FolkWorld's best CDs 2004
(Editors & Contributors' Choices)

Chris Stout, photo by The MollisThe editors' choice

FolkWorld's editors, Michael & Christian Moll, picked out 10 CDs out of the piles of albums that have arrived at FolkWorld in 2004 as their 10 favourites - as usual, the choice is subjective.

  1. The best CD of 2004:
    Chris Stout "First o' the Darkenin'"
    The Shetland fiddler Chris Stout created with this CD a masterpiece from the first minute to the last. He has managed with this album to further develop Shetland folk music, in a modern way, but always staying true to the tradition. Plenty experimenting, resulting in exciting arrangements, and allowing the listener to discover new aspects to the music even after having listened to the album for plenty of times. His superb band, featuring Fraser Fifield on sax, harpist Catriona McKay, guitarist Malcolm Stitt, and Euan Vernal on bass, are at their very best, and fully succeed in implementing Chris Stout's ideas. A captivating album full of highlights, an album that will no doubt succeed the test of time. One of the most wonderful albums of recent times, superb to listen to again and again and again.
    Read the FolkWorld review and a live review of the Chris Stout Band in Edinburgh
    Photo: Chris Stout in Edinburgh Nov 2004, by The Mollis

  2. The second best CD of 2004:
    Karen + Helene "solen"
    This is a spectacular release - probably the first CD bringing traditional Danish songs to major attention not only of the Danish, but also international media. Karen Mose and Helene Blum have everything it takes to make traditional songs attractive to a wide audience - they are young, pretty, have charismatic voices and an excellent lively stage performance.In their singing, they show a passion for Danish folk songs. The two young women managed to gather some of the creme of the Danish folk music scene into the studio to record the album. The accompaniment is usually subtle, sometimes very impressive. Overall, the atmosphere of the album is calm and relaxed, and makes lovely listening for a quiet evening in. Inspiring indeed.
    Read the full FolkWorld review
    Photo: Karen & Helen in Tonder 2004, by The Mollis

  3. Wolfgang Rieck, press photo The third best CD of 2004:
    Wolfgang Rieck "Alles muss sich wandeln"
    Songs and stories in German language, sung by stunning singer and great songwriter Wolfgang Rieck. These are songs full of passion and emotion. Additionally to his songwriting talent, Wolfgang has the ability to choose songs perfectly suitable for his singing. Although the lyrics are always in the center, the emotion can be felt even if you cannot understand the language.
    A FolkWorld Review will appear in the next issue.
    Photo: Wolfgang Rieck, from his website

  4. Sestry Steinovy "Muj tanec (My dance)" (Czech Republic)
    Two sisters with great voices from Czech Republic, with well arranged songs.
    A FolkWorld Review will appear in the next issue.

  5. Affenginn "Retrograd" (Denmark)
    Unconventional, innovative and talented young instrumental band from Denmark.
    A FolkWorld Review will appear in the next issue.

  6. Xosé Manual Budiño "Zume de Terra" (Spain)
    The Galician piper extraordinaire has created with this CD one of the most creative and innovative modern folk music albums that has come out during recent years, combines Galician traditions with world music and modern dance music, in a highly appealing and sexy way.
    Read the full FolkWorld review
    Photo: Xose Manuel Budino 1999, by The Mollis

  7. GOZE - Gezellig Onderuit Zonder Elektrik (Belgium)
    Perfect combination of diatonic accordion (and sometimes bagpipe) and guitar, played by Wim Claeys and Maarten Decombel. The arrangements of their selection of music from the heart of Europe are highly individual and fantastic.
    Read the full FolkWorld review

  8. Shared by Gabriel Yacoub "Je vois venir" (France) and Jim Malcolm "Live in Glenfarg" (Scotland)
    The concept of these two albums is quite similar, and the result in both cases superb. Both of these singer/songwriters have recorded a live album of a selection of their best songs of their career, with often different arrangements to the originally recorded songs. Gabriel Yacoub has invited for his recording a selection of his favourite artists, while Jim Malcolm presents his songs solo. Each of the CDs are a must for fans, and a perfect introduction for those who have never heard of the musicians before.
    Read the full FolkWorld reviews: Gabriel Yacoub and Jim Malcolm
    Photo: Gabriel Yacoub 2000, by The Mollis

  9. Alboka "Lau Anaiak" (Spain)
    An impressive duo album of Basque accordeonist Joxan Goikoetxea and Irish wind instrument player Alan Griffin.
    A FolkWorld Review will appear in the next issue.

  10. Drones & Bellows und Dragseth Duo "Hiimstoun" (Denmark / Germany)
    An album celebrating the multi-lingual Danish-German border region, where five different langauges are spoken - all of which are found in songs on this album. A worthwhile project, not only culturally interesting and unique, but also a welcome addition to collections of Danish and German folk music.
    Read the full FolkWorld Review

FolkWorld Contributors' choices

Some of FolkWorld's regular contributors name here their personal five CD favourites of the year 2003, so that regular readers can find out about the recommendations of their favourite reviewers and writers. Find out about the favourite five CDs of:
Adolf "gorhand" Goriup - Tom Keller - Karsten Rube - Eelco Schilder - Axel Schuldes - Dai Woosnam

Chris Stout, photo by The Mollis

Adolf "gorhand" Goriup (Switzerland - FolkWorld author)

  1. Chris Stout "First o' the darkenin' " - Shetland Islands (FolkWorld review)
  2. Catherine-Ann MacPhee "Sùil Air Ais - Looking Back" - Scotland/Canada (FolkWorld review)
  3. Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin "Ar Mhuin Na Muice" - Ireland (FolkWorld review)
  4. Norland Wind "From Shore to Shore" - Ireland/Germany (FolkWorld review)
  5. Mary Smith "Sgiath Airgid" - Scotland (FolkWorld review)
Photo: Chris Stout; photo by The Mollis

Bruvoll & HalvorsenTom Keller (Germany - FolkWorld author, musician)
Top 5 (in alphabetical order):

Photo: Bruvoll & Halvorsen

Duncan Chisholm & Ivan Drever, photo by The MollisAlex Monaghan (Ireland - reviewer in FolkWorld and other magazines)

  1. Gerry "Banjo" O'Connor - No Place Like Home - Myriad Media MMCD002 - Ireland (FolkWorld review)
  2. Farquhar MacDonald - The Ghost Shirt - Own Label FARQ01 - Scotland (FolkWorld review)
  3. Chris Stout - First O' The Darkenin' - Greentrax CDTRAX257 - Shetland (FolkWorld review)
  4. Ivan Drever & Duncan Chisholm - A Long December Night - Highlander Music HRMCD011 -Scotland (FolkWorld review)
  5. Mark Saul - Mixolydian - Greentrax CDTRAX267 - England (FolkWorld review)

Photo: Duncan Chisholm & Ivan Drever; photo by The Mollis

Budino & Peon, photo by The MollisKarsten Rube (Germany - reviewer and author in FolkWorld)

  1. Paula Morelenbaum - Berimbaum (an innovation of the Musica Popular do Brasil which sets standards)
  2. Mercedes Peón - Ajrú (distinctive example of the Galician culture ) (FolkWorld review)
  3. Paris Combo - Motifs (Paris’ cultural ambassador with playful pop songs) (FolkWorld review)
  4. Xosé Manuel Budiño - Zume de Terra (renewed proof of the Galician, that bagpipes are modern instruments) (FolkWorld review)
  5. Alasdair Fraiser & Natalie Haas - Fire and Grace (a price-worthy duo fiddle/cello) (FolkWorld review)
Photo: Xose Manuel Budno & Mercedes Peon; photo by The Mollis

Andy Irvine 1991, photo from Axel Schuldes (Germany - FolkWorld "Irish CD" columnist)
Top 5 (in alphabetical order):

Photo: Andy Irvine 1991, photo from

Tom Paxton 1997, photo by The MollisDai Woosnam (England - reviewer and author in FolkWorld and Living Tradition)

  1. Tom Paxton, Anne Hills and Bob Gibson "BEST OF FRIENDS" (Appleseed Recordings, CD 1077): the clear best album of the year…indeed, I would not mind betting that there will not be a better one this DECADE (FolkWorld review)
  2. Various Artistes "BEFORE THEIR TIME: MEMORIAL SONGS AND MUSIC, Vol. 3" (Hospice VNH Records, BTT 03)
  3. Bob Davenport "THE COMMON STONE" (Topic Records, TSCD552)
  4. Three Sheets to the Wind "ALL 'TIDE' UP" (Cock Robin Music, CRM096)
  5. Shared by The Old Swan Band "SWAN-UPMANSHIP" (WildGoose Studios, WGS 320 CD)
    and Rasmus Storm "DANSK 1700 - TALS MUSIK #2" (Nattergal CD03-01) (FolkWorld review)
Photo: Tom Paxton 1997; photo by The Mollis

To the content of FolkWorld No. 30

© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 1/2005

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