Issue 21 03/2002
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Matt Ender "Miles of skye"
7112-2; 2001; Playing time: 46.44 min
After his success album Ancient isle Matt Ender just released his second
cd Miles of Skye. Ender, playing the piano and is responsible for the
sample and electronic sounds on this cd, found ten fellow musicians to play
with him on this fine album. Eric Rigler on Uileann pipes (Titanic) and Brian
Kilgore on percussion (Robbie Williams) and vocalist Steve mcDonald are the
known names but Ender also included some upcoming and unknown musicians. The
overall sound of the cd is very relaxing. I would classify it as Celtic-pop
which is suitable for a big audience. All songs are easy to listen to and Ender
stayed on the safe side with his own compositions or with the way he plays the
traditional tunes. That means that Miles of skye isn't a cd that will
surprise many listeners but more a cd that will satisfy the big group of listeners
who love soft Celtic-pop music with a soft touch of New-age music.
Romanyi Rota "Phiravelman kalyi phuv"
050-2; 1999; Playing time: 71.20 min
The Hungarian band Romanyi Rota considers it self to be a city folk band
which points to the music which was played in Tanchaz (dance houses) in the
Hungarian cities. It were mostly young musicians from small communities who
cane to the big cities and played their own music and meet other musicians and
learned each others style. Special for the style heard on this cd is the imitation
by voice of the originally instrumental tune. Basic are the guitar and the voice
that doesn't sing words but plays the role of melodic instrument. In combination
with a few "real" songs this cd became a special collection of tunes. The way
of singing is quit unusual and I can imagine many listeners have to get used
to the bit nasal and not always in tune way of singing. Although the special
collection I found that the cd could not keep it's strength until the last tune.
After thirty minutes I heard enough and want to hear some variation. But don't
forget that this is a reviewer's personal feeling and I can imagine that a better-trained
ear will enjoy this cd a lot.
Garden of delight "Celtic legends"
2001; Playing time: 47.09 min
The sleeve and title of the new cd by the German group Garden of delight
suggests to me that it's a re-issue of some fantastic weird progressive folk
album from the 1970's. Well, it's not. It's the new cd of this German Celtic
band and they play 2 cd's, more than two hours, of self-written pop songs with
Celtic influence. I read in a review that the band is used to play three hours
live shows and I think that is also what they want to offer their fans with
this 2 cd set. Each song is nice to listen to and brought with pleasure but
for me, two cd's is to much of the same. The band has great quality and I think
I would have a fantastic evening seeing them play live on stage. There is so
much enthusiasm in their music that they forgot to be subtle on some occasions.
My suggestion; send a cd to the organisers of the Folkwoods festival in Holland
and let me enjoy your live capabilities.
Homepage of the artist: www.gardenofdelight.de
Shannon Saunders and the Splinters "The Yellow
Label: Neli Music;
SAS20041; 20001 ; Playing time: 39.35 min
"File under Bluegrass/Celtic/Folk" it says on the back of the cover of this
cd with Shannon Saunders and the Splinters. Shannon Saunders is a Canadian fiddler,
playing celtic tunes in a weird mix of bluegrass and Tin Pan Alley arrangements.
The production is horrible especially the squeeky fiddle. The banjo player tries
to sound a bit like Bela Fleck, and even though he may be the best musicians
of them all, he is lightyears behind Bela's smoothness. Saunders is constantly
out of tune, and the band is about the most untight I have heard for a long
time. The songs are pretty good - reminds me of Indigo Girl. We have all heard
it before, though. So if I should file this cd under celtic, I might have to
place it next to Natalie MacMaster, if under Bluegrass it would be next to Flecktones
and if I should file it under folk, it might take the place right next to Indigo
Girls. That wouldnt be fair to either Natalie, Bela or Indigo Girls.
mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Søren Jensen Lund
Tingali "Thru the Hoop"
Own label ; TN002; Playing time: 29.15 min
Tinglati is from Australia, and like many other Aussie folk bands, they make
use of a lot of ethnic percussion providing a calm feeling throughout the cd.
Tinglati is a reminscent of the British folk rock wave in the late sixties,
but with a global touch. The lyrics are very political. The first song, La Malbouffe,
is about how the USA suck all life out of poor French farmers. But even though
the lyrics sometimes are very selfrightious, I really dig the music. I always
liked combinations of western and Arab music. Thru the Hoop is a very short
cd with only 5 songs. Tinglati made a demo a few years ago, that has a charming
roughness to it. Let's hope we will soon hear a full length cd from this interesting
www.tingali.com.au , email@example.com
Søren Jensen Lund
Céide "Like a Wild Thing"
Label; 2001; Playing time: 56.49 min
I remember when I stood by the Céide
fields some years ago, a 5.000 year old Mesolithic settlement in Northern
Mayo. It had been sunny for almost two weeks, though it was October, believe
it or not. But the other day it started pouring down, the wind was lashing against
the rugged coast. So it could be a good choice for a group's name. Céide
already claim high praise from Matt
Molloy: These five lads first started to play together at a regular
Sunday night session in my pub in Westport. It soon became clear that they were
developing a distinctive and original sound, combining the best of traditional
music with contemporary songs and arrangements. It has a very broad appeal and
I highly recommend it. The outfit consists of flute (Brian Lennon, son
of fiddler Ben and brother of Stockton's
Wing's Maurice Lennon), button accordion and melodeon (Tom Doherty), fiddle
(John Mc Hugh, who contributed to the Chieftain's "Water
from the Well" album), double bass (Kevin Doherty), guitar and vocals (Declan
Askin). Besides the usual suspects - however, some common tunes in quite uncommon
keys -, there's a Finnish waltz (which makes me rather feel like strolling along
the River Seine), Pierre Bensusan's
air "Le Voyage pour L'Irlande", and a Dutch dance tune taken from a Rastafarian
mandolin player from Groningen. Declan Askin chose some poignant contemporary
songs: John Martyn's "John the Baptist",
Lyle Lovett's "If I had a Boat", and
the title song "Like a Wild Thing", written by County Mayo resident Tony Reidy
about the decline of small farming: Farewell to the land where I grappled
with stone / To make a livin' I must sit at a chair and stare at a screen /
Yes sir no sir; soon time for tea / Well I feel like a wild thing trapped in
a snare. Céide can go wild at times, but grazing pleasant pastures in general.
I feel like sitting at the blazing peat fire on a windy day and I hope there
are much more fields to uncover.
Mick Conneely "Selkie"
Label: Clo Iar-Chonnachta;
CICD148; 2001; Playing time: 59.56 min
According to Irish/Scottish/Scandinavian legend, a selkie - half woman, half
seal - is able to discard her seal skin and come ashore as a beautiful maiden.
If one selkie lost her skin, they were doomed to remain in human form. Legend
has it that the Conneelys are descended from the seals. And like the selkie,
Mick Conneely (the website wasn't
online at the time of writing) rose from, no, not from obscurity (he's part
of Danish/Irish band ErrisLannan,
named after the homeplace of Mick's father in Connemara), but from pristine
waters and gives us the pure drop (in 1993 Mick was actually part of the "Pure
Irish Drops" tour with Micho
Russel and Tony MacMahon). Mick
plays fiddle, sometimes backing himself on Irish and Greek bouzouki. Niall
O Callanain adds some (Irish) bozuouki accompaniment and Mick Senior, a
fine traditional player himself, joins in on one track. Mick is steeped in Sligo
Music and cites as his biggest influence the legendary James
Morrison. Like a seal it's deeply rooted but at times full of wanderlust.
This is music with flesh and fur, and a rich diet consequently.
V/A "The Humours of Piping"
CDLDL 1299; 2001; Playing time: 52.57 min
The Uilleann Pipes originated in
the 18th century. Unlike most other bagpipes throughout Europe, the bag is inflated
by means of bellows operated by the elbow. The chanter is the main melody instrument
with a range of two octaves. The drones supply a continuous drone accompaniment.
The regulators are keyed chanters which are operated when chord accompaniment
is required. That's, shortly, the instrument. Putting together some young offshoots
is not a new idea. The late 1970's "Pipers
Rock" compilation displayed the talents of young Spillane
& Co. "The Humours of Piping" shows four All Ireland champions from the North
of the island. You would expect that pipes and drums set the tone. But, mind
you, way back in 1966 the Armagh Pipers'
Club set off to promote the civil variant of the war-like instrument. Claire
Byrne, Patrick Davey (Craobh Rua),
Barry Kerr (solo album "The Three
Sisters"), and Darragh Murphy (performed on Millennium Eve with Different
Drums on BBC TV, see also review below) are worth to get recognition. A
colourful collection of reels, jigs, hornpipes, slow airs, pleasant for your
ears, relaxed, and with guitar backing throughout. If you are into pipes, give
it a try. If you always wanted some, this is a nice mix.
Ronan Browne "The Wynd You Know"
Records; CC64CD; 2001; Playing time: 55.56 min
I am often asked the seemingly simple question: Why did you come to live
in this country?, says John Hurt and refers to the pipes, this most
complicated and impractical of instruments produces music that encompasses everything
that I feel about this country of Ireland. Making sounds that are huge, aggressive,
and wild. Primeval, lyrical, full of joy and pain, and on occasion humour. He
even manages to evoke the landscape that I love so much. Ronan
Browne (Riverdance, Afro
Celts, Cran, see FW#4)
delivers another gem. Piping solo, apart from a guest appearance of fiddler
Ní Dhomhnaill on the harmonium. It's the slow airs, that reveals the master's
touch, classics like "Eilionóir
a Rúin" (the tune with which harper Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh wooed his lady away)
or "An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig?" (Were you at the rock?; the debate is still
going on if it's a simple love song or is it meant to be the mass rock at times
when Catholic mass was prohibited by the Penal Laws). "If
I Were a Blackbird" is a song tune made popular by Ronan's grandmother Delia
Murphy, who was renowned for recording and popularising many Irish songs
in the 1930's and 40's (exactly born a hundred years ago, Feb 16, the day I
am putting this down). "Caoineadh Uí Néill" (Lament for O'Neill) keens the great
Hugh O'Neill, the "Lament
for the Wild Geese" was sung for Patrick
Sarsfield. Ronan also displays his art playing the wooden flute and an Indian
bamboo flute (bansuri). As Pat came over the hill, his cailín fair to see,
/ That whistling low but shrill, his signal's sure to be, / O Mary listen now
there is somebody whistling sure, / No mother it is the wynd you know, that's
whistling through the door.
Kevin Rowsome "The Rowsome Tradition"
Label: Kelero; 001; 1999; Playing time: 53.24
Five generations of uilleann piping: The Huguenot family "Rousome" came to Ireland
in the late 17th century and settled in Co. Wexford. Samuel
Rowsome of Ballintore (*1820), a prosperous farmer, introduced piping into
the clan, but it was piper and pipe maker Leo
Rowsome (1903-70) who is widely regarded as "Rí na bPíobairí" (King of Pipers).
Leo performed on the opening of Irish radio in 1926. He co-founded Cumann na
bPíobairí Uileann in 1934 and he recorded the very first LP for Claddagh
Records in 1959. His pupils make a hall of fame: Liam
Joe McKenna, Paddy
Peter Browne (Bothy Band,
Afro Celts), Gay
Purcell. The latest offspring of that talented family, Generation 5, grandson
Kevin Rowsome (Kevin
Rowsome) continues the family tradition. Kevin took his first lessons from
his grandfather when he was six years of age. "The Rowsome Tradition" presents
a terrific mix of classical pipe tunes, displaying delicate skills on both chanter
and regulators, joined occasionally by fiddler (and wife) Lorraine
Hickey and backed gently by bouzouki and guitar. Kevin plays a concert pitch
(D) set of pipes made by Leo about 1948 and a C-sharp pitched set made by great
about 1898. Boths sets were restored by German pipemaker Andreas
Rogge. Generations 3 and 4 provide six bonus tracks from the archives (1957-69):
grandfather Leo, father
Leon, and uncle Liam
Kevin Crehan "An Bhábóg sa Bhádóg"
Records; JACD0100; 2001; Playing time: 59.47 min
Kevin Crehan, as well, pays homage
to the great memory of his grandfather, in this case the renowned fiddler Martin
"Junior" Crehan (1908-99) from West Clare. Many of his tunes are firmly
established in the traditional music repertoire, such as "The
Mist Covered Mountain", "West
Clare Railway", "Farewell
to Miltown". A lifelong farmer, Junior played at house and crossroads dances,
American wakes, and weddings. He used to say that the country-house dances were
the universities of the music. So he was very upset about the "Dancehall
Act" from 1935 which forced the music out of domestic houses and the clergy
building the parochial halls with its modern dance bands. Junior put his grief
into his "Lament for the Country House Dance". Kevin eventually realized that
if his grandfather's tunes and style were to be preserved, he himself would
have to learn them and record them. So, Kevin went over from America and lived
with his grandparents in the summer of 1998. Junior died soon after. In the
graveside oration Muiris O Rocháin said: With the death of Junior Crehan
an era in the traditional life of West Clare has come to an end. Junior's
legacy is Kevin's "An Bhábóg sa Bhádóg" (i.e. doll in the boat, a lax reference
to the CD cover depicting Junior's shadow behind Kevin in the cradle), sixty
minutes of totally unaccompanied solo fiddle playing. Though a tribute, it is
performed with Kevin's own artistry. As Bobby Casey once told me, `Learn
from other people but make the music your own.' From Junior I wanted his sense
of rhythm and wonderful approach to melody and the sadness of his sound.
This touch is not only "lonesome", but magic. The tradition is going to continue.
J.A. Records/Kevin Crehan
Fling "The Blackbird"
CUP8016; 2001; Playing time: 46.14 min
Is there still someone left believing Irish music is a strictly indigenous thing
and foreigners are unable to produce real Irish music. Fling
is the living proof of the opposite. A "fling" is an Irish dance and a six-piece
band from the Lowlands of Holland. Their 2nd album "The
Blackbird" starts with the expressive air "Return to Clifden", written by
the group's piper. While the slower movements are quite orchestrated, the remaining
feed is a diet of Planxty
and the Bothy Band. Given
the line-up of uilleann pipes, flute, fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, keyboards, and
percussion, the instrumental sets remind of some Lúnasa
clones (nowhere more clearly than in the marching tune "Lord Mayo"). Songs include
the Scottish ballads "Mill O' Tifty's Annie" (aka "Andrew
Lammie") and "The
Blackbird" (of course), the Irish rebel song "The
Wind That Shakes the Barley" and "The
Next Market Day", as well as W.B. Yeats' "On
Woman" set to music. So, after all, piper Evertjan 't Hart takes it easy:
It's silly saying you can only sing opera properly if you are from Vienna.
Music & Words/-I-C-U-B4-T-
Peter Kerlin "Hear the Wind Howl"
Music; S.T.I.R. 202; 2002; Playing time: 50.40 min
After breaking up with the well-known German duo "Taters & Pie", it was "A
New Day Dawning" for Peter Kerlin,
when he took to the road again. Solo, but again Songs and Tunes from Irish
Roots. Peter sings and plays octave madolin with the warm feeling of the
70's, Siobhan Kennedy adds some flute, and mastermind Jens
Kommnick does the rest (guitar, pipes, and almost anything you can imagine).
Take a seat, relax, there is lot of time in Ireland. The instrumental tunes
are mostly inspired by landscape ("Leaving Ocean Point", "Off to Wremen", "Austrian
Lake", "Donegal Winds"). Peter is in a reflective mood: A man he was about
50, he greeted me hello, he might have been a classmate of mine so many years
ago; his hair was thin and greyish, oh God - did he loook old, I wondered what
he might have thought of me but I'm glad I wasn't told. He's poking fun
on shady tourist parties: Tourist attraction, fun, craic and action, full
satisfaction, it's all guarenteed, cause Paddy loves tourists, dark beer and
blond women, go live your dreams, admission is free ... You will feel like a
king, you're even welcome to sing German songs in a pub on St. Patrick's Day.
(I really made this experience.) Covers include "The
Holy Ground" by Gerry O'Beirne
and the traditional Scottish/English ballad "Geordie".
In the end: Music in fine company is such a precious thing ...
Peter Kerlin / S.T.I.R. Music
Different Drums of Ireland "New Day Dawning"
Label: Red Branch Records; 001; 2001; Playing
time: 41.12 min
Where lambeg drum and fife mingle with fiddle and guitars, I wrote
some time ago in a fit of hope. Seems to become true. Different
Drums of Ireland bring together the indigenous drums and traditions of Ireland.
The lambeg drum, I learned
the only European traditional drum music, best known from 12th of July
marches, meets the bodhran,
the heartbeat of traditional Irish music, not to mention tarbuca, djembe,
long drum, snare drum, plus some uilleann pipes, whistles and guitar. This is
no regiment's music at all. The traditional Irish reel "My
Love is in America", for example, gets a dancefloor treatment. Band leader
Ray Arbuckle offers some exquisite songs, e.g. the fine opener "Northern Man".
Hos own "Salmon Song" sounds like a Native American chant, in deed, he sings
as mesmeric as a didgeridoo. Different Drums have no trumpets to bring down
the walls of Jericho, but they are beating against walls separating communities
which are not to different anyway. I heard a wise woman say, the drum is
the heartbeat of our nations. Listen to my heartbeat.
Different Drums of Ireland
Bevel Jenny "Above The Clouds"
Jenny Records; BJRCD 001; 2000; Playing time: 48.03 min
Bevel Jenny "Still Searching"
Jenny Records; BJRCD 002; 2000; Playing time: 12.16 min
Traditional music is so strong and deeply rooted in Irish society, that it is
either strictly trad/folk and don't cross any musical boundaries at all, or
it is strictly pop/rock without digging traditional roots at all. Compared to
those more adventurous Scottish colleagues, there are rare exceptions in Ireland
who manage to play roots music in an ambient context. (Of course, there's Kila's
afropercussive trance folk or Deiseal's
folk jazz.) Listening to Bevel Jenny,
one would think of a Scottish band or musicians socialized in London or New
York. But no, they are really born and bred in Dublin. Bevel Jenny (The
Bevel which the dictionary describes as 'a rule with an adjustable arm, used
to measure or draw angles or to fix a surface at an angle'. The Spinning Jenny
is 'an early spinning machine having several spindles. So you could say that
it suggests the band's approach to music - they have approached something traditional
from an angle!) set off where Horslips
and Moving Hearts quit. The
first three tracks (which correspond to the CD single) introduce the style:
the original song "Still Searching", the "Castlekelly"
set, and the traditional Gaelic song "Raithneach, a Bhean Bheag" (see sound
samples). It's folksy pop and groovy, easygoing jazz. In front fiddle, pipes
and flutes (guest Eamonn
de Barra), backed by keyboards, guitar, bass and drum. It works really fine,
whatever the purists say: You can't mix them or else you have a mongrel,
only a noise, an obscene sound, a monster, a tortured musical zombie. (S.
Tansey) You don't mix Guinness and wine together, because you will make
a mess of two great things. (N. O'Grady) I would like to have more of this
lewd obscenity. And, mind you, there's "Black
Phamie Gow "Lammermuir"
CDTRAX 224; 2001; Playing time: 61.07 min
Hands across the divide. Trad meets classic. Phamie Gow (see also FW#19),
graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music
and Drama, has a sensibility for both worlds. Thus she wrote and performed
the orchestral piece "Lammermuir" at the Glasgow
Royal Concert Hall in January 2000, commissioned for the Celtic Connections Festival. Phamie's family cottage at the foot of the
Hills in Berwickshire was once owned by Lady John Scott (nee Alicia
Anne Spottiswoode, 1810-1900), famed for her passion for Scots poetry and
song, and author of some 70 songs, often rewritten older pieces, such as "Annie
and, yes, "Loch
Lomond". The year 2000 was the centenary of her death and it was the main
inspiration to write the sound track of the Scottish Borders. One secondary
inspiration being Gaetano
Donezetti's opera "Lucia di Lammermoor" (the tale of an arranged marriage
and the tragedy that follows, taken from Walter
Scott's "The Bride
of Lammermoor"). Phamie herself sings and plays clarsach (harp) and piano.
She is joined on stage by Alasdair Fraser (fiddle) and Eric Rigler (uilleann
pipes) of Skydance, vocalists Patsy Seddon
Poozies) and Mairi Campbell (The
Cast), Amanda Davies (Cor Anglais, oboe), Mike Ghia (cello), and James Ross
More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 -
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More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page
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