Issue 20 12/2001

FolkWorld CD Reviews


Nusrath Fateh Ali Khan & Party "Body and Soul "
Label: Realworld; CDRW99; 2001
Much is made in the notes about the amount of work Real World had to put in to get this live recording originally made in Pakistan up to the required standard for release. That the effort was worthwhile is born out by the magnificent performances contained in these four extended pieces. The opening piece, "Mother, I have to go to Farid", fairly rocks along for all of its twenty one plus minutes, and sets the tone for the other pieces. The mood is definitely upbeat and joyous, which makes the pieces all the easier to admire even if you don't share the participants involvement in the spirituality of the music. The beautiful "Waiting For Years" has a haunting melody and call and response structure, and easily enters my top three Nusrat tunes of all time. There is an awful material out there by Nusrat and the Party, a lot of it like this recorded live on their travels around the world. Much of this material is released on cassettes originating in the Indian subcontinent, and whilst some of the performances, like this one, are excellent, all too often the sound is compromised, limiting the pleasure. Real World are to be congratulated for firstly finding such a powerful performance and then being able to optimise the sound quality to a more than acceptable standard. Now, if only they could match the Indian releases for price!
Colin Jones

Various Artists "Spirit of Africa"
Label:Realworld/Mercury Phoenix Trust; 2001
There's no doubting the intent or the sincerity of the ideas behind this release, or its sister TV programme, both made in co-operation with (I suspect read 'funded by') the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the AIDS charity founded by the members of Queen following the death of Freddie Mercury from the disease in 1991. Most of the tracks from the more famous contributors are taken from previously released albums, so there's nothing new on offer from stars like Youssou N'Dour or Papa Wemba. The album is organised on an African country basis, with most countries getting one track except for Uganda, Senegal and Tanzania, which mysteriously get two. Artists associated with Real World are given preference over other, more famous potential contributors (Imbizo are not exactly the first group to spring to mind from Zimbabwe for instance), so on the face of it there are some heavy minus points. However, the quality of the contributions is very high, and if this gets into the hands of some Queen fans we may get some new world music converts. Most of the songs have a health/AIDS message, and the undoubted standout for me is the offering from Bernard Kabanda of Uganda called 'The Firewood Collector'. Kabanda rose to international prominence after appearing at WOMAD in 1999, but sadly died of AIDS shortly after returning home. It seems churlish to criticise projects like this, but it's also a sad reflection on our times and priorities that it takes a record and TV programme to hopefully reach the attention of the masses here in the West. The horrifying statistics detailed in the booklet should be enough to ensure the plight of Africa's HIV infected millions receives world-wide attention and help, but sadly, it's not the case.
Colin Jones

Calico "Songdogs"
Label: Lochshore; CDLDL 1306; 2000; Playing time: 46.40 min
A touch of deja-vu here for me, as I first came across this record several years ago when I was still involved in running a label. It's a good record, well produced (if a little lacking in dynamics) by Declan Sinnott, but at the time I heard it Calico as a band didn't really exist and their star performer and piper Diarmaid Moynihan was just about to go off on tour with another band. However Diarmaid's back in Dublin now and the quartet of him, brother Donncha on guitar, Tola Custy on fiddle and Pat Marsh on bouzouki are out doing the clubs, so Lochshore have picked up the album. As Irish records go, you could do worse, but I'm sorry to say you could also do a lot better. I suspect from the pedigree of the performers, Calico have moved on some from when this was recorded and also they'd be a lot better live than listening to this might suggest. Miss the album and go to see them if they appear near you.
Colin Jones

Coila "Full on"
Label: Lochshore; CDLDL 1304, 2001
Scottish traditional music given, as the title suggests, the 'full on' treatment, by the members of Coila and assorted guests. Careful use of dynamics and instruments like cello and pipes from guest piper Dougie Pincock mean this isn't just a fiddle/accordion/bass/drums thrash, but the lack of vocals means also that it all begins to blend into the background after a few tracks. What this record does is confirm that we have many musicians in our midst who are capable of playing to a high technical standard, but sometimes technique just isn't enough. I'm looking for original ideas and there aren't any on this album. If I walked in to a pub and this music was being performed in a session I'd be delighted, but there's nothing here that I'd part with my hard-earned for.
Colin Jones

Various Artists "The songs of Pete Seeger, Vol 2"
Label: Appleseed Recordings; APR CD 1055; 2001
It's a tribute to the old banjo picker's resilience and longevity that there even is a volume 2, and there's some good stuff here too. The Jackson Browne/Joan Baez duet of Guantanamera is an expected delight (though hardly a Pete Seeger song?), and several duets on the record featuring Pete with Arlo Guthrie (especially the song Seeger wrote with Arlo's dad, 66 Highway Blues) and Larry Long also work well. There's a charming version of 'Little Boxes' form Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Steve Earle growls his way through 'Walking Down Death Row', and a belter from Billy Bragg. However, we've definitely come to the end of Pete Seeger songs that most people would know, so if there is a volume 3 treat it with some caution. Volume 1 is great, and well worth adding to your collection, even if you already have some of the tracks in other versions. This one is also good, but nothing like as essential. Listen first if possible, and as with most stuff involving Pete Seeger, approach with an open mind.
Colin Jones

Regina Lindinger "Aufbruch"
Label: Turbulent; 02670; 2000; Playing time: 67.00 min
The German Regina Lindinger released her new cd Aufbruch about one year ago. A very special talent this Regina Lindinger. She mixes the music-styles of several cultures into her own type of music. She makes songs, plays with her voice and tries to bring us in trance with special trance-songs. The opening track Yalla ele sounds very African while the voice has a light Sami touch. The music has a very light touch and varies from jazzy to pure improvisation. Vor lauter kamp sounds like a desperate love song from the Middle ages while the intro to this song reminds me more than before of music from the Sami culture. It's a special cd. Sometimes I don't know what to think about Regina her music. I have the feeling that she puts a lot of personal emotion in her songs and sometimes I feel embarrassed to listen to the melody of her soul. On other moments it touches me and I enjoy her dreamy and intriguing music.
Artist homepage
Eelco Schilder

Orchestra Horo-Ruse "Shto ne doydi libe le"
Label: Own; mk10292; 2001; Playing time: 32.32 min
Bulgarian folkmusic by orchestra Horo-ruse. Their cd is called Shto ne doydi libe le and contains fourteen traditional songs. Instruments are guitar, accordion, clarinet and percussion. It sounds very traditional. Like a orchestra from a small village that plays with a lot of fun on a local wedding. It's not surprising or in any way different than many other orchestras from Bulgaria. Technically well played but no extra touch or anything. Just nice background music. Won't disturb anybody.
Band Homepage:
Eelco Schilder

bagad kemper "azeliz iza"
Label: Keltia; kmcd121; 2001; Playing time: 58.19 min
Already for a few decades Bagad Kemper is the best or almost the best Bagad group worldwide. They've made several albums and their new cd Azeliz iza is a new treasure from Bretagne. The cd starts with the title song azaliz iza a well-known song that could be considered as the national anthem of Bretagne. This is an intriguing new version. Lead vocals by Marthe Vassallo who is backed by the famous Kanerien sant meryn. A great contradiction. The young and innocent voice together with the mature and fragile voices of the Kanerien sant meryn. What I like in this album is that the sound is familiar but Bagad kemper managed again to grow in their music and make a new and surprising album. The sound of the bombardes and cornemuses sometimes solo, sometimes with drums or electric guitars. They manage to put their music right into the 21-century. The voice of Vassallo is intense and fits perfectly in the sometimes overwhelming sound of all those bombardes and cornemuses. Bagad kemper might be old but far from death. This album is one of the best I heard this year
Eelco Schilder

Paul Jose "Landmarks"
Label: Lala; 004.; Playing time: 41.03 min
About one year ago I had the honor to review a cd by Paul Joses. That cd "calling the boatman" didn't pass my ear without getting noticed. I loved the romantic sound and the special sound of Joses voice. I met him on a festival by accident and he gave me his cd Landmarks and asked me to review it. The first time I listened I was slightly disappointed. The sound of Landmarks is different and I had to turn a switch in my head. Now after hearing this cd I can only write that it contains twelve strong songs and that it was my mistake to expect the same atmosphere as on Calling the boatman. Thank god Paul Joses knows better. He knows that you need your own unique sound but should also try to do new things with your own style. Landmarks has a more open atmosphere and the songs are more small islands in a open sea. A nice ballad followed by a mellow pub-song but brought with respect. I felt in love with his boatman cd. I enjoy Landmarks and I hope life brings a lot of good faith to Paul Joses.
Lala; Tel.+49-(0)592-2005
Eelco Schilder

Merlons Lichter "die wahre mutter gottes"
Label: virgin; 7243 810211 2 5; 2001; Playing time: 61.54 min
The cd of Merlons Lichter looks like the cd of a metal band and the opening track Maifeur seems to confirm this. But I think Merlons lichter is more than just a metal band. They have much more feeling for melody and atmosphere. They mix traditional instruments such as hurdy gurdy, bombarde and violin with strong electric guitar and beating drums. The photo's in the booklet show dark scenes although I think their music might be powerful but it's not dark metal but quit assessable for a big audience. I love the way they use the hurdy gurdy, it sounds like a modern instrument when it mix's with heavy electric guitars. On the more acoustic parts the band shows that they know what they are doing and are not just fooling around. The band also joiks in a few songs, that also fits in perfect. The cd is sung in German and the lyrics are full of symbols and at some points the text sounds a bit desperate. I'm surprised with this strong album and I'm sure I will enjoy listening to the songs many times in future.
Band homepage:
Eelco Schilder

Malvin Skulbru
Label: Own; 2001; Playing time: 22.51 min
Malvin Skulbru comes from Norway and plays the four drones Swedish bagpipe. On this solo album that is dedicated to the goddess Frøya he creates a very intense atmosphere. Helped by Arvid Ingebrigtsen who added several sound-effects like rattle and rainmaker. The nine songs tell a story about the goddess. The opening song Gydja kjem is the arrival of the goddess while the cd ends with diseblot that is a sacrifice to the goddess. You can taste the ancient history in Skulbru's playing. His music almost hypnotizes the listener and when I close my eyes I feel the cold wind coming from the mountains. Constantly I'm aware that something great is about to happen. A very special cd. Especially for people who are into bagpipe music. But also for those who like music that putts a spell over you. Unfortunately there is no e-mail address or any other address so I can't tell you where to get this cd. I hope that Malvin Skulbru reads this and will send a contact address to Folkworld.
Eelco Schilder

Lydie Auvray "Triangle"
Label: Pläne; 88865; 2001; Playing time: 49.17 min
Accordionist Lydie Auvray just released her fourteenth album called Triangle. Each album Auvray tries to get the best out of herself and her musicians. She experiments with new styles and new musical ideas without loosing her identity. This Triangle album has an overall Latin atmosphere. Starts with a song called Kay toukan. Newly written but it sounds so familiar. After hearing it once the melody keeps on running through your head. Le paradis is like the answer on the happy sound of Kay toukan. A warm ballad with the feeling of a warm summernight, at the beach of an exotic island. Auvray made a good decision by also recording songs like N'oubliez jamais and Tango a cordes. They are a necessary and welcome break in the Caribbean feeling of this album. When I compare this new cd with her albums that I know from ten years ago, she definitely grew to a higher level. It sounds like she plays with more self-confidence and you can here that she knows what she is doing. A very nice album that will keep me warm during the cold winter that is about to start.
Artist Homepage:
Eelco Schilder

Natalia Zukerman "Mortal child"
Label: Talisman records; tr0002; 2001; Playing time: 48.02 min
Natalia Zukerman has inherited her parent's musical skills and just released her debut album called Mortal child. She started studying violin but ended studying the classical guitar. Mortal child contains eleven easygoing songs about subjects such as family, courage and love. She mixes jazz, classical guitar and folk with a light touch of country and pop. Her guitar playing is both subtle and powerful. Her singing is warm and tender but it's sometimes difficult to understand the words she is singing. I definitely prefer the songs with a bit power like prodigal daughter. She is at her best in this song. Using her whole voice and getting different music-styles out of her guitar. She gathered some fine musicians for this album like Paulo Baldi and Ed Ivey from the faraway brothers and flutist Cookie Marenco (who also produced the album who adds a warm Latin night to songs like Lovelier. Overall a strong first album by a very talented artist. Not music for a big audience but for the small group of people that enjoys honest and pure music.
Artist homepage:
Eelco Schilder

Nura "Flamenco arabo"
Label: Suttusuoni; sott a 103; 2000; Playing time: 53.21 min
From Italy a rather new band just released a very interesting Arabic flamenco cd. The lead vocals by the Algerian Bachir Gareche are full emotion and also the other two musicians play with great skill and deep feeling. Oleg Veresciaghin plays the accordion and comes from Russia. This can be heard in his play by occasion. The way he puts rhythm in his play shows where he has his roots. Davide Viterbo plays the guitar and is the only Italian one in this trio. One of my personal favorites is the song Ya galby. The musicians manage in this song to put the best of both cultures in one melody. Melancholy in combination with power. A strong album that deserves a big audience.
Eelco Schilder

Profolk Sampler 2002 "Local heroes"
Label: Heideck Records; HD 20015; 2001; Playing time: 65.55 min
If you are interested in what is happening in the folkmusic scene in Germany, the annual sampler presented by the German Association for song, folk and world music is the right thing to get hold of.
Until recently this CD was for promotion only - but nowaday you as consument can also buy it. The range of music presented is always very broad - as the music scene over here is. This time you can listen to music from northern Germany (Schmelztiegel), from southern Germany (Fraunhofer Saitenmusik and Kerberbrothers Alpenfusion), modern folk music from the black forest (Kaikai), Scandinavian (Kelpie) and Irish (More Maids, Pipeline = Dermot Hyde & Tom Hake) music, music from the eastern European Jews (Massel-Tov) and much more. Some of my personal favorites of this album: Toni Geiling - winner of the German Folkpreis 2001, a interesting young fiddler; Pipeline - fresh Irish music; Schmelztiegel - music from northern Germany; Massel-Tov - music of the eastern European jews... The album is absolute essential to stay up to date in the German scene.
By the way - you can win one of five copies of this album if you tell us your (up to) three best loved folk albums of 2001! Go to the Readers' Top 10 2001 Formular!
Profolk's website
Christian Moll

Simon Thoumire / David Milligan "the big day in"
Label: Footstompin' Records / Tartan Tapes; CDFSR1713; 2001; Playing time: 46.22 min
What do you think is happening, when the best and craziest Scottish concertina player joins the best folk and jazz pianist of Scotland to record an album? - Yes, a brilliant CD is the result.
On 'the big day in' there are only two musicians with their two instruments - the english concertina and the piano. There are no tricks, no guest musicians - nothing except the huge amount of ability to arrange, compose and present music. The biggest fascination of this album - apart from the unusual instrumentation - is the exciting ballance of fast and furious tunes and breathtaking beautiful slow pieces. The leading melody instrument is sometimes the concertina and sometimes the piano. Two favourites are the beautiful slow piano pieces Joseph's Jig and Corrina's Touch, both written by David, and Simon's "Love comes quitely" - Ok I have to admit, that a have a faible for slow music at the moment... But the fast tunes are also great. Apart from their own stuff, they are playing some traditional material (including one from the Basque country), some tunes by younger Scottish composers (Rory Campbell or Clare McLaughlin) and some more.
A real gem!
Christian Moll

Olla Vogala "Fantoom"
Label: Zoku - Emi Belgium; 07243 5358482 5; 2001; Playing time: 49.33 min
Always when I put this album into my CD player I get immedeately stuck by the first track - it is absolutely stunning and breathtaking. How is it possible to write so strong and moving folk music? Very fascinating.
Olla Vogala are a folk and world music big band (15 band members - additional 5 guest musicians on this CD) from Belgium. There musical influences are broad - but you can feel the music as a whole, due to the genius of band leader Wouter Vandenabele. Wouter has composed much of the material, apart from few tunes he has arranged the rest of the material. The music is full of energy, absolutely unique and unconventional - sometimes it reminds me of a whole classical orchestra in its power. The instruments played in Olla Vogala include sax (up to three), violin (also up to three), hurdy gurdy, bagpipe, trumpet, accordion, diverse string instruments and two very different singers, one singing in French, the other in an arabic language. A fascinating piece of art - one of the most played CDs of mine at the moment...
Christian Moll

Shannon "Caught"
Label: own label; shann001; 2001; Playing time: 47.53 min
Shannon are a very fine band playing Irish music. You are into Irish music, but you have never heard of them? Maybe that is because they are not from Ireland but from the Netherlands - and they are no Irish emigrants either, they are just 4 dutch playing Irish music - but with much feeling for the Irish traditions. It is hard to tell the difference to 'original' Irish bands. But why should you try - Shannon are great.
You can see it already at the booklet - Dáithí Sproule of Altan fame has written an introduction: "Even though Irish traditional music is still called 'Irish', that word 'Irish' no longer means that the music belongs only to the Irish or is at home only in Ireland. ... " Dáithí is right - you do not have to look at where, or by whom the music is made, but how the music sounds, and how good it is played and arranged. Shannon know how to play Irish music - and they have chosen a tasteful selection of tunes and songs including 'The flower of Magherally', 'O Neill's March', 'The Pearl' - written by Phil Cunningham and Richard Thompson's 'Waltzing for dreamers'.
Shannon are Peter Rechsteiner (lead vocals, guitar, bouzouki, bodhrán), Trix Hamming (lead vocals, bodhrán), Jan Vader (fiddle, backing vocals) and Martine Bloem (accordions, backing vocals). An album full of joy - well done.
If you are into Irish music - check them out.
Shannon's homepage
Christian Moll

More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5
More German CD Reviews:
Page 1 - Page 2
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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 12/2001

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