FolkWorld #50 03/2013

CD & DVD Reviews

Cantodiscanto "Tutto il mondo e paese"
Own, 2012

An Italian band that takes the listener on a musical journey around the Mediterranean (plus a short escape to Ireland!). They have assembled folk songs from countries such as Portugal, Turkey, France, Greece, Spain and Italy, and interpret them in an appealing way, with attractive singing of Guido Sodo and Frida Forlani in diverse languages, plus Faisal Taher for any Arabic verses. The five piece band offer good instrumentation, with guitars, diverse percussion, double bass, and -particularly making a mark on the album - a groovy saxophone giving the music a more modern touch. While the songs sound authentic for each of the traditions, the album still manages to maintain a cohesive feel. I have enjoyed this album.
© Michael Moll

Raiz & Radicanto "Casa"
Area Live, 2012

Another Italian band which takes you on a journey. While hailing (it appears) from Puglia, Raiz & Radicanto's music on this CD have as strong a footing in Portuguese fado as it has in Southern Italian folk. There are also Yiddish and Flamenco influences, and stylistically it goes somewhere between World pop, trad and contemporary folk. Instruments of the band include classical, acoustic, electric and Portuguese guitars, mandolin, drums and percussion and accordion - all this framing the powerful smoky voice of Raiz. I found this highly moving music that will make you listen, music that expresses and awakens strong emotions in the listener...
© Michael Moll

Andrea Capezzuoli e Compagnia "Leandra"
Folk Club Ethnosuoni, 2012

Yet another surprise - it does not take long listening to this CD that one wonders: Is this a French-Canadian band who decided to sing in Italian - or an Italian band playing French-Canadian style music?
It is the latter, an Italian band with a very Quebecois sounding music style. The band has the full French-Canadian folk works - music with strong accordion and fiddle presence, the typical foot percussion, and plenty of counter-singing - just that it's all in Italian language. Some Italian traditional music elements are brought into the mix, for example, the band take some Italian folk songs and reinterpret them with Quebec style music, but there is also some Quebec music in its original form, and some newly written material. This is unusual, but wonderful stuff indeed. I love this album.
© Michael Moll

Les Tireux d'Roches "Ce qu'esse?"
Own label, 2012

This French-Canadian band is another revelation to me. "Ce qu'esse?" is a convincing powerful album with the sound and style that is so typical of the Quebecois trad music scene. The music comes across full of fun and with a fair dose of cheekiness. The band features accordion, guitar, the quintessential feet percussion, violoncello, percussion, as well as a very distinctive addition of saxophone and clarinet. Most of the tracks are songs, often with counter-singing. About half of the material is new, the other traditional.
With its often exciting arrangements, this is a superb melodic and energetic album which is a pleasure to listen to. Despite its shortness (35 mins), the album deserves highest recommendation.
© Michael Moll

Alastair Savage "Secrets from the Kitty"
Woodland Records, 2012

A Scottish instrumental trio on fiddle (Alastair), guitar and piano (Euan Drysdale) and double bass (Iain Crawford). The music is composed by Alastair and generally based on traditional Scottish themes , and there is something about the style of this music which took me a while to get into. But with longer listening, the CD has grown on me. There is something really charming about this music, and I particularly like the tunes with piano which helps to bring the musical themes together.
© Michael Moll

Lau "Race the Loser"
Reveal Records, 2012

The first title of Lau's latest offering starts for a small moment rather cacophonist and noisy, and somehow I found that this set the theme of this album. Certainly the talent of the three top musicians that make up Lau - Aidan O Rourke, Kris Drever and Martin Green - shines through, and most tunes and songs have something in them that I find quite enjoyable. But overall this album is too experimental, too avantgarde and also too dark for my liking. In fact, after first listening I felt that the album feels unfinished (which is certainly not helped either by the very basic unprofessionally looking promo version of the album). After repeated listening I could kind of understand what the trio was trying to achieve, but I still find that this is an odd album which disappoints me.
I have to admit though that I probably didn't get it - other people are impressed, as shown by the fact that the album was nominated for the BBC Folk Awards...
© Michael Moll

Lunds Akademiska Kör "En stjärna gick på Himlen Fran"
Sjelvar, 2011

FolkWorld Xmas

A beautiful CD of Swedish Christmas songs. The album brings together the 50 singers of Lunds Academic Choir with early music ensemble Mare Baltica, Swedish folk flautist Emma Johansson and fiddler Emma Reid which proves to be an excellent and strong combination for this project. With its traditional Swedish songs with Christmas related themes, beautifully interpreted and radiating (also for non Swedish audiences) a warm seasonal atmosphere, this is a wonderful CD for the Christmas period.
© Michael Moll

Mary Dillon "North"
Back Lane Records, 2013

Having been absent from the music scene for the last 15 years, Mary Dillon, former Deanta singer (and sister to now folk household name Cara Dillon) makes with this album a very welcome return. With her beautiful, warm and clear voice Mary's singing goes right to the heart. Mary manages to spellbound her listeners with her interpretation of largely traditional Irish songs (which are mostly in English language). The musical arrangements are skilful and mostly subtle - with guitar and the occasional flute, fiddle or bodhran.
The one song that stands out from the rest is her impressive self-penned "The boatman", a song with a traditional theme and a more contemporary and captivating chorus which reminds me somewhat of some of the strong early material of Katie Melua.
This is a convincing album full of beauty. I will be looking forward to hear any follow-on albums!
© Michael Moll

Maddy Prior with Hannah James and Giles Lewin "3 for Joy"
Park Records, 2012

German CD Review

Maddy Prior website

Legend of the English folk/rock scene Maddy Prior has teamed up on this album with young accordionist and singer Hannah James, and with violinist, singer, multi instrumentalist Giles Lewin, whose collaborations with Maddy go a long way back (e.g. Carnival band in the 80s).
A lot of this album is focussed on a capella three way harmony singing of English trad or trad style songs, all very well crafted. Then there are, which are for me the highlights of the album, a small number of musically arranged songs - the first title of the album is a powerful contemporary version of the song "Lock the Door Larriston", and later comes a lovely chanson style song "An undoing world" with accordion accompaniment. Then there comes another surprise - three Easton European songs. And just when you thought you got the measure of this album, the last number is a border pipe tune, sounding to me quite shrill and certainly somewhat out of place on this album of voices and songs.
So - certainly not a coherent album, with this diversity of styles. Nevertheless a strong one seeing Maddy, Hannah and Giles in very good voices.
© Michael Moll

Oleman "Oleman"
Sjelvar, 2011

An album of traditional Swedish songs and tunes (mainly from the 18th/19th century). The trio Oleman features fiddle/viola (Olof Misgeld), two rowed accordion (Anette Thorsheim), and flutes and, in 5 songs, a pleasant voice (Emma Johansson). The combination fiddle/flute/accordion gives the tunes a very traditional feel, and maybe make the tunes somewhat less accessible for a wider audience than they would have been with an added rhythm instrument. Certainly good quality though.
© Michael Moll

Triller "Ryttaren"
Sjelvar, 2012

An impressive album of Swedish traditional music with contemporary flair. Triller present on this album exciting arrangements on clarinet, fiddle, guitar and sometimes energetic, sometimes groovy percussion. The tunes have this typically Nordic never-ending hypnotic and reflective flair, and appeal in their range between gentle (focussing on two instruments) and very powerful sections with an amazingly full sound. The quartet of Pontus Estling, Sheshti Johansson, Erik Ronström and Jens Linell bridge in their music traditional Swedish with Jazz and contemporary folk and a fair dose of improvisation. This is seductive stuff – I love it!
© Michael Moll

Mick Mcauley, Winifred Horan, Colm O Caoimh
"Sailing back to you"
Own label, 2012

Solas' ace players Mick McAuley (accordion, whistles, guitars, keyboards, percussion, vocals) and Winifred Horan (fiddle and vocals) have teamed up in this trio with young talented guitarist Colm O Caoimh. The result is as good as you would hope for with this cast – this is top quality contemporary acoustic Irish folk. The album features superb musicianship and great vocals. With largely traditional material, the music is overall more on the gentle side. Convincingly beautiful.
© Michael Moll

Various Artists "The Music and Song
of the Great Tapestry of Scotland"
Greentrax, 2012

German CD Review

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is an art project by Andrew Crummy visualising Scotland's history. To accompany this impressive work, Ian Green has compiled an equally impressive album reflecting Scotland's story in music, a total of 40 songs based on 40 of the tapestry's panels: Starting with Ring of Brodgar in Orkney (music: The Gordon Gunn Band's “Orkney”)and Columba at Iona (a hymn by the Monks of Pluscarden Abbey), the music story covers battles (e.g. Bannockburn by Skydance with Alasdair Fraser), attempts for a Scottish trading colony (Dreams of Darien by the Paul McKenna Band), founding the Glenlivet Distillery (Old Minmore by Robin Laing), formation of trades union (Hamish Imlach If it wisnae for the Union), First and Second World Wars (Eric Bogle's NO Man's land and Battlefield Band's The Beaches of St Valery), right through to the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 (Sheena Wellington 's A Man's a Man for A That).
This is an impressive collection of music, from the Greentrax catalogue as well as from other artists, featuring many of the top names in Scottish music – some of them legends no longer with us, others still fresh on the scene. While the majority of the songs are Scottish trad and folk music (including Gaelic songs), there are a few numbers that fall out of the flow – most notably “The Hebrides Overture Op. 26” (which caused my wife asking “Have you changed the music to Classic FM?”); featured are also a couple of songs from comedians, as well as The Proclaimers to represent Scottish pop music.
An impressive themed album of the history of Scotland – another one Ian Green can be proud of!
© Michael Moll

Tre Martelli "Cante r Paroli"
Felmay, 2012

Traditional Italian band Tre Martelli dedicates this album to poet Giovanni Rapetti. The band has long appreciated his poems, and has, over the years, put music to a number of them. With this album they finally achieved a long held ambition to put a whole album of music of Rapetti's poems together, coincidentally in the same year as the poet's 90th birthday.
Musically, the album features hurdy gurdy, accordion, Italian pipes, flutes, fiddle and guitar. Some of this may sound at times somewhat shrill, but has high quality throughout. Half of the songs are sung by Tre Martelli's Vincenzo Marchelli; the others are distributes amongst 6 other singers, giving the album a welcome variation of vocals. Overall this is – for Italian folk music – quite serious sounding music, yet close to traditional Italian sounds. A special homage to this poet.
© Michael Moll

Kathryn Tickell "Northumbrian Voices"
Park Records, 2012

The story behind this project is that Northumbrian's best known folk musician, Kathryn Tickell, had collected over the years a large amount of sound clips of friends and family telling about music, the old ways of life, farming. For a long time she did not know what to do with this collection – until this project came along. From the vast collection, Kathryn picked some of her favourite sound bites and created a show featuring music and words. And the result is fascinating indeed!
The original words from Northumbrian people are spoken, in a very authentic way, by Kathryn's Dad, Mike Tickell. And you can sense from these short sound bites what great characters these people were. I found myself often smiling, sometimes laughing when listening to these anecdotes, whatever these people were talking of – be it the flop of a traditionally brought up musician trying to learn sheet music, the problems around sheep farmers using quad bikes or how wonderful the pubs used to be. There is something very touching, thougth-provoking but also highly entertaining in this.
There is also plenty of top quality music featured, as well as a few songs. The current incarnation of the Kathryn Tickell Band has a very full sound, featuring Kathryn (Northumbrian pipes, fiddle, vocals), Hannah Rickard (fiddle), Patsy Reid (fiddle), Julian Sutton (accordion), Kit Haigh (guitar). Much of the spoken word is also subtly backed by fiddle playing. The double album is a live recording from Cecil Sharp House in London.
The only niggle I have with these CDs is that they do not play in my main stereo which does not recognise them - which is a real shame. Hopefully this is only a one-off with my review set of CDs.
A great concept which Kathryn Tickell and her band really managed to pull off, to turn into a very unusual, entertaining and thought provoking album. This is such a success of an ambitious project that this double CD simply HAS to feature in my best albums of 2012.
© Michael Moll

"The Lock In: Featuring The Demon Barbers" [DVD Video], 2012

English folk band The Demon Barbers[43] join on this Live DVD a mixture of young Morris and hip hop dancers for a special dance show. In a stage setting of a dingy and somewhat rough and seedy bar, the show sees these young people performing a range and sometimes a mix of step dance, hip hop and contemporary dances, and traditional morris dancing. You may find a step dancing waitress, boys wanting to impress with their hip hop dances or a trad pub session within this bar setting. This all to music (including a couple of songs) from the Demon Barbers, with some hip hop mouth percussion and other elements mixed in.
Now I have to admit, I am not an expert or a fan of neither Morris nor Hip Hop dancing. I can see that there is a lot of talent in these dancers, but overall the show is not my cup of tea. It does take me until the last couple of numbers on the DVD, with a much more energetic medley of music, to get into this show. This is though an interesting project which no doubt will inspire and entertain its audiences.
© Michael Moll

Comas "Charge"
Appel Rekords, 2012

For a decade Comas has been together,[32] playing traditional Irish music with members from Ireland, Irish America and mainland Europe. Aidan Burke is an Irish fiddler (with Kevin Burke as cousin).[43] Jackie Moran is an Irish percussionist who became a pillar in the Irish music scene of Chicago.[24] Philip Masure is the well-known Belgian DADGAD guitarist of Orion, Laïs, Ambrozijn and Urban Trad fame, with many a recording under his own name[15][32] and a guest musician.[23][24] Breton flutist Sylvain Barou[49] is a tolerated support only, recently replaced by New Yorker Isaac Alderson (best known from the Eileen Ivers Band[35] and the Runa trio[45]), who plays a pleasing flute and some gorgeous uilleann pipes.
"Charge" is the band's long awaited second album, aptly named because the Gaelic comas translates as power. This heavy-duty receptacle is firmly rooted in traditional Irish music, but open to anything that comes along the way. The original groove and energy is still there, though the band's sound is more mature. The instrumental sets are a mix of traditional and contemporary tunes (listen to the opening set ft. the traditional "Joe Toms Reel", "The Brocca" penned by Liz Carroll, and Brian Finnegan's "The Donegal Lass"). There are lots of tunes from Aidan, Isaac, Philip and Jackie themselves. A highlight is their rendition of the beautiful traditional air "Cape Clear".
There is the Irish song "Bold Donnelly" (perhaps you know it from Irish trad band Dervish) and the old Flemish song "Het Luiaardsgild" (The Guild of Sloths): Ik ben van het luiaards gild en van de bedelklerken, die liever spelen en drinken gaan dan dat ze zouden werken. Sparen ligt niet in mijnen aard, geld is om uit te geven. (I am of the guild of sloths and of the mendicants, who prefer to play and drink than they would work. Saving is not in my nature, money is meant to be spent.) Every cent spent for this record is certainly worth your while.
© Walkin' T:-)M

Matheu Watson "Dunrobin Place"
Own label, 2012

You could recently hear his whistle on the soundtrack of the "Brave" animation movie. Scottish multi-instrumentalist Matheu Watson[44] is Highland bred and born, though now residing in Edinburgh. "Dunrobin Place" is the culmination of a couple of years playing with the likes of Julie Fowlis or Fred Morrison. The Best Up and Coming Artist from the Scots Trad Music Awards 2011 is still in his early 20s. There is only one musician on the album, Matheu is playing more than 20 different instruments himself: mainly fiddle and guitar, but also banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, ukulele and oud, as well as pastor organ, whistle and flute. Most of the tunes have been written by Matheu, with some traditional and recently composed (by Alasdair White, Anna-Wendy Stevenson, Simon Bradley etc.) tunes thrown in for good measure.
Have a listen, you probably won't regret it!
© Walkin' T:-)M

Joy Dunlop "Faileasan - Reflections"
Sradag Music, 2013

Joy Dunlop is a Gaelic singer based in Glasgow, though originally from Argyll on the west coast of Scotland. The follow-up to her debut album "Dùsgadh" (Awakening)[43] is her own reflection on the Gaelic song tradition she grew up with in rural Argyll which is largely unknown outside the area. I feel that often Argyll is a forgotten area, Joy muses, people know about the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, but maybe don’t realise that Argyll has an exceptionally rich Gaelic cultural heritage. I decided to research traditional Gaelic material from rural Argyll communities, and new songs that were created from local poetry to reflect the cultural heritage of the area. "Faileasan - Reflections" is a showcase of Gaelic music and song in a contemporary style, sparsely arranged (featured artists are Lorne MacDougall on pipes and whistles,[44] Aidan O'Rourke on fiddle,[39] Capercaillie's Donald Shaw on piano and accordion and Karen Matheson on backing vocals[36]), sung with much passion on Joy's side. The bilingual booklet has all song lyrics and translations. The songs include traditional ballads such as "Cumha Chailein Ghlinn Iubhair" (Lament for Colin Campbell; the story of his murder is related in R.L. Stevenson's famous novel "Kidnapped"), poems such as "An Roghainn" (The Choice) by Sorley Maclean set to music by Donald Shaw, as well as waulking songs and puirt à beul (mouth music).
What I found in the lyrics of "Eilean Luinn" (Isle of Luing) is true for the album as a whole: Tha iomadh màise air an àit', 's tha daoine càirdeil ann a' fuireach ... There are numerous beauties at this place and friendly people live there ...
© Walkin' T:-)M

Pol Mac Adaim "My Name is Troy Davis"
Jump Up, 2012

Troy Davis had been executed in the US in 2011, though claiming his innocence for twenty years. His story is one of the issues of Northern Irish singer-songwriter Pol Mac Adaim.[25] I was born in Belfast, he says, in the heart of the war often referred to as 'The Troubles'. I began playing Irish traditional music at the age of 9 and through the years I learned to play in a wide range of genres, I've played on around 40 albums, mainly as a studio session musician, but I have also recorded three solo albums. I write songs mainly about situations I've been involved in at home or abroad. Much of my writing has been influenced by the war in Ireland, or similar conflicts around the world.
Pol plays guitar, whistles, uilleann pipes and harmonicas on his fourth solo album. It kicks off with David Rovics's great song about the "St. Patrick's Battaillon",[44] Irishmen deserting the US Army and taking sides with the Mexicans in the war of 1846-48. A song that celebrates International Solidarity, which is very dear to Pol. The track list includes "Ninety miles from Dublin", Christy Moore's tribute to the hungerstrikers in Northern Ireland in the late 70s,[23] and Eamon O'Doherty's "Joe McCann" about the shot IRA volunteer. There are topical songs written by Pol leading from the H-Blocks to Maghaberry, Belfast to Palestine. The well-known ballad "Wild Mountain Thyme" by Belfast's William McPeake strikes a different chord then. So is the album's ending, "Butterflies," non-political on the surface, with hope to end all strife and argument: Would you like to fly away with me for a year and a day? Our troubles we’ll cast to one side ...
© Walkin' T:-)M

Ramà "Mascharias"
FolkClub Ethnosuoni, 2012

This is the second album of Simone Lombardo's group Ramà, retelling how Esteve outsmarts an evil witch, that put a spell (mascherias) on the land of Occitania, thus rescuing Occitan culture from falling into oblivion. The concept album in Occitan language is the second part of a trilogy depicting the life of man. This is adolescence - bleak, questioning, belligerent - sandwiched into the joy and innocence of childhood (the first album of the trilogy) and the maturity and serenity of the forthcoming third album. (We are looking forward to it!) Musically it is classic folk rock with hurdy-gurdy, pipes, flutes, fiddle, accordion, guitar, brass and percussion. Vocalist Erica Molineris does a great job, and despite the frantic grooves "Mascharias" is quite cinematic. The illustrated booklet is featuring the lyrics and excerpts from the tall tale.
© Walkin' T:-)M

"Peggy Seeger Teaches Guitar Accompaniment for
Folk Songs, Ballads and Originals" [DVD Video]
Homespun Tapes, 2012

Peggy Seeger,[31] half-sister to Pete Seeger,[39] sister to Mike Seeger,[40] musical and matrimonial partner to the late Ewan MacColl[35][37] for more than 30 years, had been an influential character in the 1950s/60s folk music revival - and perhaps still is. You can learn a lot from her, for sure. This DVD video teaches - mainly on a more subconscious level - guitar accompaniment for folk songs, both traditional ballads and contemporary originals. The video is kicking off with Peggy singing and playing "Newlyn Town" (recorded by herself on "Bring Me Home", for example).[35] Peggy is in conversation with Homespun director and guitarist Happy Traum,[32] explaining that she looks to herself as an accompanist for her singing rather than a guitarist. Her guitar is tuned down a half-tone, it sounds more lively she feels.
Lessons are starting with the Peggy Seeger right hand strum, her comfort zone and Carter style picking. She addresses a lot of techniques to enhance your singing (very good the split-screen for left and right hand), supplies tipps and tricks, and tells stories from a 50 years musical career. Happy Traum is explaining, commenting´and discussing the issues. Along the way the listener is treated to British ballads such as "Hangman" (recorded by Peggy on both the "Love Call Me Home" [31] and "Three Score and Ten" album[33]) and American folk songs such as "Wagoner's Lad" (featured on the above-mentioned "Bring Me Home"[35]). Peggy performs Ewan MacColl's "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," his great love song for her, the way it was originally meant to be played - probably as one of the few who do so.
© Walkin' T:-)M

The Shee "Murmurations"
Own label, 2012

Scottish all-female band The Shee,[38][44] featuring Lillias Kinsman-Blake on flute, Shona Mooney on fiddle, Rachel Newton on harp, Olivia Ross on fiddle, Laura-Beth Salter on mandolin and Amy Thatcher on accordion, comes up with their third album, a musical blend of Celtic and American folk music, with many songs and tunes written by themselves. The Shee have three gorgeous vocalists, the playing is tight and elaborate. The journey goes through little-known territory (for me at last): traditional songs such as "Down in the Broom" and the Child ballad "Three Knights" alongside original pieces, some instrumental music thrown in for good measure. At the album's end we steer into more familar waters: I heard Jerry Holland's "Musical Chisholm Household" played by Canadian fiddler Jennifer Roland,[19] "An Till Mise Chaoidh" is a well-known song from the Island of Lewis.[20]
The Shee emphasize the interaction between the group and the way our music draws heavily on our individual influences while maintaining a collective sound. This is illustrated through the murmuration of starlings. Thus, every single album cover is designed and individually illustrated by graphic designer Lillias Kinsman-Blake with starlings flying, giving the owner a completely unique piece of artwork. Every single album cover has been individually illustrated to represent the endlessly evolving flight patterns of the Starlings. We wanted to give people something unique and personal that couldn't be experienced from simply downloading the music. Well said!!!
© Walkin' T:-)M

Eamonn Cotter "The Knotted Chord"
Own label, 2012

Co. Clare in the west of Ireland is not really famous for many flute players, it's mostly a fiddle and concertina country. I recall Micho Russell,[40] Peter O’Loughlin,[24] Brid O’Donohue,[32] and Garry Shannon.[33] The tip of the iceberg. A notable exception is Eamonn Cotter from Balleen, Kilmaley, who plays with the Shaskeen Ceili Band and is running his own flute workshop. Eamonn has been involved in many recordings over the past decades, his last solo album was recorded in 1996. So it was about time for another one.
"The Knotted Chord" is a collection of traditional tunes, including the song airs "Aisling Gheal" and "The Mountain Streams Where the Moorcocks Crow" (the latter taken from the singing of Paddy Tunney),[25] with some new ones thrown in for good measure, e.g. Liz Carroll’s reel "The Ronan Boys" and hornpipe "The Spy Czar".[32] The title track is also known as "Junior Crehan's Favorite" and had been composed by the well-known Clare fiddler.[42] "The Balleen Jig" and "The Steinway Queen" have been composed by Eamonn himself. Sister Geraldine on piano and Garry O'Briain on guitar put some colour to the tune sets, as do the occasional dots of accordionist Charlie Harris and fiddler Maeve Donnelly.[29] Eamonn's daughters Gráinne and Sadhbh on their fiddles contribute to a string arrangement of the descriptive piece "Nóra Críonna".
I was talking a lot about fiddles here, but it is a flute album for sure. Eamonn has an articulated and melodic style with little ornamentation. When I play flute I think fiddle, he says. When you're surrounded by fiddle players, your style is influenced more by fiddle playing. That's where the melodic influence comes into it, the phrasing, the lack of punctuation, and more legato, because that's the music I grew up with.
© Walkin' T:-)M

Métis Fiddler Quartet "NorthWest Voyage Nord Quest"
Own label, 2012

The Métis are one of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada who trace their descent to mixed First Nations and European heritage. Fiddles were introduced in the early 19th century by Scottish and French fur traders. The tunes coming from the same pool as old time fiddle music, the Métis fiddle style is distinguished by the percussive use of the bow. Notable Métis-style fiddle players include Sierra Noble,[37] Calvin Vollrath,[25][27] and Oh My Darling's Rosalyn Dennett.[46][49]
The Métis Fiddler Quartet with Métis roots in Winnipeg and based in Toronto is a family ensemble featuring siblings Alyssa, Conlin, Nicholas and Danton Delbaere-Sawchuk on violin, viola, cello and guitar. Their debut album "NorthWest Voyage Nord Quest" features many tunes learned from the playing of their mentor Lawrence 'Teddy Boy' Houle, and compositions from Métis fiddler James and Walter Flett. "Les Disputeuses" turns out to be the well-known reel "Growling Old Man, Grumbling Old Woman," "La Grande Gigue Simple" is an old French tune related to the "Red River Jig" (immediately followed here). There's also the classic "Lord MacDonald's Reel" and Reg Bouvette's "Teardrop Waltz". They are all classically trained, with hints of Beethoven and the Beatles, and put their one and only mark on Canadian old time music and the aboriginal fiddle tradition.
© Walkin' T:-)M

Annalivia "The Same Way Down"
Own label, 2012

Having just reviewed Flynn Cohen's Celtic guitar album "Dead String Rhythm" from 2002,[49] here's his latest endeavour, the Celtic trad group Annalivia, named after James Joyce's personification of Dublin's River Liffey. The Boston based band is also featuring Liz Simmons (vocals, guitar), Mariel Vandersteel (fiddle)[48] and Emerald Rae (fiddle). Flynn himself is singing and playing guitar, mandolin and the Indian shruti box. Some five-string banjo and double-bass are thrown in for good measure. The band's second album is a mix of vibrant dance tunes and soulful folk songs. The highlight is to be already found at the beginning, a jazzy rendition of the classic ballad "False Sir John" taken from folk singer Jean Ritchie. However, Liz was fooling around with the tune and turning it from a major to a minor key. The songs also include Liz's "Restless for Awhile" featuring Crooked Still's Aoife O'Donovan on vocals, and the ancient "Turtle Dove" which Peter Bellamy already sung[38] and is to be found in the Deacon collection.[24] The tune sets mix Celtic and American folk music. For example, track #2 kicks off with Emerald Rae's "So Long Old Friend," the twin fiddles are neither belonging to the Old World nor Appalachia. Then Flynn Cohen picks his way through his own "Fine Apron," updating American old-time music, and eventually the entire band (supported by banjo and bass) is grooving through the Irish "New Mown Meadow" reel. This is highly original, yet deeply rooted in the tradition, well, traditions of Ireland and Scotland, Appalachia and Cape Breton.
© Walkin' T:-)M

Drum and Folk "Hol folk hol nem..."
Folkbeats, 2011

A Köztársaság Bandája "Elhúzza azt sejeha!"
Folkbeats, 2011

Apnoe "Fordulo"
Illangó "e.g.y"
Őškestar "Balkan Beasts"
Tarsoly "Szombaton este"

Folk music from Hungary,[24][49] ok, you have lots of these middle-of-the-road gypsy bands, and then there's Márta Sebestyén and Muszikas.[42] What else ...? The FolkBeats label, who also hosted the Folkbeats Festival and competition for some time to promote young bands (, presents fresh Hungarian sounds. Their Hungarian folk and world music series features nine albums to date.

Orsolya Tóth (vocals), Dániel Keller (fiddle), Martin Kristóf (acoustic and electric guitars), Tamás Korb (bass guitar), Mátyás Szabó (mandolin, flute), Máté Kállai (percussion, harmonica) and Balázs Kovács (beatbox, i.e. electronic drum pad) got together in 2010 in Kecskemét right in the middle of Hungary. Their material includes traditional Hungarian music; it is reported that the band is inciting their audiences into traditional dances at their concerts. Though Drum and Folk are more into the folk rock direction on their debut album "Hol Folk, Hol Nem". The traditional songs and tunes are updated with jazz, blues, rock, funk and the occasional reggae, while avoiding too fashionable world beat sounds. (Thank God, I'd say!)

A Köztársaság Bandája (aka The Band of the Republic) as well plays folk rock and world music based on traditional Hungarian music. They have developed an unrivalled sound, reinterpreting folk music for a young urban audience which is both cool and exciting. The band has been also formed in 2010, this time from artists from Bonyhád in south Hungary and San Francisco, California: Veronika Czupi (vocals), Erik Mischl (fiddle), Máté Szabo (fiddle), Gergely Lipics (fiddle), Tamás Nier (viola, double bass), Alfréd Kiss (cimbalom), Aron Czupi (drums), András Bergics (double bass, lute, bagpipes).

Both albums are highly recommended. Have also a look into the entire FolkBeats catalogue! The CDs can be purchased directly from Folkbeats, or from the online shop
© Walkin' T:-)M

Ralf Weihrauch Trio "Green Break"
Blue Bowl, 2012

German CD Review

After several solo albums, German accordionist Ralf Weihrauch[38] teams up with singer Beate Rupietta and fiddler Jonas Liesenfeld. The songs are generally from the English tradition: "Farewell Lovely Nancy" (recorded by Boys of the Lough),[23] "Handweaver and the Factory Maid" (in 5/4 time),[46] but also the band's final concert encore, "Ride On" by Jimmy McCarthy, and the sacred harp tune "Idumea". There is no guitar in sight, but various other guest musicians add colour. Ray Cooper (ex Oyster Band)[42] is playing cello and harmonium on "Lyke Wake Dirge" (aka "If My Love Loves Me" on the Tabor/Oyster album).[46] Flutist Sarah Allen (Flook)[31] supports the reel set "Molly Rankin's / Macarthur's Road / The Kitchenpiper," which is turned into a jazzy and rocking exercise. The medley "Back and Side / Three Around Three" is a reggae, and clarinet and tuba put "Lady Mary Hayes Scotch Measure"[43] into an east European context. As always, Ralf Weihrauch included a piece of his own; "Graeme McDowell’s Jig" (following the song "Arthur McBride") is dedicated to the northern Irish golf player.
© Walkin' T:-)M

Patrick D'Arcy "Wallop the Spot"
Own label, 2012

Patrick D'Arcy is a born and bred Dubliner who settled in sunny Los Angeles, California, where he plays and teaches the uilleann pipes - nowadays even online @ He has appeared on numerous albums throughout the past two decades,[47] and lately featured on the soundtrack of the Hollywood blockbuster "Snow White and the Huntsman". "Wallop the Spot" is a selection of more or less familiar reels and jigs, such as the title track that already can be found in the O'Neill collection. Patrick's two main instruments here are a pipes set in concert pitch D (by Koehler & Quinn) and a flat set in B (Geoff Wooff), with a fling, "An Buachaill Dreóite" (a specific dance though also in 6/8 jig time), played on a C whistle thrown in for good measure. There's a couple of song airs, "Green Fields of America" and "My Bonny Blue Eyed Lassie," from the singing of Paddy Tunney and Elizabeth Cronin, respectively, performed on the pipes, and "An Raibh tú ag an gCarraig" on the low whistle, as well as a medley of Carolan's "Sí Beag Sí Mór" and Ruairí Dall Ó Catháin's "Tabhair Dom Do Lámh". The album closes with the song air "The Whistling Thief" (from the singing of Seamus Ennis) and the famous slip jig "The Rocky Road To Dublin," on B whistle and B pipes, respectively.
For uilleann pipe connoiseurs this is a splendid addition to their record collection, as is for traditional Irish music fans in general.
© Walkin' T:-)M

Various Artists "Celebrating Subversion -
The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow" [2 CDs]
Fuse Records, 2012

German CD Review

According to veteran singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson,[46] The Anti-Capitalist Roadshow is opposed to the ideologically driven austerity programme imposed by this millionaire government on all but the elite and in particular on the poor, vulnerable and disabled. The collective of 10 British singer-songwriters and 1 magician, featuring Frankie Armstrong,[44] Robb Johnson,[46] Reem Kelani,[42] Janet Russell,[38] Peggy Seeger,[50] form the musical part of the Occupy movement. The angry and the satirical - including original songs, as well as the American pre-WW1 anti-war song "I Didn't Raise My Son To Be A Soldier," Brecht/Eisler's "To My Countrymen / Proletarian Lullaby" (as Dave Van Ronk and Frankie Armstrong did), the English version of east German singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann's "Ermutigung" (i.e. encouragement) and a Tunisian migration anthem - celebrate subversion and give hope and heart and a smile or two. This makes these thirty tracks on two CDs a document of living history and a weapon in a political fight too.
© Walkin' T:-)M

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