Issue 16 10/2000

FolkWorld CD Reviews


Yann-Fañch Perroches & Fañch Landreau "daou-ha-daou"
Keltia Musique; KMCD111; 2000; Playing time: 49.00 min
Two masters of Breton music play on this album for 49 mintues just on fiddle and accordion. The result is wonderful; the two Bretons have the skill to get the most out of the magic of distinctive Breton music. Playing a mixture of traditional and self composed numbers, the music sounds always very Breton, and never gets boring. And who are these two skilled musicians? Well if you hear that they have been together in the legendary Skolvan band, having come back together for this recording, then the high quality of the album is no real surprise.
And there is even a bonus to the brill music - musicians can find the tablatures and scores of the tunes on the CD Rom part of the disc.
Homepage of Yann-Fañch; Keltia Musique
Michael Moll

Ansgar Dälken "Madeleine"
Acoustic Music; 319.1218.2; 2000; Playing time: 50.50 min
This is the second album of the German guitarist Ansgar Dälken, and as its predecessor, it is highly enjoyable listening. In his composititions, he takes the listener on journeys, the acoustic guitar guides into beautiful dream worlds. The compostitions have a lot of influences, from both diverse places in the world and diverse music styles; yet the overall is one of peaceful and harmonic melodies. To add some different flavour to the guitar, Ansgar Dälken has invited some guest musicians, adding with Uilleann Pipes/Low Whistle/Bouzouki (Jens Kommnick) a traddy, with sax, bass and percussion a more groovy feeling.
Lovely music for a quiet evening with a glass of wine, well worth to listen to.
Ansgar Dälken's homepage, Acoustic Music
Michael Moll

Une Anche Passe et. al. "Vredesconerten Passendale - Le Grand Troupeau"
Vredesconcerten Passendale; VP 002; 2000; Playing time: 70.50 min
In the Flemish Passendale, one of the big and fatal fights of the First Worldwar took place. To keep up the memory of the cruelty of this war and to promote peace, a group of musicians and artists have started some years ago an initiative organising regularly peace concerts. "Le Grand Troupeau" was inspired by the book of Jean Giono, writing about his experiences in the First Worldwar. The musical piece features for a big part traditional melodies from both the French and the Flemish traditions, added by songs of the great French chansonniers like Brel or Brassens; and are devided into five sections, from the time before the war, via the war to the time afterwards with the unforgotten cruel memories.
The piece is interpreted by Une Anche Passe, which is a group featuring a lot of brass instruments (saxes, tuba, euphonium), Clarinettes, Hautbois, Percussion. They are joined by folk music guests Wouter Vandenabele (fiddler of Ambrozijn), Stefaan Smagghe (fiddle), Jean Pierre van Hees (Bagpipes, flutes) and the singers Patrick Riguelle and Koen de Cauter. The music is somewhere between an orchestral piece, traditional music, bigband and French chanson, capturing always the appropriate atmospheres. Recorded live in a church in Passendale, this is a fascinating musical documentation of literature. The listener who knows French can find out a lot about the backgrounds in the well illustrated booklet. Those who are interested in the organisation "Vredesconcerten (peace concerts) Passendale" and also in this CD recording, can have a look for more infos at their homepage.
Michael Moll

Danú "Think before you think"
Shanachie; 78030; 2000; Playing time: 53.53 min
There it is: The second album of Ireland's definitely best young traditional band, Danú. Having since their debut changed their fiddler (from Daire Bracken to Jesse Smith), guitarist (from Timmy Murray to Noel Ryan) and, most significantly, their singer (from Càrthach Mac Craith to Ciarán Ó Gealbháin), Danú's basic concept has not changed at all: Twisting tunes, both fast and furious and calm ones, changing with lovely Irish songs. The music is one of the most exciting and appealing sounds that traditional Irish music has currently on offer.
With Ciarán Ó Gealbháin, Danú have found a brilliant new singer. On the album, he sings three English language Irish ballads, and two in the Irish language, which is a bit of a pity, as he is definitely best at home in the Irish language songs, getting the full magic out of them. While this should not mean that the English songs are bad; they remind me pretty much of the singer Sean Keane, which is surely not the worst person to be compared with. Yet of course Sean Keane's band is far away from the superb quality of Danú.
This album is not at all disappointing; Danú can very well keep up with the very high standard they set themselves with their debut album. "Think before you think" will please their man fans all around Europe and the world, and make them a lot of new ones, who will discover that Danú are the best in Irish trad.
Danu's website
Michael Moll

Serras "Serras"
Go' Danish Folk Music Production; GO0499; 1999; Playing time: 47.57 min
A couple of issues ago, FolkWorld had reviewed already the single pre-release of this debut album of an exciting Danish band, being part of what you might call New Danish Folk Wave. Playing traditional tunes from the 18th century, Serras' music does not sound like being 200 years old. It has a lot of groove, is very danceable and loud.
Centre of Serras is the talented young fiddler Harald Haugaard (read the interview with him and Morten Alfred Høirup), whose instrument is competing in Serras with a saxophone. They are backed by bass, drums and guitars, plus special effects. The music is mighty and powerful, taking the listener away. Stylistically it lies somewhere between Rock, Trad, Jazz and other styles; it is the same class as the Swedish Hoven Droven are. And that not only musically but also from the stage show. (Serras were, btw., in the live act top ten of 1999.)
Highly innovative instrumental Rock-Folk Music, sometimes very heavy and dark, sometimes also more light and loud. Superb destinctively Scandinavian cross over stuff which is great fun. Most of the tunes were recorded in the studio, but two of them were taken live from Tonder festival 1999 - this brilliant concert will be remembered well by anyone who has been there...
Watch out for them!
Serras; Go' Danish Folk Music Production
Michael Moll

Fenja Menja "Fenja Menja"
GO Folkmusic Distribution; Go 0399; 2000
Fenja Menja are from Denmark, but seem to take a lot of their inspirations in the Swedish folk rock scene. And why not, in the end the Swedes have these great innovative bands like Garmana, Hoven Droven or Hedningarna; all of them surely not the worst inspirational sources.
On their debut CD, the Danish folk rockers provide a convincing mixture of loud and powerful songs and tunes, with a particular Danish sound in it, still opening always the bridge to the music of their Swedish neighbours. Combining the traditional instruments fiddle, flutes and bagpipes, all skilfully played by the only female member of the band Katja Mikkelsen, with rock stuff like electric and acoustic guitars, drums, bass and piano, the music is an exciting and creative dance music. Most of the tunes are written by band members; the songs are mainly traditional based and are in Danish.
One of the many fresh Danish folk recordings that have come out in the last couple of months. Highly recommended to any fan of Swedish and Scandinavian dark and powerful folk rock music.
GO Folkmusic Distribution
Michael Moll

Brychan "Vexed Fanatica"
Label: Idea Records; EZ/27
What stands out most strikingly on this album is Brychan Llyr's vocals. A cross between Joe Jackson's impassioned crooning and Stone Temple Pilot's mean growl, they make the album rather listenable, if not for the somewhat strained lyrics. Take for example the last stanza of 'Die of Happiness': 'And if one day you think I'm a fruit,/ pick me and squeeze me and drink of my juice./ And see all the life that I lived and all the people who / Laughed along with me/ Until we die of happiness.' Is the man on a cocktail of helium gas and prozaic, is what I want to know.
Having said that, the album does grow on you, once you get used to Brychan's leaps of logic. The tunes mainly see the acoustic guitar and percussion leading the way, occasionally accompanied by vibraphone and bodhran.
The tracks are recorded mostly live in studios in Wales and Italy, and this reflects on the overall sound of the album- acoustic more than electric. It also represents a new phenomenon we might see more of in the future, perhaps- an alliance between the Celtic countries and regions such as Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Brittany, and less traditionally Celtic nations, yet ones which offer a modest sprouting of Celtic-influenced folk-music talent from time to time, such as Italy and Germany. (You might wish to consider the fact that the e-zine you're currently reading is based in Germany!)
I think Brychan might play to a receptive audience at a folk festival, or in a small pub, for that is the type of atmosphere I envision for the music. The lyrics and melodies are not catchy enough to top the folk music charts, but if you clear your head of all preconceptions and expectations, simply immersing yourself in the man's voice and guitar, it's an enjoyable enough listen.
Kathy-Ann Tan

Finn MacCool "Sherdhana’s Hand"
Label:Emerald Tablet Publishing
With a band name like Finn MacCool, the listener cannot help but expect Celtic tales of wonder and woe, ranging from the battles fought by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, to personal dream-wanderings to Tir Na Og. If you’re into this sort of thing, then this CD is definitely another to add to your collection. The lyrics revolve around the mystical and spiritual facets of human existence, and the style of music combines 1970s progressive rock with traditional Celtic folk. So if you’re adamant that Robbie Williams and Britney Spears are tone-deaf in comparison to Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention, then you’ll relish this CD.
The band is fronted by Irishman (oh, ay, from Cavan!) Peter McGowan, who sings lead vocals, and plays a medley of instruments ranging from bass to bouzouki and accordion. Then there is Marta Collier, who plays effortlessly on the whistles, bodhran and percussion, David Williams who plays mandolin and guitar, and Pattie Kelly who assists on vocals as well. Reading past reviews of the band’s gigs though, I couldn’t help but suspect that their live performances were characterised by something that their CD recording didn’t reveal. The band have played in several high schools and colleges, and have earned themselves many an enthusiastic student fan.
The tracks themselves are fairly eclectic in style, ranging from the new age (‘Flying with the Spirits’ and ‘The Dream of the Moonstone’) to the jangling guitar rock numbers (‘Listen to the Sky’ and ‘The Dragon’). There is no doubt that the band have put a lot of hard work into making this album, from enlisting the help of special guests to play on the tracks, to dressing up in their tailor-made medieval-looking costumes (thanks to friend Donna Collier!) for the glossy photo-shoot. (Do these guys really wear the costumes on stage, is what I want to know!)
Finn MacCool have their own website:, and I’m sure the band would love to hear from anyone interested in their music, so do drop them a line!
Kathy Tan

Follow That Camel "Alba Vinyl"
Label: Iona Records IRCD067
Ok, so you thought the name ‘Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band’ was bad; how this crew have managed to come up with such an ‘inspiring’ name for their band, I’ll never know. Having said that, the music on the album is another thing altogether. I thought it was very listenable, and grows on you effortlessly ( I was muttering ‘Oooo-lah-lah-lah’ under my breath by the time it got to the end of the last track). The band consist of three lads and a lass that hail from Argyll, Scotland- Jim Thornton (vocals, acoustic guitar), Graham Fuge (drums, percussion), Kieran Campbell (bass, backing vocals) and Emma Lees (keyboards, saxophones).
So what does the music sound like? Well, a blend of folk/pop-rock I guess, but I like their style. Take track 7, for example, entitled ‘Fiona’. The lyrics are catchy, and reminiscent of Van Morrison’s ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. In the middle of the song, the band break out into a rendition of a popular instrumental folk tune, and the listener is left singing, in ‘The Commitments’ style, ‘Hold my hand Fiona/ Hold my hand Fiona/ Hold my hand Fiona/ Until your daddy comes’ long after the track ends.
The next track, ‘The Bread Man’, is a catchy one too. I like the sound of Emma’s piano notes interweaving through Jim’s vocals, and Colin Train’s special guest appearance on the accordion adds to the texture of the tune. Personally though, the nicest touch to the album was Emma’s flawless saxophone playing, which added a jazzy feel to the tunes, which Graham’s percussion picked up on smoothly. Listen up for the band’s rendition of the classic gem ‘On Broadway’ on track 8.
All in all, this was a very listenable and likable CD, and proves that Follow That Camel are a promising young band indeed. If you like music from the likes of ‘The Men they Couldn’t Hang’ or ‘Great Big Sea’, I’d recommend buying this one.
Kathy Tan

Reif fur die Insel - Worldmusic zum Wohlfuhlen und Entspannen
Label: BMG Music/ Wicklow Entertainment Total playing time: 68:10 mins
Ok, so I don’t need to speak and understand German to know that I like this CD, and would recommend it without reservation to anyone looking for an introductory sampler CD to start their own collection of folk/world music. It’s an excellent compilation which does exactly that, featuring tracks from popular Irish band Sin E, gorgeous Canadian singer Mary Jane Lamond, and African musician Tarika, just to name a few.
With a total playing time of 68 mins, this compilation is the perfect accompaniment for any occasion. Simply follow these instructions: Step 1- Make yourself a nice Bacardi breezer or gin and tonic. Step 2- Kick off your shoes, and snuggle down on your comfy sofa. Step 3- Reach for the remote control, and play track 1. When the CD ends, repeat Step 3.
What more can I say? I think I’ll hang on to this one.
Kathy Tan

To the first CD page
To the second CD page
To the content of FolkWorld CD Reviews

To the content of FolkWorld online magazine Nr. 16

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 10/2000

All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission.

FolkWorld - Home of European Music
FolkWorld Home
Layout & Idea of FolkWorld © The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld