman, John McSherry &
Dónal O’Connor "Six Days in Down"
Riverboat Records, 2010

Putting three top musicians in a studio doesn’t automatically mean you will get a quality album. They need to give each other space and respect and their styles should somehow mingle in a natural way. Slide guitarist Bob Brozman, uillean piper John McSherry and violinist John McSherry are all masters on their instruments and thankfully putting these three together results in a fantastic album with eleven Irish tunes and songs arranged by Brozman. With the contribution of singer Stephanie Makem, this is a fresh album with music deeply rooted in the Irish tradition but with a very own approach by these three gentleman. Listen to the amazing sound of the Uillean pipes by former Lunasa member McSherry in combination with the rhythmic Brozman guitar and the virtuoso violin by O’Connor and you will recognize both the tradition and the own identity the musicians add to their music. Both in the solo parts and harmonies, this is top music.
© Eelco Schilder

Harry Payuta & Friends "Zacatecoluca"
Tribal stomp, 2010

Harry Payuta is a sitar, guitar and bass player and together with friends on piano, guitar, percussion and vocals he has recorded fifteen of his new compositions on this Ninth album. Don’t expect to hear some subtle and traditional sitar music. Payuta likes rock and plays his sitar as if he is playing an electric guitar, staccato and not melodic at all. This results in a kind of pop music with a light India vibe, but only because of the recognizable sound of the instrument. Suitable for those who like pop music and is in the mood for an exotic touch. According to my personal taste this has nothing to do with tradition or folk. To many beats, no subtlety in any way. The overkill in sounds destroys my listening pleasure totally.
© Eelco Schilder

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