FolkWorld #48 07/2012

CD & DVD Reviews

Quadro Nuevo "In concert"
GLM, 2012

Book Review

The German quartet Quadro nuevo was founded in 1996 and has recorded many albums since and played in many places with great success. Originally focusing on tango (more or less) they are by now an international orientated group that mix jazz with Tango, Flamenco, Balkan and other (European) cultures. On this live album, recorded in Munich in 2011, the band plays fourteen tracks. With this album they show their quality as a live band. The music is passionate, of constant high quality and has an almost mystical atmosphere. They interweave the patterns of styles and traditions into a fine and easy to listen acoustic, instrumental word-jazz style. A real gift for the old fans and for new friends.
© Eelco Schilder

Colm Mac Con Iomaire "Cúinne an Ghiorria"
Own label, 2008

A four years old album for review by the Irish violinist and composer Colm Mac Con Iomaire. Together with six guest musicians he recorded eleven tunes, almost all self composed. This debut album shows a talented composer/musician who has a very own style of playing and songwriting. Although his music has signs of tradition, this album is more like a soundtrack full of beautiful melodies and atmospheric tunes. The delicate sound of The cuckoo of Glen Nephin, the brightness of Time will tell, the more expressive sound of Emer’s dream and lightness of Beaten wings, all tracks have their own story. Mac Con Iomaire isn’t just a musician, he is a story teller and has the gift to translate a story into beautiful sounds and makes the listener close the eyes and dream away on his music.
© Eelco Schilder

Josetxo Goia-Ariba "La Orquesta Jamalandruki"
Karonte, 2010

Josetxo Goia-Ariba "En Jota"
Karonte, 2011

German CD Review

Josetxo Goia-Ariba is a saxophonist and composer from Navarra, Spain. In this review two cd’s and a DVD. First the CD and DVD of his Orquesta Jamalandruki. On this album, a tribute to a long lost magician, he forms a quintet with trumpet, trombone, tuba and percussion. A great album that sparkles out of the loudspeakers. Strong upbeat brass in fine world-jazz style mixed with more introvert, melodic compositions. Played at a high level with clear influences from the many Spanish, other (South) European styles and touches of other roots sounds. But this album also has the atmosphere of an old circus with old fashioned, but fabulous, artists playing performing their best act. The DVD of a concert around this project shows the band in a small tent playing the wonderful music in a passionate, but also a bit static way. Not sure if the DVD adds a lot of extra’s to the strong music.
The second album in this review is called En jota and shows Josetxo Goia Aribe with singer Arantxa Diez. The duo is backed by pianist Javier Olabarrietta and contrabassist Baldo Martinez. A totally different album, with a leading role for the powerful vocals of Diez, that forms a beautiful contrast with the more gentle, soft saxophone play of Goia-Aribe. The styles change from ‘midnight jazz’ to powerful songs rooted in tradition and into fine contemporary acoustic music. But always keep their own, personal sound. Two beautiful albums by a wonderful musician/composer in two different, but also recognizable, styles.
© Eelco Schilder

Servais Haanen "Temporale"
Klangwelten, 2011

The Dutch accordionist Servais Haanen comes with his second solo album called Temporale. Te past three years he invited several musicians from different cultures to join and to search together for their shared interests in music. On this new album you can hear, besides strong solo parts, his accordion in combination with the bandoneon, cello, saxophone, piano, harp and percussion. The styles go from tango inspired music to Balkan rhythms, Celtic, West-European folk and jazz. An album with a wide variation of sounds and styles, played beautifully with a bit dark, heavy undertone. All except one, composed by Haanen himself. With this he shows to be not only a good musicians, but a strong composer as well.
© Eelco Schilder

Asgeir & Mo "Danza de Andalucia"
Own label, 2011

Asgeir & Mo is a Norwegian duo on guitar and violin. Together with an international orientated group of friends they recorded thirteen of Asgeir’s own compositions. Although there are many miles between Stavanger and Andalucia, this duo surprises me with well played music inspired on the cultures of ancient Andalucia. Mixing flamenco with Arabic influences, that’s what makes their main sound. But they feel free to lend elements of other styles from, for example, South America. The duo plays in a very accessible way, without getting to brave or to mainstream. There is fire in their music and as a couple they find the right balance between the guitar and violin. Besides that, these are strong compositions and all this together makes this a more than enjoyable album.
© Eelco Schilder

Eda Zari "Toka incognita"
Intuition, 2011

The from origin Albanian singer Eda Zari lives in Germany for many years. She graduated as an opera singer, but her passion for tradition and jazz brought her on big stages all over the world. Zari has the talent to combine strong vocal techniques with accessible roots-jazz with a focus on styles from the Balkan, from Yiddish to Gypsy and from Arabic orientated melodies to pop-jazz arrangements. This new album contains twelve songs and as a special quest guitarist Dominic Miller appears on three tracks. Zari goes from easy going folk-pop songs for a big audience to haunting versions of popular songs like A yiddisher mame a song recorded hundreds of times, but her version is absolutely one of the best I know. It’s a strange combination of repertoire, most songs are a bit to mainstream after my personal taste, but a few are real pearls and on those moments Zari shows that she is an artist that can please a big audience, but also has the guts and quality to follow her own path and create beautiful music.
© Eelco Schilder

Nu & Apa Neagră "Descăntecul Apei Negre"
Lollipop shoppe, 2011

An experimental album from Romania by the band Nu & Apa Neagră. This Descăntecul Apei Negre is the bands fourth album. They combine traditional instruments such as the saz, baglama and divan with electronics, sound effects and samples. This results in an intriguing album that at first sounds like a collection of sounds. But when you concentrate and take the time to listen you hear adventures, creative and avant gardistic compositions with sometimes beautiful melodies on the (more or less) traditional instruments. The, sometimes heavy and dark, electronic sounds give the album a mysterious atmosphere. An album that intrigues me a lot, but is only suitable for the more experimental and electronic minded listener.
© Eelco Schilder

Malando "Latino"
Own label, 2011

Dutch Danny Malando comes from a very well known family of musicians. This new album is a bombastic, musical styled, orchestral collection of known Latin songs and tunes. All clichés you can imagine come together on this album including Copacabana, La camisa negra, Brazil and many similar songs. Don’t expect any subtlety, Malando wants it all and that makes his music totally unsuitable for my ears. It’s like listening to ‘the Love boat’, you know this famous tv-serie from the 70’s, live in concert. All happy people and always a good ending. It’s just too much.
© Eelco Schilder

Slide to Freedom "20000 miles"
Northern blues music, 2011

Slide to freedom is a project by the slide guitarist and singer Doug Cox and the Indian musicians Salil Bhatt and Cassius Khan. Together with six guest musicians this trio recorded a remarkable album which brings the sliding sounds of very different instruments come together. Listening to this album you might believe that blues has an Indian origin, such a well balanced crossover of styles and traditions. This trio creates a new sound and does this at the highest level. Cox shows to be a nice singer as well and the collaboration with the guest musicians gives this album just this extra variety it needs. A really nice new album by this trio with a bit more contemporary sound, but played by a bunch of great musicians.
© Eelco Schilder

Charles Frail and the Moulting Frames "Morning it breaths"
Own label, 2011

Totally unprepared I put this homemade, 500 pressed private album in my CD player and from the first moment my world turns upside down, something happens here, somebody tells his story on a hauntingly beautiful, poetic and personal way. The young Dutch singer songwriter Charles Frail gathered some friends around him and recorded this first full length album. Thirteen tracks, starting with the fantastic, eleven minutes long, I was the leaves that whisper take me off this tree. A introvert story in which his unique voice bewitches me together with the minimalistic sounds of instruments and birds. Yes, his voice will remind you of Anthony Hegarty, but that’s only because we don’t have many singers on this planet with such a specific sound. Listen closely, and you hear many differences. After the eleven minutes long opening track, he surprises with a collection of songs that listen like a book of poems. The hectic sound of & when the wind gave us her tender, tender breeze, subtle change into the beauty of My blood was not enough, my hands were meek, my feet got stuck and one of the other highlights on this album But oh….behold. I like how he switches from small, more explosive instrumental parts like Morning it breathes and the fragileness of his songs. A highlight in Dutch singer-songwriter history and a must for all lovers of authentic, creative no-nonsense music.
© Eelco Schilder

Ilgi "Tur saulīte pērties gāja"
Upett, 2011

The Latvian band Ilgi is since many years the best known Baltic folk band and for at least as many years one of my favorite bands from that region. The band has a very personal and recognizable style and is known worldwide for their wonderful music. In 2011 the band celebrated their 30th anniversary and this new album is a fantastic way to mark this special celebration. The more I hear Tur saulīte pērties gāja the more I get convinced this is probably one of Ilgi’s best albums. Seven compositions telling about the rituals in the Pirts, the Latvian version of the sauna. A healing place for both the body and mind in an almost sacral way. With both traditional and contemporary songs, the five musicians create the atmosphere of the Pirts. The result is a much more introvert album than their previous ones. With great vocals, subtle patterns of rhythms and sparkling melodies Ilgi bewitches the listener and succeeds in bringing the atmosphere of the Pirts to life. An album that brings beautiful dreams to my head, takes me away on a cloud to a restful and sunny place and all of that with music of the highest quality. A bit strange is track 4 called Persana which is a kind of wakeup call and somehow a stranger in between the other tracks. It breaks a little bit the spell the album puts on the listener, but happily enough it’s the shortest track on the album, so before you know it you’ll be back floating towards the sky. Great album, I would recommend another thirty years of this great music.
© Eelco Schilder

Sharon Shannon "Flying Circus"
IML, 2011

Probably the best known accordionist from Ireland at the moment Sharon Shannon comes with a new album. This time she plays twelve tunes with the RTE orchestra and Jim Murray on guitar. I like her uplifting style of music and enjoy a few of her early releases a lot, but lost track the last ten years because she wasn’t able to surprise me anymore. She is a fantastic musician, but also a bit conservative in ways of interpreting the tunes and to be honest, this orchestral, sometimes almost bombastic-sentimental album doesn’t help. Shannon creates Irish music for ‘the millions’ and the concessions she makes are not my ‘cup of tea,’ too much mainstream, nothing wrong with that, but I even heard better mainstream folk music.
© Eelco Schilder

Aubergine "De griffioen sessies"
Own label, 2012

A new album by this Dutch jew’s harp trio. Fifteen new recordings, probably great for jew’s harp freaks. But I also got their other albums and for a non-expert like me this is a bit much. I recommend all freaks to visit the myspace and see that they really are great and I would probably write with more enthusiasm if this was the first album I heard by them.
© Eelco Schilder

Orchestre International du Vetex "Total tajine"
Via Lactea, 2011

International ensemble, or actually a real orchestra, with musicians from Belgium, France and the Balkan countries. Over twenty musicians contribute to the album and recorded twenty eight (!) compositions. Where I expected a fantastic party with passionate rhythms and musicians that blow me away, I get a decent orchestra that brings nice melodies, nothing more and nothing less. The original compositions need a more outspoken character and I think that one album with twelve songs would have been more than enough to show the potential of the orchestra. But now I lose my attention after a few songs and I really wonder how it is possible that an orchestra with so many possibilities forgets to use them. Now it’s a collection of nice tunes but without a typical own character and sound.
© Eelco Schilder

Sturla Eide "Slåtter vol 2 og 3"
Etnisk musikklubb, 2012

Pust "Kry"
Own label, 2009

A few albums with Norwegian traditional music. Starting with Sturla Eide, a Norwegian Hardingfele player who already for many years is a master at this wonderful instrument. In the past he released several solo albums, but is also known as one of the musicians of the known folk band Flukt. On this two CD set he continues recording tunes from the 18th until the 20th century from the Meldal and Orkdal region, situated in mid-Norway. After the release of vol 1 in 2010, he now recorded 56 new tracks. Mostly solo, but partly backed by pianist Trygve Brøske. An intriguing collection of tunes, played in almost the most pure form possible. Eide shows his quality as a real master on the instrument and with these two new volumes he preserves a lesser known Norwegian tradition for future generations.
The second album is an older one, from 2009, by a band called Pust. This ‘vocals only’ sextet from Oslo recorded twelve of their interpretations of folk songs and original compositions. Although the vocal style is sometimes recognizable as Norwegian, the band doesn’t sound different than many other international vocal groups. They choose a conservative way of arranging the songs. No vocal acrobatics, just decent, ‘light folk-pop’ styled music.
© Eelco Schilder

Regimantas Šilinskas "Taip ir kitaip"
Kuku, 2010

Sutaras "The wonders of the beggar’s kingdom"
Kuku, 20111

Two albums from Lithuania, starting with Regimantas Šilinskas. For the first time in all my years of reviewing this is the first solo album ever I hear with solo Lithuanian wooden bells. It looks like a big, standing, xylophone. The musician plays melodies and rhythms with wooden sticks backed by a few instrumental ensembles. The staccato playing style is in a way intriguing, but the strange choice of repertoire, including the Carmen overture and the Trick track polka by Strauss and the bit romanticized backings, makes me a listener with mixed feelings. I truly think it’s an instrument with a unique sound, but on the other hand the arrangements are terribly cliché and that makes it terribly funny to listen to. An album that brings me in a good mood, that’s for sure.
Article: folkBALTICA 2012 Second Lithuanian album by the known band Sutaras. Twenty one new recordings in the typical traditional style of the band. Especially their harmony vocals are very special and authentic. Some more English info would help to understand more of the tradition and the history of the music. As earlier albums, an intriguing view into an old tradition.
© Eelco Schilder

Delyth Jenkins "Llais"
Steam pie, 2012

The Welsh harpist Delyth Jenkins is known to an international audience for her work with the bands Cromlech and Aberjaber. Now she released her third solo album called Llais, a combination of traditional/original material and her musical version of Dylan Thomas his Under milk wood. The first part of the album is concentrated on solo harp music and has a peaceful atmosphere. Jenkins shows to be a gifted musician and creates wonderful melodies, always full of traditional elements. The second part is an intriguing version of Under milk wood in which she plays with several vocalists. It’s a small piece of theatre, again with musical arrangements full of traditional elements, but with a different and lesser serene atmosphere than the first part of the album. A very nice combination of styles with always a recognizable, traditional, Jenkins sound.
© Eelco Schilder

Cornelius Claudio Kreusch "Heart & Soul"
GLM, 2012

Solo piano album by Cornelius Claudio Kreusch. Eleven new recordings, easy going pieces with sometimes a romantic, classical vibe and on other moments a more laid back jazzy sound. A real professional and an album that would probably liked by lover of the more ‘piano light’ genre. One tune is fantastic, the ping pong finale. A more experimental piece that intrigues me and is an exciting end of an easy going album.
© Eelco Schilder

Arja Kastinen "The last gathering"
Temps, 2012

German CD Review

By now, Kastinen is probably one of the best known Kantele players worldwide. She is a real master on this string instrument from Finland and with this new solo album she shows exactly why. Somehow this new album has a more powerful and mystic character than her last one. It’s amazing how many sounds, rhythms, styles and emotions Kastinen gets out of this ancient instrument. Her eleven new compositions bewitch the listener and change from calm, almost like instrumental lullaby’s, to more innovative, modern sounding and complex compositions. With passion Kastinen plays her several types of Kantele and is the best ambassador an instrument can wish for.
© Eelco Schilder

Nordic "Hommage"
Dimma, 2012

Article: folkBALTICA 2012

The Swedish trio Nordic has become in a very short time one of Sweden’s leading folk related bands. Their debut album got great reviews and their live performance are known for their fabulous craftsmanship. Time to release a second album and that one is called Hommage. This new album contains nine original, one Bela Fleck and one traditional compositions. This new album continues where the first album stopped. The three musicians evaluated their music in an even more own style, mixing traditional elements with light elements of jazz and even some kind of an acoustic rock feeling. Beautiful melodies on hardanger fele and nyckelharpa, sometimes played lightly and sparkling, other moments backed by a heavy cello or pump organ which gives the music a more earthy sound. Some of the melodies sound like I knew them for years, while others surprise me with their inventive twists and unexpected musical arrangements. A wonderful new album by this top Swedish band.
© Eelco Schilder

gruber + gruber "gruber + gruber"
Bogner records, 2011

This album without title is the second album by the Gruber brothers. Thomas plays the hammered dulcimer and diatonic button accordion, while Rainer plays the accordion and guitar. They are backed by a tuba on three and percussion on eight tracks. The new album contains fifteen new recordings, almost all composed by one of the brothers. Almost one hour of strong music, played at a high level and really nice to listen to. They are both masters on their instruments and play the compositions in a very accessible way. Combining Latin, French, African, soul, jazz, pop, Italian, Spanish styles with many others. A strong album that is lovely to listen to and shows two top musicians from Bayern.
© Eelco Schilder

Robert Wolf "Per il mio amore"
GLM, 2012

Robert Wolf is a composer/guitarist and with this solo album he expresses his love for Italian music styles. Together with the toxic garden quartet and five other musicians he created a wonderful album, deeply rooted in the Italian culture and landscape. He takes the listener from the jazzy twenties, to the Southern Italian passion. From the romantic waltz to the more powerful dances. I know it are all new compositions, but they sound so familiar, so authentic and new at the same time that it’s almost like I’m listening to a long lost LP from many decades ago. Wolf and his musicians did a great job and recorded a more than enjoyable album.
© Eelco Schilder

I Fratelli Tarzanelli "Palomino"
Appel records, 2012

I fratelli tarzanelli is a Belgium based duo with Pablo Golder on diatonic accordion and Baltazar Montanaro on violin. Their music is a mixture of gypsy, Belgian, mediterrranean sounds, played in a bit raw, unpolished way. The album has the atmosphere of two musicians who start with an idea and start improvising. Many of the tracks are suitable for dancing, while some soft, almost romantic moments are there as well. The album is not always easy to follow, but has an overall nice sound.
© Eelco Schilder

Veretski Pass "The Klezmer Shul"
Golden horn records, 2011

Klezmafour "5th Element"
Karrot commando, 2012

A few Klezmer related albums for review, starting with Veretski pass. This trio from the US didn’t really convince me with their former album Trafik, that made me extra curious to hear this one. This is the trio’s third album and is called The Klezmer shul. It’s a live recorded album in four parts or, as the band calls them, movements. Each movement is, like a suite, constructed from several tunes. Their music is rooted in klezmer and Gypsy music, but also jazz and ‘free’ styles are used. The music has more passion, more energy, more personality than their previous output. It’s far from mainstream, but sometimes even heavy and bit dark. Like last time, I like the great accordion play, but it’s the freaking bass cello that gives many compositions an almost surrealistic sound, I like that. Strange how a band gives such a different impression compared to their previous work. This more improvising, free style of playing is much more my style and I’m more than happy to say that I do match with Veretski pass this time.

Available from
The second Klezmer related album comes from the Polish quartet Klezmafour. This band, founded in 1999 in the beautiful town of Lublin, released with 5th element a fantastic debut album. With own arrangements of traditional pieces and newly composed tunes, the band recorded one of the best Klezmer related albums of the past year. Not only five fantastic musician, but the way they mix klezmer with other Eastern-European styles in a fresh and modern way is great. From subtle melodies to heavy klezmer-rock all played at a high level. They use scratch techniques, occasionally a light psychedelic sound and it all works. This is how modern Klezmer sounds, great album.
© Eelco Schilder

Jydsk på næsen & Betty Gregers Arendt "Vintermusik"
Gofolk, 2011

FolkWorld Xmas

It’s a bit strange to review an album with Danish Winter music in june, when it’s about 30 degrees Celsius outside. But nevertheless, this is an interesting album by one of Denmark’s oldest folk groups called Jydsk på næsen. On this first new album in six years they play together with singer Betty Gregers Arendt. Seventeen tracks from the last three centuries, including some original tracks. They all tell about aspects of the cold Danish winter. Of course an occasional Christmas song, but also a snow queens dance, winter waltz, songs about snow and about sorrows and happiness. This is a Danish album in the old fashioned Danish tradition with a lineup that is often seen in Danish folk since the sixties; violins, bass and accordion. That’s probably why this album has such a nice, warm and recognizable sound. It feels a bit like home and reminds me about the time I lived in Denmark. Very enjoyable, even in summer, but probably much more in the cold winter months.
© Eelco Schilder

Hungrytown "Any forgotten thing"
Listen here, 2011

Hungrytown is a (married) duo from the US formed by Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson. Hall published already some solo output before they started to perform as a duo. This Any forgotten thing is their second album on which Hall sings and plays the guitar and Anderson shows his multi talent on eleven different instruments and vocals. All songs are original and written between 2008 and 2010. Hall has a beautiful voice that gives the music a pleasant lightness. Anderson is a fine musician who creates small melodies and rhythms that perfectly fits the bit fragile songs. With influences from country and folk, this duo could easily be classified under some neo-folk label. I like this album a lot, although it also confuses me at moments. A song like Rolling rain has a huge ‘The carpenters-a-like’ mainstream sound, but other compositions are so small, so pretty, that I even have to admit I kind of like this bit sweet-mainstream sound, it’s well done and I can’t get their music out of my head. Hear it, love it!
© Eelco Schilder

Nazaket Teymurova "Mugham"
Felmay, 2012

Only a few weeks ago the Eurovision song contest took place in Azerbaijan. Seeing all these middle of the road pop songs you would almost forget that this republic has a rich and ancient culture and one of the most impressive oral-music heritage. For many centuries the so called Mughamat is played and sung and since nine years the UNESCO has declared this tradition as ‘heritage of the world’. I fell in love with this style the first time I heard t live about twelve years ago. The way of singing, the complex rhythms, the wonderful sounds of the traditional instruments. It’s not an easy style to listen to, especially because this music always put me into tears and touches emotions deep in me which I didn’t even know they were there. That’s exactly what happens when listening to this new album by one of the best female Mugham singers Nazaket Teymurova. The opening track, which is over 37 minutes long, glues me to my chair and I have to listen to this fabulous voice and feel how things starting to move in my body and mind. Impossible to explain, you have to hear it, you have to let it in and dare to let the music overwhelm you. It’s very very rare that I not only hear music but feel it in every corner of my body. This is such an album that does that to me. Not an album to listen to daily, but one to cherish and enjoy like a good wine, not too often but with full concentration.
© Eelco Schilder

Samantha Gillogly & Tim Maurice "Live in concert"
Own label, 2011

This young American duo on violin and piano play a mixture of Celtic folk and classical chamber music. Their well played repertoire is a bit standard with tunes like Star of the County Down and King of the Faeries to name a few. Nice that they create their own peaceful style, indeed some real Celtic chamber music. Great for some relaxing, but it needs more variation to keep my attention for the full length of the album.
© Eelco Schilder

Albastro Euforico "Albastro Euforico"
Materialisonori, 2011

Albastro Euforico is a Italian band around the trio Bigazzi on bass, Catalano on sax, flute and duduk and De Lesta on drums and percussion. This is the second album on which the trio collaborates with the Quartetto Euphoria, the Quartiere Tamburi and four other musicians. This is Italian modern folk-jazz at its best. Traditional elements are mixed with modern songwriting. From fine melodies that reminds me of old Italian dances, to some more powerful rock and great upbeat jazz sessions. A full, rich sound played by a group of great musicians who form a balanced group and make me want to hear this storytelling music over and over again. It’s Italian passion, real crossover like only the best Italians can create. Wonderful album that has a lot to offer and brings out the best mood in me.
© Eelco Schilder

Banda "Jedna"
Indies scope, 2010

A bit older album from Slovakia, but of such great quality that I just need to review it. Banda is a band founded in 2003 and they play traditional folk from Slovakia mixed with traditional (more or less) music from many other parts of this world including the Balkan, Celtic and Mediterranean countries. Although this is an acoustic quintet, they sound like a modern folk band. The full, rich sound is great and the way they play with the styles is fabulous. Starting with a nice Balkan like song, they surprise me with some unexpected twists in their arrangements. I love the echoing sound of the violin in this part. What follows is a trip from one corner of Europe to the other. Slavic like harmony vocals, all this great sparkling violins that reminds me often of the legendary second album of the Hungarian band Kolinda. Totally unexpected some Turkish style singing and rhythm, perfectly recorded. Often I think a whole orchestra is playing, but it's only five great musicians who managed to create a perfect, balanced sound. Music with passion and craftsmanship. It’s two years too late, but I would have listed this album in my top ten of best albums of 2010.
© Eelco Schilder

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