Issue 20 12/2001

FolkWorld CD Reviews


Ánde Somby, Rosynka, Boknakaran "Moya på tvoja"
Label: Steinbeat (Boknakaran's label); 2001; Playing time: 52.23 min
Moya på tvoja was an old greeting in the Russian-Norwegian pidgin language used a good 100 years ago during the coastal trade, where Russian traders brought life-saving corn (traded against fish) to the people in northern Norway.
This is somehow a fitting name for this exciting project - three different cultures from the most northern part of Europe come together. First there is the northern Norwegian folk music group Boknakaranfrom Tromsø, four singers mostly singing their own songs backed on acoustic instruments like accordions, bagpipe harmonium and a broud string section. Then there is the Sami yoiker Ande Somby from the northern Norwegian region Finnmark - he sings both tradtional and new yoiks - one of his special skills is imitating animals (from mosquito to wolf) - it is often very unexpected what he is doing. Completing this multi cultural project is the the female vocal group Rosynka from Petrozavodsk in the Russian republic Karelia. The young women sing traditional Russian-Karelian women songs, traditionally a capella songs - with this project it is actually the first time that this group sings with instrumental backing.
The music was recorded in Tromsø in summer 2000 - I like the result of this northern cultural meeting. Some tracks have a very strong expression, some are interesting, some sound funny (at least for me, as I cannot understand anything of the texts), and some are really strange to my ears. There are very fascinating tracks, where Rosynka are weaving their Karelian songs through the music - and somtimes even through the songs - of the Norwegian lads of Boknakaran, that's a big, fascinating sound.
The shortish infos in the booklet of the CD are written down in four languages: Norwegian, English, Russian and another lanuage I can not identify.
Moya på tvoja is a fascinating project, sure worth to listen to - if you are into northern European music, this is a must. Hopefully they will come futher south for concerts in future - so festival organizers if you want to have something different, give them a listen...
Boknakaran's homepage with more infos on this project
Christian Moll

Törf "Op Roemte"
Label: own label; TSP004; 2001; Playing time: 47.19 min
If you are a friend of music of the north eastern parts of the Netherlands, Törf, for sure is a well known name. Many of the other folk music lovers in Europe have never heard of this great, well established long and strong going Frisian band - and that is a shame!
Törf is an excellent quartett presenting characteristic music of their native region with strong connections to their roots. On 'Op Roemte', Törf's fourth album, they have chosen to make a concept album to present poems of Jan Boer (1899-1983) a writer from Rottum in the region of Groningen. Jan Boer wrote many poems in praise of the very characteristic flat landscape of that region - it is a very special, a bit menancholic region at the edge to the Wadden coast.
The poetry, presented very suitingly as songs with new music written by Törf, creates the right atmosphere - if you know the scenery of the Wadden coast you surely will immediately be there with your heart hearing their music. If you do not know the landscape, I think while listening to this album, you will feel it. The landscape, the poetry and the music are together one whole unit - well done!
Some more words about the band - Törf has four members: the singer Henk Scholte - he has a great voice, and he can create a very strong atmosphere, then we have Bert Ridderbos with the string intruments guitar, citter and bouzouki; Geert Ridderbos on accordion and last but not least Eddy de Jong on guitar and bass - he has, by the way, written most of the music. On this album they have two guests to give even more atmosphere - Marius Greiner (violins) and Flip Rodenburg (bagpipes, recorder and tin whistle).
All in all a great work, a bit menancholic and with lots of atmosphere, it grows with every time listening to it...
Törf's homepage
Christian Moll

Serras "Second hand"
Label: Danish Folk Music Production Go; Go0201; 2001; Playing time: 51.55 min
As you could imagine from the titel of this album, 'Second hand' is the second CD of this young furious Danish band. And with their first CD they have started to create their very own sound - the first CD leads to this one, here they went even further with their ideas.
Their name Serras has polish origins (bread and cheese) but it is the name of an old fast and furious 18th century Danish three quarter time round dance, which was danced in pairs to end a set of three dances.
Serras are playing old Danish tunes (from notebooks mostly of the mids of the 18th century) - but their arrangements are not oldish... They create with this a furious combination of old Danish tunes with Jazz, rock adn many other influences. Leading instruments are the fiddle played by Harald Haugaard and the Sax of Hans Mydtskov backed by the guitars of Sune Hansbaek, bass of Mads Riishede, drums of Sune Rabbek and (sometimes quite heavy) programming. As guest they have Poul Lendal on jews harp and old Danish drum - you want think how you can use a jews harp in such a context, very special!
If you like modern folk bands like Hoven Droven or Shooglenifty you defintely should give Serras a try.
Serras homepage
Christian Moll

BEV - BonificaEmilianaVeneta "variabile/naturale"
Label: Dunya Records / Felmay; FY 8040; 2001; Playing time: 47.01 min
BEV - BonificaEmilianaVenata, this name is surley well known to regular FolkWorld readers. In 1999 the FolkWorld editors voted their first album "Apotropaica" as best album of 1999. Now they have published their second album - and yes, it is another gem. If you want to have a good European folk music collection, this album should surely be included.
BEV hail from the northern Italian regions of Emilia and Veneto, their music is fresh often composed by the band members but deeply rooted in their traditions. BEV's sound is full, their arrangements are well made and highly individual. Lead singer of the band is Marco Mainini, but all the other band members do sing as well, and this gives a full mature feel to the songs.
The line up did slightly change since their first album - now BEV are Claudio Pesky Caroli on double bas, Luciano Giacometti on melodeon, Marco Mainini on guitar, piva (northern Italian bagpipe), sax; Alessandro Mottaran on piva, mandoloncello, guitar, clarinet and last but not least Stefano Olivan on violin - and as already mentioned they all sing. As a guest they have the percussionist Sbibu giving them even more rhythm to their rhytmic music.
It is always hard to do a second album after a very high praised debut CD - you made it. BEV is one of the hottest bands from northern Italy!
BEV's homepage
Christian Moll

Fluxus "N.O.Ë"
Label: Zocu / Emi Belgium; 07243 826595 2 5; 2001; Playing time: 43.49 min
Fanders in Belgium is one of the fastest growing folk music scenes in Europe at the moment - at least if look at young innovative bands creating new music out of their own traditions. Fluxus are one of these - they are known for some time as one of the leading bands for innovative instrumental music from Belgium. Now they have an additional strong focus on songs (4 of the 12 tracks are songs), Greet Garriau has a good voice and she knows how to present the songs - some of them have a earwig character. Besides being a fine singer Greet is also an outstanding diatonic accordionist. The other leading melody instruments are bagpipes, flute and clarinet (Stefan Timmermans), divers saxophons (Koen Garriau) and hurdy gurdy (Paul Garriau). The backing is provided by guitar (Paul Garriau), fretless bass (Samuel van Ingelgem) and drums and percussion (Geert Simoen).
Much of the material plaeyed by Fluxus is composed by some of the band members. The arrangements are special and often breathtaking. And even if this is s great CD - in live they are even better. Go and buy this album, and then try to catch them in live!
Fluxus' homepage
Christian Moll

Danny Guinan "A Pint of Guinan's"
Label: own label; FPCD2; 2001; Playing time: 43.08 min
Danny Guinan is an Irish singer songwriter nowadays based in the Netherlands. I know him from the time he played in his band Speranza - one of my favorite bands at that time. In my opinion Speranza got much too little attention...
Danny is an interesting singer with his very own style, influenced by very different music styles (to name just some folk, rock, blues, country....), and also his songwriting is highly individual and a bit wired. He gathered a bunch of Dutch musicians to help him with this album: Ronald de Jong plays double bass and does backing vocals, Siard de Jong (no relation to Ronald) plays fiddle bouzouki and mandolin and Martijn Bosman drums and percussion. These lads (often not all) are also part of his band, toruing heavily in the Netherlands. Nearly all of the songs are written by Danny himself, two are re-recorded versions of Speranza songs, and there are two additional songs by other songwriters (Ellis Island by Noel Brazil and Let the Mystery be by Iris Dement).
Although you can see and feel at some points that this album is a 'cheap production' - made with loads of love for the music, but with a small budged - I like it a lot. Danny is a very fine singer songwriter and his lads do a nice job, too. Hopefully he will get back to become a more European wide known artist...
Danny's homepage
Christian Moll

Plommon "SAH"
Label: Akku Disk; ADCD 3035; 2002; Playing time: 55.38 min
This is the fist CD of the year 2002 reviewed in FolkWorld. I was lucky to get a copy of this album already more than a month before the publication date on Plommon's christmas tour in Germany...
Plommon are five girls from Sweden, the band exists already for 10 years - you won't believe this if you see the girls on stage... - and they extensively tour through Germany and some other European countries for five years now. 'SAH' is Plommon's second album on the German label Akku Disk (they have published CDs on a Swedish label, too). SAH is a live recording, recorded in late summer 2001 in Leer in Germany. The recording quality is high, and you can feel the pure energy of their concerts. The only thing of the live recording is that the audiance claps along on the last tune of the album - but as I said it is only one track, so it is not that bad....
Plommon has an intersting line up - five girls, who at some point do all play the fiddle, additional they have an harmonium (Klara Rosén), played on most of the tracks and a recorder (Maria Persson) - and all af them sing. When they sing together the sound is very full. Ingeborg Svenonius left the band about two years ago, new member became the great singer Anna Elwing. With her Plommon has a new addition to their repertoire - they do now solo (sometimes a capella, sometimes with a light instrumental backing) singing. Anna has a great voice and the songs sung by her (e.g. 'Fars visa' or especially 'När som elden') are simply breathtaking - it is pure northern beauty.
Their sound is often full and very much in a forward direction. Most of their mateiral is traditional from southern Sweden (mostly from Skåne but also from Halland), additional there is some fine self composed material by the band members.
Additional points for this album I can give for the nice booklet with the text of the songs in Swedish and English. If the standard of the albums in 2002 stays as high as this one - 2002 will be the year of folk music albums!
Now go out and try to catch this swedish energy in live - or make at least a small concert at home with this album.
Plommon's homepage; Music Contact/Akku Disk - Plommon's agent and label based in Germany
Christian Moll

Zoe' "Sangue Vivo"
Label: CNT; CNT.IT1005; 2000; Playing time: 63.06 min
I must admit - I have never heard of ZOE' before I have seen them on the great small Tatihou island festival in France this summer. I immediately got stuck by their breathtaking energetic stage performance, by their deep love for the music. You can feel that they do not only play music, but they live it. (In one of the next issues will be an interview with them...)
Sangue Vivo - Live Blood, the title of the album is also the title of a film, playing in southern Italy, where the musicians of ZOE' are the major characters. The film has got some prices on European film festivals.
But let us come to the music - it is driven by the fast and furious rhythm of the tarantela (tambourine), played mostly by more than one bandmember. Additionally there are flutes, diatonic accordion, classical guitar, guitar, fiddle, diverse percussion instruments (including violino a sonagli) and of course very strong singing. Zoe have two very strong male and two very strong female singers, all of them have extremely powerfull voices which can easily cope with the driving rhythem of the percussion.
In live Zoe is maybe the most powerful folk band I have seen this year, with this album you can get an idea of their stage energy...
ZOE's homepage at
Christian Moll

Rosapaeda "Facce"
Label: Sottosuono; Sott A101; 1998; Playing time: 41.24 min
Rosapaeda is a very strong and moving singer from southern Italy - this album was already produced in 1998, but arrived in our office only recently. I can only say it is very good, that it arrived - better late than never. Otherwise we would have missed a fascinating album of a fascinating Italian voice...
Rasapaeda started her musical career with a different style - she started as a singer of a reggae group. But soon afterwards she started her folk career. She has gathered for this album a very fine bunch of musicians: Eddi Romano (accordion), Stéphane Delicq (accordion); David Viterbo (violincello, classical guitar), Gigi Celestino (mandoline, tamorre, etc), Francesco Patruno (ac. bass), Mauro Gargano (double bass); Bachir Gareche (voice, darbouka, tambourello) and Angelo Pantaleo (sopranino, clarinet, recorders). They create together a full sound fitting to the strong voice of Rosapaeda. A bit more than half of the material is traditional. The songs are in various dialects from Southern Italy (Sicilian, Calabrese, Greek from Salento, Neapolitan, from Luciana), the material which is not traditional, was especially written and composed for Rosapaeda.
A strong voice with a strong band - all in all a very strong album. I am waiting for the follow up album!
Christian Moll

Scots Women "Live from Celtic Connections 2001"
Label: Greentrax; CDTRAX 213D; 2001; Playing time: 50.53min + 55.02min
Scots Women - this was the titel of a major concert in 2001 at the annual Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow in January. The festival director wanted 'to redress the balance' after the success of the gaelic women the year before...
So many of the best singers in Scots language gathered on stage - the names are like a who is who of that chategory: Aileen Carr, Elspeth Cowie, Cilla Fisher, Annie Grace, Corrina Hewat, Heather Heywood, Maureen Jelks, Chris Miles, Gordeanna McCulloch, Alison McMorland, Anne Neilson, Karine Polwart, Sheila Stewart, Stravaig and Sheena Wellington. And for that the whole event is not a vocal only affair they have had some musicians as support: Brian McNeill (musical director of the concert and producer of this album) on fiddle, bouzouki and concertina; Annie Grace (whistles); Corrina Hewat (harp); Duncan McGillivray (pipes, guitar, mouthorgan); Andy Thorburn (Keyboards and accordion) and Mike Travis (Drums and percussion).
Thsi was now a lot of name dropping, but what to do if you have such a star line up? The entire concert was recorded, and because of the quality all was published on these two CDs. If you like Scots songs sung by women, you simply have to have this album....
Christian Moll

Mairi MacInnes "Orosay"
Label: Greentrax; CDTRAX 209; 2001; Playing time: 45.11min
Mairi MacInnes from South Uist is one of the best voices of the younger scene of female gaelic singers in Scotland. She has a great very emotional voice full of passion. Mairi has gathered a star force of the Scottish music scene to support her on this album: for backing vocals Cathrine Ann MacPhee and Penny MacInnes, James MacIntosh on drums and percussion, Ewen Vernal on bass, Tony MacManus on guitars, Iain MacInnes on small pipes, Billy Jackson on harps and whistles, Mairi Campbell on fiddle and viola, Mats Melin as Scottish step dancer (great effect) and finally the producer of this album Calum Malcolm on piano and keyboards.
Orosay has a very nice booklet with good photos, lots of informations on the songs and song texts in gaelic and English.
This is a strong album, although for my taste sometimes a bit pathetic - well somehow this fits quite well and creates an interesting atmosphere...
Christian Moll

Opa Cupa "Live in Contrada tangano"
Label: Sottosuono; Sott A106; 2001; Playing time: 52.18 min
Opa Cupa hail from Italy - but their musical origin is more eastern, they play dance music from eastern Europe especially from the Balkan. The band consists of ten members playing instruments like trumpet, accordion, sax, drums, bass, guitar and trombone, and they do songs as well.
The musicians have different cultural origins - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and southern Italy, they are gathered around the trumpet player Cesare Sell'Anna. They do have many different influences both cultural wise and musical wise.
Opa Cupa is a term used by the gypsies of south-eastern Europe as an exhortation to dance - and this music can make you dance, it is often fast and wild.
Christian Moll

Jenn Adams "In the Pool"
Label: White Boxer Music; no number; 2000; Playing time: 49:02 min
Jenn Adams is one of the seemingly millions of mediocre American singer- songwriters whose recordings continually flood any reviewer's doorstep. Hers is an elaborate Nashville production with full rock band backing and carefully chosen additional melody instruments including extra guitars, accordion, piano and trumpet. Her problem is that her songs simply aren't all that good, as evidenced by the far superior lyrical quality of the two covers (Julie Miller's "Speed of Light" and Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower"). Adams' own phrasing is so personal as to be almost unintelligible - telling stories through song lyrics clearly isn't her strong point. She is however a competent - if by no means outstanding - singer.
Jenn Adams website
Anja Beinroth

Asha "Close Enough"
Label: Shindy Arts; ASHACD 001; 2001; Playing time: 57.55 min
Kitchen Girls "In Your Dreams"
Label: Shindy Arts; KG 002; 2001; Playing time: 62.07 min
The link between these two albums is English fiddler Jackie Allen (née Rawlinson), who is behind Shindy Arts and part of both groups (and a few others like Token Women). Asha, according to the website, "is the result of a collaboration to put together a compelling concert and ceilidh band with an eclectic feel." They're a trio, with Peter Lubbock (guitars) and Pete Lockwood (synthesizer, saxophone, percussion) completing the line-up. As the description suggests, they play dance tunes (all-instrumental), although the album is also perfectly suitable for just listening to at home. The three musicians have about equal weight, each taking the lead alternately. It seems a little odd at first hearing the synth used as a lead melody instrument in a folk context, but I think it works pretty well, without ever slipping into new-age territory.
The Kitchen Girls are an all-female six-piece, with no less than four fiddles, an acoustic guitar and a cello. They concentrate on dance music of the American South in their choice of tunes and songs. The gutsy sound is reminiscent of old-timey American string bands, and they're a cracking ceilidh band live, though they sound somewhat tamed on this recording unfortunately (more so than on their excellent debut cassette release "Six Assorted Tarts"). Even so, four fiddles blasting away on a bed of guitar and cello is always a glorious sound. They've got a number of decent singers in their midst, too, as evidenced by the four songs (on two of which Fiona Larcombe takes the lead vocal). Anyone into old-timey music or string quartets should definitely seek this out.
Shindy Arts; Kitchen Girls website
Anja Beinroth

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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