Issue 26 10/2003
FolkWorld CD Reviews
Chris Conway " My mind's island / Alien salad
Label: a new day; andcd 96 / andcd 57.; 2002
Chris Conway is a US born musician who has not been unknown in the British folk
scene. He played with Fairport, Jethro Tull, Talvin Sigh, Roy Wood and many
others. He just released two cd's in the same year. The first is called alien
salad abduction and the second one My mind's island. Conway's style is singer/songwriter
with a good folkrock touch. He gets help from Vikki Clayton and a whole group
of good musicians. His cd My mind's island is I think the most popular one of
the two. Nice songs brought in a relax and professional way. His voice is nice
to listen to and he arranged his original songs into catchy pieces of music.
Sometimes with only guitar but mostly with band. Strong fact is that even with
band his music still sounds small and honest. Alien salad abduction has the
same ingredients but has a less serious undertone. He experiences more with
sounds and his arrangements are more adventures. Suddenly he also sounds much
more modern, did he put more pleasure in this album than in the other one? The
sound is just a little bit better. Both albums show a talented and singer songwriter
who brings his music with fantasy and the right feeling. Both cd's are welcome
additions to my collection.
Geyers "Und dein roter mund"
Label: own; 2003; Playing time: 60.53 min
The German band Geyers present themselves as a medieval music group. In many
way that is exactly what the group is, although they arrange their music in
a more modern way. What immediately gets noticed is the good sound quality of
the cd. You can hear each instruments in a very pure and intense way. The instruments
they use are Nyckelharpa, Hurdy gurdy, flutes, bagpipes, guitar, percussion
and much more. Nice male vocals, sometimes a bit cliché lyrics when they sing
their own texts, but never over the top. Thomas Roth has a very nice, warm voice
which is a pleasure to listen to. Don't expect energetic music, this is more
the kind of cd you sit down and listen to. The band knows what they are doing
and wont make sudden unexpected moves.
001.; 2002; Playing time: 49.54 min
Nada is a new group of musicians from Belgium and Tunisia who already were known
for their outstanding musical quality. They bring a mixture of Arabic, Indian
and European music tradition in an experimental way. Included in the group are
the Tunisian vocalist Ghalia Benali, who already impressed with her cd Wild
harissa, Luc de Gezell, worked with the Olla vogala group, Tom Theuns, member
of Belgium's top-group Ambrozijn, Bert Cornelis and Pierre Narcisse. Nada goes
much further than building bridges between the different cultures. Both in the
traditionals and their original material they experiment with rhythms and melody
in such a way that the cd has a big psychedelic touch. Fantastic example of
this is the song Wisser which is hypnotising me with strange sounds, voices
and screams, besides a nice sitar melody. Nada's debut album is not just another
cd with crossover roots music but more a musical experiment with a fascinating
Various artists "The secret power of the singing
3-933825-26-1.; 2002; Playing time: 75.37 min
I think by now we all now the secret power of music. Traumzeit label gives us
The secret power of bowls from Tibet, India, Japan, China and Canada. Sometimes
helped by instruments such as Gong drum, didgeridoo, conch shelle and the sound
of streaming water, this cd helps you to relax and fall in a very nice dreamy
sleep. Nothing more, nothing less.
Various artists " Vencermos!"
call; 3085542.; 2003; Playing time: 56.24 min
It is exactly thirty years ago Pinochet took over the regime in Chile by military
violence. On 13 September, bullets killed the president Salvador Allende and
Chile became a military state. Because of the celebration of his dying day Angel
Parra compiled a beautiful cd together with Isabel Parra, Mauro Di Domenico,
Ventischka, Hak & Mouss and Victor Jara. They bring beautiful but also tragically
Chilean music. It tells about the history, politics of this nation. I love the
opening Allende presidente in which Angel Parra bring Allende back to live in
a modern and strong way. He mixes modern beats with the voice of Allende, his
own intense singing and guitar play. He is followed by an original speech by
Allende which was recorded on the 11th of September 1973. Besides this highlight
of the cd, there are many intense moments. Poems that get recited, intimate
songs and instrumentals. This cd gives me a feeling of history for which I'm
to young to remember I was only 1 years old at 13 September 2003 but which was
brought back to my attention by Vencermos.
Van Langen " Ask the runes / Des Teufels Lockvogel"
Label: private release; 2002; Playing time:
For me an unknown band this Van Langen. The info sounds good, ancient instruments,
medieval atmosphere played mixed with rockmusic. The first cd to review by them
is a 1997 mini-cd which is called Ask the runes I'm going to do this very shortly
because their later cd Des teufels lockvogel shows that the group has much more
to offer than can be heard on the 1997 cd. It's just nice, but a bit uncontrolled
and lyrics like where do we come from where do we go, what is the answer I want
to know... just not make me very happy. But thank god they also send me some
later work to review, their cd Des Teufels lockvogel. The sound got much better
and the group manages to really make me listen with nice mix of raw male vocals,
sweet female vocals, flutes, percussion and guitars. The songs have the atmosphere
of long lost songs that tell about far gone times. a bit simple of structure
but very effective. My favourite still, is the opening track Katerlynn, which
is so full of tension that it gives me an overwhelming feeling of being blown
of my chair. It reminds of Ougenweide but also of a straight on, no tricks metal
band. If the band develops like it did the past years I would love to review
their newer cd's, I'm sure the band gets even better in each year it exist.
Linde Nijland " sings Sandy Denny"
Label: realharm; 200320.; 2003; Playing time:
Linde Nijland is one of the two members of the Dutch band Ygdrassil. She grew
up with the music of Sandy Denny and for many years she had the idea of doing
a solo project in which she wanted to sing songs that have been sung by Deny
in the past. Now, 25 years after the death of Sandy, the cd is released and
Linde has been giving the first concerts with her project. Everybody knows it's
a big risk to record songs by sandy Denny. Her own, intense way of singing is
impossible to copy and thank god Linde knows that. With respect for Sandy, Linde
sings the songs in her own way. With help of four musician including members
of the Dutch group Torf she managed to record eleven songs which are really
impressive. Songs like, the sea, what is true, this train, sweet rosemary and
many others are brought with feeling and respect. Linde impresses with her clear
vocals, although not as full and to the heart as Sandy Denny, Linde knows how
to catch my attention and at some moments even make my skin go cold. I think
all sandy Denny fans remember the Vikki Clayton cd It suits me well on which
she sings Sandy Denny songs. Clayton even worked with Fairport but I have to
say that she is over-classed by this, for outside Holland, Unknown young vocalist.
Visit the webpage to order the cd.
Foo Foo Band " Heren van zes weken"
Label: Pan; 204.; 2003; Playing time: 45.24
The Dutch Foo Foo band is specialist in sailors songs. Their latest cd Heren
van zes weken tells about the life of the sailors life in the time of the VOC
about 400 years ago. The sailors of the VOC united East-India company sailed
to far countries like Africa, India, Japan and Indonesia and they made Holland
one of the most powerful sailing countries from that time. The foo foo band
sings about all the facts of the sailors lives. The hard life on board, how
it feels to be far from your beloved once for months and months etc. The songs
are traditional and brought with solo, harmony male and female vocals, guitar,
flutes, accordion, violin and other instruments. The group contains members
of the known Dutch group Crackerhash and also Peter Koene (see two issues of
FolkWorld ago for an interview). The cd has sober arrangements and although I
prefer the ballads like anna Katryn also the other songs are very nice. Foo
foo band shows what rich tradition the Netherlands have although most Dutch
don't know that. Experience the traditional sailors music of the lowlands and
order the cd : email@example.com
Mariachi dos mundos "El jugador"
Musik; cd41.; 2002; Playing time:64.06 min
Mariachi dos mundos is a band playing Latin music mixed with several styles
such as Tex-Mex, bolero, polka, tango, salsa and many other styles. The songs
are original but of course brought with a lot of Latin tradition. I find the
cd El jugador very enjoyable. Their music has a feel good sound and the atmosphere
of beautiful memories. From start to the end the cd is in perfect balance, the
musicians know what their doing and play with the different styles in such a
way that sometimes they manage to create a complete own sound. Although I'm
absolutely not in to Latin music, this cd has been played several times last
weeks just because of it's quality and strong atmosphere. I'm sure a Latin freak
will review this cd in a totally different way. I can only say that I enjoy
El Jugador very much.
Paul Vens " the white lake / open"
Label: private; v700 / v803.; 2003
The Dutch musician Paul Vens started to play in several rockbands playing material
of artists such as Dylan, Ian Matthews, JJ cale etc. after a motor accident
he choose for the more personal and softer kind of music which gave him an contract
on the Dutch Munich label on which he recorded his first LP. For over 25 years
Vens has been singing and travelling around with his original music and up to
now he has recorded ten albums from which Open is the last one. I will start
with his older cd The white lake which has a stunning opening song. The Backyard
in which Vens sings a duet with Marita Damen, is a very intense folksong of
a beauty that is so rarely found. Although all the songs on this cd have a peaceful
and relaxing atmosphere, they never get at the same height as this opening song.
Vens sings small songs from his heart. Each song is nice to listen to but it's
only on occasion like The backyard that his music gets more than nice, personal
songs. What I don't like, and that's more a personal problem of me, is the sound
of keyboard drums like in Course of the river. His most recent cd open has also
a strong opening song. The spirit of Tibet with nice flute and again Marita
Damen on background vocals. Again this song jumps above the average quality
and can measure it self with he best English folksongs. But like on The white
lakes the most other cd's are nice but don't get to the level of the opening
track. Or it must be Blue troubadour which is another highlight on this cd.
Open has a more richer sound with some more eastern influences in the music.
I can understand why people will enjoy the music of Paul Vens, personally I
hope he makes a cd with only opening tracks. If he does that I'm sure he will
be loved by so many more people. Now I place him somewhere above the middle
with accidentally a top song.
Zapf'nstreich " MMII"
Label: Pantaleon; 10203.; 2002; Playing time:
zapf' nstreich is a group from Bavaria that plays music from that region and
the rest of the world. The four musicians play over 20 instruments not at the
same time. They put Chopin next to traditionals and even in songs they sometimes
use other known melodies. The band has an open sound in which the harp takes
a central role. They play with Caribbean, European, far-east music as if all
these styles come from the same source. All songs are done nice and very decently,
never really exciting. I do miss a bit of fire in the music, a bit of experimenting.
Now it's al so brave and without any risk. No problem, they do it in a technically
very strong way but.....just....a...bit...more...of...guts would really help
making the music even more enjoyable.
Dave Swarbrick "Swarb! forty years of folk's
Label: Free Reed; frqcd 45.; 2003; Playing
time: 240.00++ min
The free reed label already exist for many years and they issued many fine lp's
and cd's. One of their latest work was the very nice Fairport box now followed
by a 4-cd box of the known fiddler Dave Swarbrick. Swarbrick, already known
in the sixties for his work Ian Campbell and Martin Carthy, got famous after
he joined the Fairport convention. The cd box contains four cd's all with a
theme. Cd 1 is for duo and contains many rare recordings of songs he played
with artists such as Martin Carthy, Bert Lloyd, Trevor Lucas, Ralph Mctell and
many others. Some of the recordings come from old topic records, most tracks
are taken from Swarbricks personal archive. Always nice for such box sets are
the different recordings of known songs, like a 1992 version of the Fairport
classic White dress. The second cd is Collaborations on which you can hear him
with Fairport, Ian Campbell folkgroup, and Whippersnaper. again many personal
archive tracks but also some very early tv registrations from the Ian Campbell
group. The third cd is for extra's on which he put special recordings . Like
a very rare Ewan MacColl track from 1961, 1971 live Tamlinn in Stockholm and
more recently live material. The fourth cd is for Swarb and contains over twenty
important songs from his whole career. This cd gives an overview of his impressive
career again with many unique recordings. For any Swarbrick, English folk, Fairport
fan this box is a must although I do find the quality of some tracks from his
personal archive not that good. I know that people want unique material but
sometimes maybe it's better to choose for the known version. A pure historical
document with 45 years great fiddling.
Peter Grafen "Manchmal"
The German singer Peter Grafen has recorded his new cd Manchmal with the help
of a big group of musicians. On his own label he brings his personal music and
lyrics. The cd starts with Kinder on which he gets help from a children's choir.
This song has a very nice violin/flute/sax arrangement but who has put this
terribly disturbing electronic bass sound through the song? It's a pity because
it takes away all the atmosphere of the song and turns it into a cheap commercial
product. That's stays that way the whole cd, good string and flute arrangements
but....sometimes such irritating rhythms. Also the sound quality of the songs
is not always a pleasure to hear. In was hatte ich getan the sound engineer
putted a disturbing echo on the vocals. This makes the lyrics harder to understand
and turns the music into a soup of sound instead of a friendly co-operation
between good musicians. But on the other hand, the use of organ in this song
is a golden idea. This is just some remarks on the first two songs and unfortunately
I would be able to write something about each of these songs. For me personally
I see this cd as a missed change. Sometimes I hear something really nice, but
it's always followed with exactly the opposite choice I would make to create
a strong song. This Manchmal cd is just to unbalanced, to chaotic to really
catching the attention of my mind.
Huun huur tu "more live"
4246-2.; 2002; Playing time: 50.38 min
Huun huur tu was one of the first Throat singing groups that got known outside
Tuva. They have been pioneers for many years and their early records really
brought something new to the western world. Unfortunately for them they have
been over-classed by newer groups like the Tuva rock group Yat-kha and the more
traditional group Egschiglen. That can be heard on this more live album. Were
Egschiglen and Yat-Kha try new paths, Huun huur tu makes still the same music
as many years ago. Still nice, but absolutely not surprising anymore. I also
don't understand why there must be a more live cd, the first live cd was nice
and offered more than enough. This more live doesn't add anything to the previous
cd's. Still they are masters of Tuva music but I do prefer to hear their early
works that came as a chock to me at that time. I do hope on a next studio cd
Huun huur tu uses more fantasy and I wish they will make me feel sorry for the
remark that they have been over-classed by the two other mentioned bands.
Adrianne Greenbaum "Fleytmuzik"
Label: private; 2003; Playing time: 56.44
Adrianne Greenbaum is a national acclaimed flutist from the US who is specialised
in both classical and klezmer music. She has been playing solo in many concert
halls and she also is professor of flute on a college. She has been recorded
before on several label and she issued a solo cd with flute solo's called Sounds
of America. She is also the founder and leader of a klezmer band and gives master-classes
in klezmer music for flute. On this cd Fleytmuzik she presents klezmer music
for flute helped by Cookie Segelstein on violin, Joshua Horowitz on tsimbl and
Marty Confurius on bass. They bring 21 tunes mostly traditional from several
important collections. Indeed Adrianne is a master on the flute and without
any problem she knows how to interpretate the klezmer music in a professional
and personal way. Because of the good co-operation with the other musicians
she creates a full sound and each song is a pleasure to listen to. Besides that
the musicians manage to make all tunes sound like they were meant to be together
on a cd. They are not just fragments but brought together in such a professional
way that Fleytmuzik sounds like one piece of music of almost an hour that is
a pleasure to hear.
Michael Weston King "a decent man"
world; fw016.; 2003; Playing time: 48.27 min
The biggest music discovery for me personally this year is the whole scene around
Jackie Leven an Michael Weston King. It started with Leven his last album which
just knocked me out and still is one of my favourite to listen to. when I put
on this Weston King cd A decent man for the first time it gave me almost the
same feeling. Immediately I recognised the hand of Leven in the way he produced
the album but besides of that the singing and song writing of Michael Weston
King put me in a good mood again. His songs has this feeling like knowing them
for years. They feel like coming home, a feeling that I also experienced with
the Leven cd. Not many musicians can reach such a strong sound with just plane,
sober songs. Inspired by and I quote old country, New country and not-quite-country.
Michael weston King's songs and I quote again they can be country songs, pop
songs, rock songs or ballads. They are simply wonderful songs. why these quotes?
Cant I be a bit more creative? No. with this cd I also got a book called Beautiful
lies the songs of Michael weston King. He gets introduced by Nick Dalton and
Nick says it all. This book contains some of his finest songs with both guitar
tabs and melody line and of course the lyrics. It can be ordered at www.twah.de.
Do me a favour and keep an eye out for both Jackie Leven and Michael Weston
King. But because this is a review of Weston king's cd, keep a bigger eye out
for this cd A decent man it's worth your attention!
Urban Trad " Sanomi"
Label: universal; 9865427.; 2003; Playing
time: 51.37 min
A lot happened to the Belgian band Urban trad in the last half year. Already
with their first cd One of four they got some attention with their mix of European
folk and urban beats but now with their new cd Sanomi they reach new heights.
I don't know the whole story behind it I and you will know the whole story behind
it because there will be an interview with urban trad in the next folkworld
But suddenly I find myself watching the Eurovision song-contest and I was about
to fall asleep when Urban trad got on to stage. I did know they would be along,
reading a lot of criticism in several media about the band, nobody thought this
would be a success, but after their performance I already got the feeling that
the critics probably were wrong. Urban trad woke me up with a nice folk-pop
tune which was definitely better than the winning Sertab and should have brought
the festival back to Belgium. Now, the new album is out and the band gets the
attention they deserve. sanomi is a cd with 14 pleasant folk-pop songs with
influences out of the Celtic music from all around Europe. Mixing bagpipe, accordion,
violin, whistles and many other instruments with these so called " urban beats".
a few nice female vocalists and the band delivered one of the most commercial
folk record I've heard in a long time. On one o four the band was still searching
for it's own sound and experimented more with beats and melody. Her on sanomi
they managed to get everything in perfect balance and they show to be a professional
band. This is such a cd that some people will call too commercial, I say this
is such a cd that will be enjoyed by many people and brings some folk on places
where it otherwise never would have come. WATCH THE NEXT FOLKWORLD ISSUE: Not
only an interview with Urban trad but also the Urban trad contest, you can win
their new cd!
shd66.; 2003; Playing time: 53.15 min
When I last spoke with Henk Scholte from the Dutch band Torf see this folkworld
for an interview he was just about to leave to the Faeroe Islands. 'Eelco" He
said, 'How is it possible that such a small country has so many good musicians?'
I told him I really dont know but that it is a remarkable fact. Already for
more than 25 years the Tutl label issues records and cd's in the jazz and folk
vein and still they manage to come with music that matters. One of the most
important bands from the Faeroe islands is Spælimenninir which also exist for
more than 25 years. From the start they have been playing traditional music
from the North and their north includes whole Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland,
Canada and the US. But also they bring original songs in a traditional atmosphere.
The seventeen tunes on this new cd's are acoustic traditional folk in new arrangements.
The fact that there are also some jazz musicians in the band makes that some
songs have a slight different approach than you would normally expect from a
traditional Scandinavian band. Besides the piano the band has the fiddle, recorder,
mandolin, guitar, harmonium and bass as instruments. Actually Malargrot is exactly
what the band has been doing for the last 25 years. Keeping the Nordic tradition
alive, lets hope they will do this for many years to come.
Mat Walklate "Harmonica & Flute"
Label: Own label; KLATECD02; 2003; Playing
time: 55.38 min
Mat Walklate is a Manchester-based
musician. He took up the harmonica and the whistle at the age of 16, and when
leaving Manchester University he took up music as a career. An accomplished
laddie. Mat won the Burnley Blues-harp contest in 1992 and in the following
year he was All-Britain Fleadh champion. He's a member of several blues and
jazz bands plus a folk and a ceili band. Now this disc is entirely devoted to
traditional Irish music. Thanks to double-tracking Mat can be heard on harmonica
and flute at the same time, with some help by Seamus "Skirm" Curley (guitar),
Sean Regan (mandola) and Cormac Byrne (bodhran). The mouthie - here chromatic,
diatonic and tremolo harmonicas - is rarely heard, let alone in combination
with flute, though there has been a number of competent players, such as Mick
Kinsella (-> FW#9) and Paul Moran (-> FW#25).
Mat plays it virtuous as well, and he plays an excellent selection of tunes.
Two songs, the traditional ballad "The False Young Man" and his own "Paper and
Tin" are less worth mentioning, but that's something you can skip. The rest,
including his own jigs and reels, is recommendable.
Richie Dwyer "In A Creative Mood"
Label: Cailroe Records; 2002; Playing time:
The Dwyers from the Beara peninsula in the utmost west of Ireland are known
for their music. Mother Dwyer was a renowned concertina player. Michael Dwyer
plays the whistle and Finbarr the accordion. Richie Dwyer performs on accordion
and fiddle. He hadn’t recorded until now, but was (and still is) famed for his
own compositions. Richie's tunes can be heard on recordings of box players like
Sharon Shannon and Joe
Burke, and are good enough for whistle and fiddle player Mary
Bergin and Frankie Gavin,
respectively, and bands like Wolfstone
(-> FW#2) and Siúcra
(see review above). Richie surely was in a creative mood again. Accompanied
only by Michael O'Rourke on piano, he plays accordion (except one rather strange
fiddle track). All tunes are original, jigs and reels without exception, no
slides and polkas though Beara is bisected by the Cork and Kerry border. The
cover picture shows Richie walking down the road, which is the main street of
Eyeries, I guess, assuming from the beautiful coloured houses. Richie's tune
also have different colours, green as the meadows and blue as the sea. The playing
is tight, and I'm sure I will hear one tune or another in the next session.
More English CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page
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More German CD Reviews: Page 1 - Page
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