Issue 22 06/2002

FolkWorld CD ReviewsDog

Egschiglen " Zazal"
Label: Dunya/felmay; 8037; 2002; Playing time: 62.09 min
From Mongolia comes a new fantastic cd by the group Egschiglen. Although they are not as known as Huun Huur tu and Yat-kha, this group is at least as good as both of these bands. Their last cd was released five years ago and for me that cd was my first meeting with the Mongolian traditional music. Their new cd Zazal is a masterpiece and a big leap forward comparing with their last cd. Fresh arrangements and a strong mixture between tradition and modern acoustic music. Besides their famous singing techniques they use traditional instruments such as the Morin khuur, a horse-headed violin which is played like a cello, the Yoochin which relates to the dulcimer and the Thobshuur which is a two-string lute. Their music is sometimes hypnotising like in the song Yamaanii boodog which consists of the Khoomi chant sounding like they swallowed a few flutes, and intriguing rhythms. Egschiglen also has a female singer which is rather unique, at least I hardly ever heard a female singer in traditional Mongolian music before. The album is very friendly for the ear and can also be enjoyed by people who would like to be introduced to the intriguing music of Mongolia. I had to wait five years for their new album but it's more than worth waiting for. Egschiglen delivered the best album of 2002 so far.
Eelco Schilder
Zhongxi Wu and Karen Wei-Min Wong " By the river water"
Label: Global village; 2505; 2001; Playing time: 42.31 min
What I like so much about Chinese traditional music is that it often stands so close to people's live and all aspects of nature. Also on this cd the tunes are traditional and they have names such as: Bowlegged chicken, a stalk of flowers or A hundred birds pay homage to the Phoenix. The titles tell exactly what you will hear. In the last mentioned song you hear all kinds of birds passing by. The second song By the river waters has the atmosphere of a beautiful old river that finds its way to a great landscape. Special is how the songs can have two melody lines without bothering each other. It's like one musician is playing in the room where I'm sitting and typing this review and the other musician is in another room playing his own tune. The music sounds very light and is sometimes almost funny. Wu and Wei-Min Wong are two higly skilled musicians who make this album a very pleasant one to listen.
Eelco Schilder
Michael Weston King " Live in Dinky town"
Label: Twah; 121; 2002; Playing time: 59.22 min
Michael Weston King is a singer-songwriter in the tradition of Tim Hardin and Phil Ochs. According to his biog he has been touring around Europe and the US during the last three years. He shared the stage with great names such as Nick Cave and Ron Sexsmith. This live cd contains several live recordings from all kind of sessions. With this live album he shows that he has a great talent for writing small and personal songs. Mathilda is in my opinion a classic song already and the beautiful Tim Hardin 65 says enough. In this song he shows deep respect for Mr Hardin himself. Weston King is a singer songwriter that deserves our respect and attention. This sixth solo album hopefully gives him more fans world-wide.
Eelco Schilder

Paul Joses " Gold in a muddy river"
Label: Ozella music ; 4403; 2002; Playing time: 36.01 min
This is the third cd I review in the past two years by the Paul Joses. Especially his last album: Calling the boatman impressed me a lot. His new cd Gold in a muddy river has the same atmosphere as the boatman cd. Moody, almost romantic songs with friendly lyrics. Joses guitar playing is very fine and fits perfect to his emotional way of singing. Again he recorded thirteen fine songs and brings them in a very melancholic way. He gets the help of an interesting group of musicians who all have a supporting role and never take to much space. Gold in a muddy river is a balanced new step and will definitely be enjoyed by all Paul Joses fan's. If you know Paul Joses from his early cd's and that wasn't your style, give him a new chance. Maybe his new cd might convince you that his music became much more personal and of a high level.
Eelco Schilder

Banda Ionica " Matri mia"
Label: Dunya/felmay; 8050; 2002; Playing time: 45.44 min
The Italian Dunya label just released a new Italian production. Matri Mia , the new album by Banda Ionica. With Matri mia the founders of Banda Ionica wanted to break with traditional schemes and forced themselves, the guest-musicians and producers to think in a different way. On this album some well-known musicians can be heard like Josh Sanfelici Mau Mau. The cd contains a mixture of traditional music from the south of Italy, brass-music and the atmosphere of a good Italian cult movie. Main ingredients are the vocals of various singers and the sound of brass-instruments. The cd sounds like an intense musical adventure. The songs are both realistic but create an impressive imaginary world. Sometimes it almost sound like a classical orchestra like in Ombra sacra while on other moments it's like the local Fanfare is walking through the streets of a small Italian village. Beautiful new album from the heart of the Italian music scene which is more alive than ever.
Eelco Schilder
Marilyn Lerner & David Wall " Still soft voiced heart"
Label: Traditional crossroads; 80702-4310-2.; 2001; Playing time: 46.23 min
Marilyn Lerner and David Wall sing Yiddish poetry set to music. They use material of 20th century poets and they both composed the music that supported the poems. Lerner plays the piano while David sings which gives the cd a very classical and intimate atmosphere. The booklet contains English translations of the poems which gives a good picture of the 20th century. These translations help me through the cd. The poems are most important and because I do not speak the Yiddish language I need the translations to find the soul of the songs. The cd is interesting for everybody who is interested in both Yiddish music and literature. The album is not an easy one to listen to and needs patience and the will to understand what these musicians are doing.
Eelco Schilder
Cliar " Lasair Dhe"
Label: Macmeanmna; skyecd19; 2001; Playing time: 70.57
Together with a Gaelic choir and a few guest musicians the group Cliar recorded a celebration to Spiritual Gaelic music. The English title of the album is Flame of god, which says enough. The album contains several psalms and has a very classical approach. The big choir, classical solo vocalists make this cd very pure and sound like a big but intimate celebration of spiritual happiness. The songs sound very sweet and this album never surprises For sixteen songs long everything goes exactly like you think it will go. Very nice music for the moments I like to relax and think about the things that happened during my short life. Otherwise this is not my kind of music but I'm sure many others will love this cd a lot.
Eelco Schilder
Sharron Kraus " Beautiful twisted"
Label: Cameraobscura; 050.; 2002; Playing time: 46.17 min
Totally surprised was I when I heard the cd Beautiful Twisted by Sharron Kraus. I never heard of her before and after hearing the cd for the first time I'm very sorry that I didn't hear her music before. Beautiful Twisted is a fresh album in the style of the old English folk-music known from artists like Shirley Collins and Anne Briggs. Although her style does remind of the young Shirley Collins, Sharron Kraus reminded me more of the Appalachian dulcimer player and singer Jean Ritchie on her album Clear waters remembered. The songs are self-written but if somebody would have told me that they were traditionals I would have believed it. Sharron accompanies herself on the banjo and occasionally on guitar and whistle. In Godstow she even managed to let the whistle sound like it should sound, just slightly out of tune but perfect in balance with the music. I cant say I have favourite songs on this album, each of the eleven songs are strong and intriguing pieces of English singer songwriter music in the rich tradition of English folk-music. Even the lyrics are of good quality. This album will not only be loved by people who are already familiar to this music, Sharron opens the door to a younger and new public. I cant find the right words to express my enthusiasm about this album. BUY IT!!!
Eelco Schilder
Nadia Birkenstock " Emerald isles"
Label: ssi records; 101.; 2001; Playing time: 48.44 min
Nadia Birkenstock is a young, talented harpist from Germany. She had her education on harp from the American Kim Robertson and the Scottish Bill Taylor. She plays besides music from the middle ages also baroque and renaissance music. On her new cd emerald isles she plays music from the Celtic tradition. Some well-known traditionals such as The cuckoo and She moved through the fair but also recent songs such as Sydney Carters Lord of the dance and self written tunes. The music of Nadia is very sweet and technically of a high level. She doesn't surprise with new arrangements but plays the songs in a traditional and adequate way. This record is of standard quality and is open to a big audience.
Eelco Schilder

Toni Geiling " Sun, appletree, bumble bee, moon"
Label: own; nr.; 2001; Playing time: 42.29 min
The singer songwriter Toni Geiling creates music with roots in many western cultures. Although his music is in English and he seems to be inspired most of all by Celtic folkmusic, I often hear influences from other parts of Europe or even further from home. His cd begins with a song called Dracula and according to himself we should not take this song too serious. Nevertheless it's a funny ballad about this legend. Personally I prefer his more serious songs like Laid down which has an air of happiness but with a serious undertone. His instrumental tracks are of a happy nature and a pleasure to listen to. Sun, Appletree, bumble bee, moon are words that I associate with spring and summer and that is exactly the atmosphere Toni Geiling manages to create with his fine music.
Eelco Schilder

Mikveh " Mikveh"
Label: Traditional crossroads; 80702-4305-2; 2001; Playing time: 56.18 min
Mikveh is a group of five musicians from the international Klezmer scene. Included in this group are Violinist Alicia Svigals and Clarinetist Margot Leverett who were both two of the founders of the well-known group Klezmatics. They are joined by jazz musician Nicki Parrott, Accordionist Lauren Brody and vocalist Adrienne Cooper. On this new cd they sing a combination of ancient and new Jewish songs, English songs and klezmer melodies. The cd starts highly intense with the song Royz royz. The vocalist sings sad and in a very convincing way. How different is the second song heart of the world. This song has more power and strong harmony vocals. This cd stays like it started. A variety of nice ballads and more cheerful tunes. Strong vocals although on moments the vocals sound a bit unsure about their own capability. In my opinion this cd is very nice. I can't say it's a masterpiece but it's definitely a good solid album.
Eelco Schilder

Nice noise " Blue"
Label: Own ; nr.; 2002; Playing time: 22.31 min
Nice noise is a German band singing English music in folkrock tradition. They mix an eighties pop-sound with influences from the golden period of progressive folkmusic beginning 70's Unfortunately the cd is not very well produced. The vocals which are very nice sound like they've been filtered or recorded on a strange kind of microphone. That is a pity because this group has something to offer. The title song Blue shows their quality, nice arrangements and this song really keeps my attention. I think that Nice noise needs to grow a bit further and should record a new cd at the end of 2003. That gives them the time to search for their own sound and direction. They have got the right potential, now lets wait and see what the future will bring. I'm looking forward to hear their next cd.
Eelco Schilder

Bernardo Sandoval " Hoy"
Label: Plane/aris ; 21931662.; 2002; Playing time: 28.20 min
Bernardo Sandoval is described as a musician from France, terrible perfectionist, a poet and a musician on the edge of flamenco music. His cd Hoy is a very moody album with intense and emotional music. His music is a mixture of styles from different parts of the world. He mixes it with jazz and the emotion of Spanish chansons. His guitar music is very careful and precise and he sings as if he only dares to whisper the things he wants to share with his audience. Some songs have a touch of South-America while others have a more African mood. This album sounds like one long song. Each new song fits perfectly into the other and it's almost like he is telling a long bedtime story. This album should be heard and contains intense music which is so rarely found these days.
Eelco Schilder
Angelite " Balkan passions"
Label: Jaro ; 4234-2; 2002; Playing time: 53.37 min
I think that the Bulgarian voices of Angelite do not need much introduction. They are probably one of the most famous choirs world-wide. They contributed to several projects and recorded some interesting cd's. Angelite has never been afraid to find new musical roads and besides traditional also recorded a cd mixed with modern beats. Their latest cd Balkan passions is a traditional album that shows the quality of this choir in all its beauty. They co-operate with Fanfare ciocarlia, the Turkish star Sezen Aksu, Okay Temiz and the legendary Maria Farantouri. Personally I prefer their co-operation with Fanfare Ciocarlia and I think it's a pity that they recorded only two songs together and these songs both can be heard at the beginning of the album. This co-operation gives Angelite extra power and brings the right variety on this album. The other "co-operation" songs can be heard at the end of the album and in between Angelite brings twelve songs by themselves. These songs are of great quality and I enjoy them very much but they are not new and the sound is known from their earlier albums. That's why it's such a pity that they didn't record more with the Fanfare Ciocarlia, it would have made this album the best Bulgarian album ever!
Eelco Schilder

Label: Zaiks Biem; No. JSCD001; 2000; Playing time: 51.58 min
This is one of the most impressive and enjoyable CDs of Polish music I have heard to date. Founded in 1996, the band Muzykanci from Cracow has won already a range of folk music awards in Poland, such as Grand Prize at both the "New Traditions '99" and at "Eurofolk '99", and the "Folk Recording of the year 1999" in Poland.
Muzykanci's music is mainly rooted in Polish folk traditions, yet the band incorporates elements of other Eastern European music traditions, such as trans-carpathian, slavic, Galician Gypsy and Jewish traditions. There is an immense drive in the music, the CD transfers very well the joy that these musicians have in playing. The band features four highly talented musicians: Joanna Slowinska sings and plays fiddle, Jan Slowinski sings and plays fiddle, viola and folk bass, Alicja Halas plays the folk drum from the Lublin area, and Jacek Halas sings and plays accordion, hurdy gurdy, folk bass and gardon. The CD presents several Polish folk favourites known from other bands. The interpretation is of highest quality; a particular appeal is the mixture of male and a strong female voice. The instrumental arrangements are impressive, featuring excellent fiddle arrangements, as well as magnificent inputs by accordion and hurdy gurdy.
Energetic music that makes you want to listen to more and more of this music. A must!
Michael Moll

More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5
More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page 2
Overview: CD Review Contents

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 06/2002

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