FolkWorld #76 11/2021

Unequalled Original Repertoire

Multicultural Dynamic Folk Orchestra from Ireland on Tour in Switzerland and Germany 2021.


Artist Video NoCrows @ FROG

NoCrows is a dynamic folk orchestra from the multicultural melting pot of Sligo’s music scene. Formed in 2005, NoCrows’ growing output of original material reflects its diverse musical roots, from Irish traditional to Latin rumba, classical, jazz, rock and Balkan music. Audiences have been astonished by the unequalled width of the band’s original repertoire, from delicate Irish airs to Russian Gypsy mayhem, from Catalan Jota to original songs in many styles with lush string arrangements. The musical mix reflects the folk traditions of the various members but also a lifetime of experience of the various players involved across many genres of music.

NoCrows rejoice in embarking on their first tour of Switzerland and Germany in two years, October/November 2021, this time with a very special guest, Martin Tourish. The accordionist and composer, renowned for his work with Altan and Riverdance to name but two, has become a regular collaborator with NoCrows in recent years since they met up at a festival in Catalunya a few years back. Martin brings even more depth to the band’s orchestral sound, and brings beautiful compositions such as the heartbreaking “Midnight in Siena”, which appeared on NoCrows’ latest release “Escape”, a live album which beautifully captures the eclecticism and spontaneity of NoCrows’ live performances.

Violinist Oleg Ponomarev, the only band member not resident in Sligo, has, for several years now challenged the heady mix that is NoCrows’ trad and folk repertoire with his Russian Gypsy and jazz influenced compositions, something the band members relish. Bassist Eddie Lee, who is well known in Sligo for his curation of Sligo Jazz Project’s annual Festival and Summer School, describes Oleg’s influence: “Oleg writes tunes that challenge and excite everyone, especially the lucky musicians such as us, who get to play them.” Each band member has contributed tunes to the NoCrows repertoire and many new tunes will feature in the upcoming concerts and tour.

Martin Tourish

Artist Video

NoCrows have a history of musical collaborations over the years. Their third album, 'On the Moon', had more than twenty guests including Sharon Shannon, jazz drummer David Lyttle, Greek Oud player Haig Yazdjan and French singer Cali. They have toured around the world, confirming their exhilarating live reputation far beyond Ireland's borders. Audiences in Spain, Belgium and Switzerland as well as UK and Ireland have been enthralled with the sheer energy of the band when performing live, and with this in mind, NoCrows released a new live album in winter 2019. 'Escape' is a combination of fan favourites and new tunes, including collaborations with Lisa Lambe and Martin Tourish, the newest members of the NoCrows-collaborations-club.

In 2019 NoCrows were given the Ravensburg Kupferle Award as “Band of the Year” by the renowned German arts venue and organisation Zehntscheuer.

Line Up for Switzerland and Germany 2021:

Oleg Ponomarev, violin, vocal
Martin Tourish: accordion
Ray Coen: guitar, fiddle, vocal
Anna Houston: cello, mandolin, vocal
Felip Carbonell: guitar, vocal
Eddie Lee: bass, vocal

Photo Credits: (1) NoCrows, (2) Martin Tourish (unknown/website).

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