Issue 21 03/2002

FolkWorld CD ReviewsDog

Jock Tamson's Bairns "May You Never Lack A Scone"
Label: Greentrax; CDTRAX 206; 2001; Playing time: 56.49 min
Released about a year ago, this had accidentally drifted to the back of my review-CD pile, which is not however a reflection on its quality. Jock Tamson's Bairns are one of the "big" groups in Scottish folk, who haven't achieved the same popularity as the Battlefield Band or Tannahill Weavers mainly because unlike those, the Bairns can rarely be seen live outside their native land. After two acclaimed recordings back in the early eighties, they had gone their separate ways for a while pursuing other musical projects (notably The Easy Club), finally getting together again in 1996.
This welcome recording demonstrates Rod Paterson and John Croall's vocal talents (on 7 of the 13 tracks) and the Bairns' instrumental skills, usually in an appealing combination of double fiddle - generally played in unison - concertina and guitar with additional whistle, bodhrán, percussion and double bass in places. They save the best till last: the jaunty, funny, up-beat title track (whence comes the album title) to which a jaw's harp lends an unusual touch.
The booklet provides song notes and full lyrics, and even a scone recipe to back the album title.
Jock Tamson's Bairns website
Anja Beinroth

Heidi Muller "Gypsy Wind"
Label: Cascadia Music; CM2001; 2001; Playing time: 46.04 min
Big ideas, Einstein had a few, better give 'em a try. Heidi Muller doesn't run out with some of them. Being one of Seattle's leading contemporary folk singer/songwriters, she displays a Joan-Baez-American folk-style and voice, nowhere more apparent than in "Acres of Clams". She also is a sensitive mountain dulcimer player and performs a lively jig set and a planxty-like air, both of her own. Thus said, the dulcimer (dulce = sweet, melos = song) had been introduced by German settlers to the Appalachian Mountains and it is reported that the god-fearing mountain dwellers rate it as suitable for song accompaniment and alternative to the flagitious fiddle, the main instruments of the sinful dance music. So it is great irony that she accompanies herself on guitar when she is singing and plays dulcimer instrumentals. But that's the way when you're touched by a "Gypsy Wind".
Heidi Muller
Walkin' T:-)M

Fiddlers' Bid "Da Farder Ben Da Welcomer"
Label: Greentrax; CDTRAX218; 2001; Playing time: 46.53 min
Toss a stone across a wall and you will certainly hit a fiddle player. At least, if you are on the Shetland Islands. Blazin' Fiddles did it before. Put together half a dozen of fiddles and let's have a party. But they were not first, because Tom Anderson's "Da Forty Fiddlers" already played in the 1960s (accompanied by the jazzy guitar and piano chords of Willie Johnson, so don't say the Shetlands are remote in musical terms). And even Fiddler's Bid (see also CD review and article) is now in its tenth year. Four fiddles (Andrew Gifford, Chris Stout, Kevin and Maurice Henderson) play traditional and some original tunes, mainly from the Shetlands. The main tune is enhanced by a counter melody or a kind of harmony backing, both supported by guitar (Steve Yarrington), bass (David Coles), piano and harp (Catriona McKay). It is not all hell-for-leather, though there are some striking Shetland reels as well, but a well-balanced and swinging mix of different pace and rhythms. Fiddler's Bid also provide the Shetland equivalent to East European klezmer wedding music: The fiddler accompanied the groom's party on the way to the bride's home. On arrival, the fiddler would have struck the tune "Du's Bn Lang Awa an A'm Tocht Lang ta See Dee". "Da Farder Ben da Welcome" was played at the ritual "Bedding Da Bride". After the supper the women folk would put the bride to bed and the only man allowed in was the fiddler. Lucky man! Was he the "Laughing Cavalier" or the winning bid.
Walkin' T:-)M

Kerstin Blodig "Valivann"
Label: Westpark; WP 87088; 2002; Playing time: 42.53 min
Berlin-born multi-instrumentalist and singer Kerstin Blodig already has a fancy career: Norland Wind (see also FolkWorld CD review and article), Touchwood (see review), Talking Water (see review), Kelpie, and occasional appearances with the German folk band Bierfiedler. And now another (ad)venture: Rhythmic Ballads from both sides of the North Sea. Because: The sea with its mysterious depths, its vast breadth and its breathtaking power has always fascinated generations of people and provided the inspiration for countless tales and legends. As you certainly know, the Scottish islands had been colonized by Norsemen. A lot of Scandinavian words, e.g. "kirk" (church), crept into the Scots language. "Valivann" is the character of a ballad known throughout Scandinavia and there is a common song tradition linking Norway and Scotland. There are the great legends of water trolls, "nokk" or "kelpie": the haunting Orkney ballad "The Seal Man" (better known as "The Great Selkie o' Sule Skerry") has been fitted to a Scandinavian-sounding tune. The original composition "Mystical Man" explores the same topic. There is the bloody story of the body of the murdered and drowned sister which is transformed into a harp and its music reveals the plot. The Norse "Horpa" resembles the Scottish "The Cruel Sister". So, take contemporary Scandinavian roots music, let it clash with pipes, and mix it up with songs from both sides of the North Sea. The late Mick Franke (Fiedel-Michel) was the main force behind "Valivann". There are also appearances of Thomas Loefke (harp), Johannes Schiefner (uilleann pipes), and Ian Melrose (low whistle).
Walkin' T:-)M

Margaret Stewart and Allan MacDonald "Colla Mo Rn"
Label: Greentrax; CDTRAX 217; 2001; Playing time: 53.40 min
Put two CDs into one: some solo piping, some Gaelic songs. At first, both seemed a bit unrelated. The idea becomes more clearly with the title track for example, "Colla Mo Rn" (Coll, my love), which is both a song and piobaireachd, a classical-like pipe suite in extended and complex form. The story behind the tune: while absent the castle of Colla Ciotach was captured and the only one whose life was spared was the piper's. As Colla was approaching, the piper managed to play this tune from the ramparts and Colla escaped. The piper's hand was cut off him for his diligence. But that's not the point here. There was always connection between piping and singing. Piobaireachd is taught by chanting (canntaireachd), whereby vowels mirror notes and consonants mirror ornamentations. Vice versa, piping embellishment had been adopting by singers. For the second time, Gaelic singer Margaret Stewart from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides (see also FW#13) and bagpiper Allan MacDonald (Highland and Small pipes) from the famous pipe family of Glen Uig combine their skills to explore such connections (see also CD review). Both are masters of their art. Allan usually introduces the urlar (main theme) on the pipes. Then he is joined by Margaret, followed by piobaireachd variations, and then singing again. Sometimes Allan's voice is joining in as well. All the lyrics are given with some background notes and English translation.
Walkin' T:-)M

Various "If I Had A Song...: The Songs of Pete Seeger Vol. 2"
Label: Appleseed Recordings; in Germany Wundertüte; TÜT CD 72.199; 2001; Playing time: 63.59 min
This is the second installment of Appleseed President Jim Musselman's great labour of love, the presentation of specially-recorded tribute versions of songs originally written, arranged and/or popularised by Pete Seeger. (The 2-CD volume 1, "Where Have All The Flowers Gone", was released in 1998; a concluding volume 3 is expected to appear later this year.) Volume 2 is a little less musically varied than its predecessor, with an emphasis on contributors from the broad area of American acoustic/folk/singer-songwriter music, which is no bad thing as it makes for a seamless listening experience while still offering enough variety to hold the attention. Also, Pete himself is rather more involved than before, adding his voice to no less than four of the sixteen tracks this time round.
The contributors are a mixed bunch, many of whom will no doubt be familiar to you: Jackson Browne with Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie (with Pete Seeger, on two tracks), Steve Earle, Eric Andersen, Kate & Anne McGarrigle, Billy Bragg with Eliza Carthy, Dar Williams with Toshi Reagon, John McCutcheon with Corey Harris, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer, the whacky Canadians Moxy Früvous (always highly entertaining, here with a joyous personalised tribute to Pete and his wife Toshi called "Maple Syrup Time") and more.
As with volume 1, the illustrated booklet supplies extensive notes and anecdotes with each song. A compilation which leaves nothing to be desired, and will surely appeal to a wide range of listeners. Well done Jim Musselman - roll on the next one!
Appleseed Recordings CD information
Anja Beinroth

Rosapaeda "in forma di rosa"
Label: Sottosuono; Sott A 107; 2001; Playing time: 38.09 min
In the latest issue of this magazine, I wrote as the last sentences in my review of Rosapeda's first album 'Facce': "A strong voice with a strong band - all in all a very strong album. I am waiting for the follow up album!" Here it is - and it was right to wait for it - it immediately found its way upon the first place of FolkWorld's Top Ten (editors choice) of the best albums of the year 2001! Congratulations to Rosapaeda and her band.
So - what is special on Rosapaeda? First of all the voice: Rosapaeda's voice is powerful with lot of nuances, her singing is passionate and she has a very strong talent to adopt different styles of songs to her voice.
Apart from her own strong contribution to this album, the instrumentalists add another terrific dimension to it. First of all Eddi Romano on accordion, also composing a lot of the music; then there are Andrea Gallo on double bass, Pippo 'Ark' D'Ambrosio on arabian drums, tablas and other kind of percussion, Pasquale Ziccardi on acoustic guitar (and songwriting), the great northern Italian accordeonist Ricardo Tesi and several more musicians.
It is a very strong album, highly recommended.
Christian Moll

Di Grine Kuzine "Feribot"
Label: T3 Records; 2001; Playing time: 55.07 min
Di Grine Kuzine - based in Berlin - call their music themselves klezmer balkan brass - and I think that is quite appropriate. Feribot, with its fresh unconventional inspriring music, found its way into the editors choice of the best 10 folk music albums of 2001.
Let me introduce the band: Di Grine Kuzine was formed as a professional music group in 1998 in Berlin, and since then they have played many concerts and festivals around Europe. The band consists of five musicians: the excellent singer and accordeonist Alexandra Dimitroff, Juri Schrot on clarinet and soprano, Karel Komnatoff on trumpet, bugle and vocals, Steve R. Lukanky on tuba and finally Snorre Schwarz on drums and vocals.
The music is often traditional, while some pieces are composed by band members (and some other composers). They put a lot of power into their music - if you hear it, you just want to dance...
Homepage of the artist:
Christian Moll

Kapela ze wsi Warszawa "Wiosna Ludu"
Label: Orange World; OWCD 006; 2001; Playing time: 64.36 min
Fresh young folk music from Poland is up to now not too often heard in the more western parts of Europe. Maybe this will change with the time. The band from the village of Warsaw (that is the translation of Kapela ze wsi Warszawa) has now produced their second album "People's spring" (Wiosna Ludu) - a very mature work with lots of energy. Another proof that we should have a closer look towards the polish scene... (Btw., FolkWorld features in this issue also an introduction to the Polish scene.)
The kapela has a unique form of presenting ancient music - it presents three young powerful female voices called 'white voices' (going at times towards screaming) together with ancient melodic instruments such as the old polish fiddle Skrzypice and the fiddle and a acoustic percussion rhythm section, played by three young men. They have developed their own destinctive sound.
Their first CD was produced on their own label in 1998, since then they moved on to a bigger label, and Orangeworld did a good job for them. It is nice that on this album some of the information is also in English language - this makes it a lot easier for Western Europeans to find out about the background of the music.
Additionally to the 13 original Kapela ze wsi Warszawa tunes, there are two additional remixes of the producing DJs Piotr Pucylo & Mario Dziurex - this is interesting stuff, showing what can happen if old Polsih music comes into the hands of club DJs...
If you are into strong female voices, or into Eastern European music - this band is surely worth to discover!
Homepage of the artist: contact to artist:
Christian Moll

Kadril "All the best"
Label: Wildboar Music; WBM 21029; 2001; Playing time: 53.29 min & 57.12 min
Kadril is the longest going Flemish folk rock band today, they have celebrated their 25 years existens in summer 2001. As part of their celebrations they did a big European tour and have released this superb "best of" double CD. To celebrate with them we have done an interview with Erwin Libbrecht and Eva De Roovere on the Tatihou festival in France. It is published in this issue, and you can find there background informations on the history of the band. (And you can even win this CD!)
The tracks on this double CD were originally published on 5 albums in the years 1986 ('Kadril' - 5 tracks), 1990 ('De Vogel in de Muite' - 3 tracks), 1994 ('Nooit met Krijt' - 3 tracks), 1996 ('Live - De groote Boodschap' - 4 tracks) and 1999 ('Eva' - 3 tracks); additionally there are 5 new live recorded and 3 new studio recorded tracks and one "demo track" (whatever this means). So on the one hand, you can listen to the history of the band and hear again some of their greatest moments, but on the other hand there is enough new material for those who own already all of their albums.
Kadril have been and still are a very fine folk rock band from Flanders - if you do not know them by now, give their celebration CD a try!
Christian Moll

Susana Seivane "Alma de Buxo"
Label: Do Fol / Boa; 28; 2001; Playing time: 47.26 min
Susana Seivane is today one of the internationally best known female pipers of Galicia. Alma de Buxo is her second album, following her highly praised debut CD.
Susana stays to her concept, playing traditional and newly composed (by herself and other composers) in a traditonal way, yet with modern aspects. A new thing is that she also does songs - on the first album she had the help of Sonia Lebedynsk doing a song. This time Susana herself sings one song on her own and one - in the typical style of a female Galician group with pandereitera backing - as part of a group called Sete Saias (featuring also Lola de Ribeira, Olga Kirk, Guadi Galego, Sonia Lebedynski, Uxía Pedreira and Uxía Senlle). A very fine song.
One track is played by Susana's granddad Xosé Manuel Seivane - another member of the piping clan of the Seivanes... After this follow tunes composed and played by Xosé Manuel, then there are two muineiras composed and played by Susana herself. It is nice to see that the traditon is well alive!
The backing of the music on the album is done by accordeon, guitar, fiddle, drums, bouzouki, bass, etc.
Fine music from the north western part of spain.
Homepage of the artist:
Christian Moll

More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2
Overview: CD Review Contents

To the content of FolkWorld No. 21

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 03/2002

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