FolkWorld #50 03/2013

CD & DVD Reviews

Trio Klok & Klok Project "65 Hähne"
Unit records, 2012

Peter Holzapfel & Erwin Rehling "Umpa umpa"
Beefree, 2012

The Trio Klok was founded about two years ago in Vienna and this 65 Hähne is already their second album. Together with four guest singers/musicians, the three musicians on guitar, contrabass, saxophone and clarinet, created a really nice new album. They managed to blend traditional elements from the Alps with sounds from the Balkan into a jazzy, soulful style of music. Well played, easy going music of high quality. They mix jazz elements from the past five centuries and change easily from sounding like a seventies soundtrack-jazz band to a more mellow nineties lounge-jazz group. Strong vocal work, intelligent compositions and passionate musicians. A recommendation for lovers of the genre.
Another Alpine influenced album is by the duo Peter Holzapfel & Erwin Rehling and is called Umpa umpa. Multi-instrumentalist Holzapfel and percussionist Rehling play a ‘pop art Alpine instrumental style’, which leads to an experimental album with music that is influenced by the Alpines traditions, brass, (free) jazz and rock. With a slight avant-garde approach, the duo goes from soft tuba melodies to disturbed electric guitars and from late night relaxation to wake up calls. Intriguing album with from two creative minds.
© Eelco Schilder

Zõn "Zõn"
Klam records, 2012

A debut album from the new Breton trio Zõn. With this nameless first album they impress with innovative, well played interpretations of (mainly) traditional Breton songs. With violin, vocals and accordion only, they create a rich, sparkling sound. Faustine Audebert has a warm, Chrystal clear voice that matches perfectly with the more deep sounds of the accordion and the melodic play of the violin. One of my favorite is Me mo’oe gwelet with a beautiful play between voice and accordion. This trio shows the beauty of Bretagne by keeping the traditional spirit alive without being old fashioned. With their modern arrangements and the use of very slight influences from other styles and traditions, they create a attractive own sound. With such a strong debut, I can’t wait to hear their future releases.
© Eelco Schilder

Duo Ancelin Fey "Loreille du lievre"
Aepem, 2012

The two French violinists Philippe Ancelin and Pierre Fey recorded eighteen traditional melodies from the Auvergne & Limousin region. Pure and passion, that are the right words to describe this album. Sometimes it’s like I’m listening to fifty year old recordings, while on other moments it’s like the famous French groups from the seventies come back to life. Intriguing traditional music, very well played (and occasionally sung) and a must for traditional French music specialists.
© Eelco Schilder

Grünes Blatt "Thirteen Ways"
Unit records, 2011

Maximilian Geller "Alpenglühen"
Ozella, 2013

Trent Freeman "Rock, Paper, Scissors"
Own label, 2012

Hubert Dohr & Edgar Unterkircher "The Gentle Mood"
D’ohr records, 2012

Mulo Francel "Escape"
GLM, 2012

Daniel Herskedal & Marius Neset "Neck of the Woods"
Edition records, 2012

A bunch of jazz orientated albums from all over the world. Starting with the Austrian band Grünes Blatt who plays beautiful Romanian (mainly) traditional songs in a beautiful jazz version. It’s tender, vulnerable and fragile music but occasionally also provocative. The sextet is fronted by a wonderful female singer who goes from whispering to screaming the lyrics into your ears. The backing musicians leave the traditional way of playing far behind and create a whole new, modern sound. A remarkable album with such a wide variation in atmospheres, well played and innovative character. Although (experimental) jazz is one of the main ingredients, this album is so much and a weird kind of trip to the ancient roads of Romania.
We go deeper into the Alps for Maximilian Geller's new album called Alpenglühen. Together with the same guest musicians and vocalists as on his Alpenrosen album, saxophonist Geller does what he is best at. Creating a smooth jazz sound using traditional theme’s form the Alps and beyond. A fresh, well played album. With the impressive accordion play of Herbert Pixner and the dreamy vocals of Lisa Wahlandt on two tracks. A strong crossover album by a top composer and musician and his band.
The third album is by Trent Freeman, a violinist and composer from Vancouver Island. His Rock, paper, scissors was awarded in 2012 with the Canadian folk music award. Ten original compositions played on violin, piano, bass and drums. His music is jazz based, but with influences from styles such as folk, rock, hip hop, bluegrass and much more. A laid back album with quality music. Wonderful violin play and ditto backings by his three fellow musicians. Into a nice acoustic jazz adventure? This might be your album.
The fourth jazz related album is by Hubert Dohr & Edgar Unterkirchner. The Gentle Mood is a duet between the clarinet and sax played by Unterkirchner and the string and programming played by Dohr. Twelve easy going, original, compositions played peacefully. Nice music to dream away, well played moody jazz by two great musicians.
Talking about moody jazz music, Mulo Francel, the German saxophonist and bass clarinet player comes with a nice new album called Escape. Francel recorded this album as a kind of tribute to the jazz style of the fifties and sixties. This resulted in a nice album, well played and indeed this nostalgic sound of five decades ago, but not old fashioned at all. Francel shows the timelessness of this music in a wonderful way.
Then a Norwegian duo called Daniel Herskedal & Marius Neset with their album Neck of the Woods. Two highly talented Norwegian musicians on saxophone and tuba, backed by the Svanholm singers. Herskedal worked with many known and lesser known names in (jazz) music including one of my favorites Django Bates. Neset is seen as one of the Most talented saxophone players in many years. This album shows you exactly why these two musicians have such a strong reputation. In the best Nordic Jazz tradition, the duo brings a fabulous collection of modern-jazz compositions in which influences from earlier Nordic jazz, minimal music, folk, brass and sacral are brought together. The way the Svanholm singers complete their music is tremendously well done and their version of the traditional Eg er framand is unforgettable and the atmosphere of this song reminds me of one of my all-time favorite albums Rosensfole.[44] An album with pure quality music and two musicians I will follow really closely from now on, a must have for lovers of Nordic jazz.
© Eelco Schilder

Dick Hyman & Judy Hyman "Late last summer"
Left ear records, 2012

The musical career of Dick Hyman is about six decades long and includes an impressive discography. Being a pianist from origin, he was one of the first to play the Moog and contributed to many soundtracks including a long list of Woody Allen movies. On this new album he plays with his daughter, violinist Judy Hyman and together they recorded thirteen of her own compositions, thirteen original waltzes. I was wondering from the first moment when I saw Judy’s face on the booklet, where I’ve seen her before. When I was about sixteen years old, so that has been a while, I loved the album Human fly by a band called The Horse Flies. And yes, she really is the great violinist of that band. Besides that she plays on probably the best album of the past ten years, Leave your sleep by Natalie Merchant,[47] composed many film scores and plays in several projects. It’s a special project for the duo as many of the compositions were originally written for friends and family members and not for recording. It’s easy going, beautifully played acoustic music. Not really folk, jazzy or another style. Actually it sounds mostly like the music of a beautiful family movie, wonderful melodies played by two master musicians. I can imagine this must have been a special project for both of them.
© Eelco Schilder

I Müsetta "Martéla la Paja"
Folkclub ethnosuoni, 2012

I Müsetta is an Italian folk group from the Piacenza region. Founded in 1988 and recorded several albums since. The musicians have been part of different other projects and this is their latest band album with twenty two, mainly traditional pieces. The musicians play on several types of traditional regional instruments such as the Piffero, which is a double reed instrument, and the Piva which is a North Italian bagpipe. Besides those instruments they also play the guitar, accordion etc. The sound of this album is mainly formed by the typical sound of the Piffero. It’s a sound I had to learn to appreciate and I can imagine that many listeners who are not used to the sound need time to get used to it. Give it a chance, this group is probably the best you can get in this type of music and this album is full of nice traditional styled material and gives a nice picture of this regions musical heritage.
© Eelco Schilder

Emilia Lajunen "Turkoosi polkupyörä"
Texicalli, 2012

Kirjava Lintu "Unilintu"
Kuu Records, 2012

Article: The Passion of Emilia Lajunen

BAM! That’s how this first solo album by Emilia Lajunen impressed me the first moment I heard it. Lajunen studied at the famous Sibilius academy, and teaches there nowadays, in her homeland Finland and during the past few years she won several awards and got known for her work with the band SUO amongst others. This is her first solo output and it’s absolutely stunning. Ten songs, vocals and violin only and all recorded simultaneously. Lajunen her violin play is absolutely bewitching. Sometimes beautifully tender, but often furious, melodic and expressive. Her singing is more introvert, with a beautiful warm voice she sings the (traditional) in a passionate way. A must have album for lovers of the Nordic (acoustic) folk, get smashed by the pure craftsmanship of Lajunen, stop reading and order it at the webpage or local CD shop. BAM, what an album!
Besides a solo album also released an album with the band Kirjava Lintu. Together with six fellow musicians she recorded fourteen original compositions for violin, vocals, piano, bass and percussion amongst others. Rooted in Finnish tradition, the band brings a mixture of folk, jazz and (vocal) contemporary music. A nice, fresh sounding album with earthy vocals and well-arranged musical arrangements.
© Eelco Schilder

Trias "Trias"
Gofolk, 2012

Elof & Wamberg "12 ornli syge tracks for ukulele og kontrebas"
Gofolk, 2012

Over Sundet "Masquerade"
Gofolk, 2012

Johanna-Adele Jüssi "Kiilid"
Gofolk, 2012

Article: New Young Danish Band on Their Way Up The Danish quartet Trias brings acoustic music, mainly original, in the tradition of Danish folk music. On double bass, fiddle, viola, piano and harmonium, they use a more or less traditional Danish folk line up, similar to many known and lesser known folk groups from the late sixties/seventies. This debut album shows a highly talented band. Their nice compositions sound fresh and traditional at the same time. They have a modern-acoustic sound and although their sound is recognizable Danish and folk, they are not afraid to use slight influences from other music styles and traditions to enrich their sound. Besides that they play their instruments at a high level and manage to create a well-balanced group sound. A strong debut album with open minded acoustic folk.
The Elof & Wamberg duo exists out of Contrabass and violinist Nicolaj Wamberg and Ukulele player Tobias Elof. On their album they play twelve compositions, both traditional and original. They mix Scandinavian traditions with Klezmer, jazz and contemporary music. A fresh sounding, enjoyable album on which the two musicians explore the possibilities of two instruments that are not often found at the front of the stage. Some tracks workout better than others, I sometimes get the idea the duo is still experimenting a bit and slowly but surely discovers their own style and sound. A promising album with enough potential to start following the career of these musicians very closely.
Over Sundet has released their second album after their nice 2009 debut.[41] Eleven original compositions, beautiful and melodic acoustic folk with sounds from the Nordic traditions, but also from the orient and slight Balkan sounds. Over Sundet is not an outspoken group of musicians, they bring their music in a calm and controlled way. This results in beautiful melodies, but also a bit predictable album that constantly stays in my comfort zone.
Violinist Johanna-Adele Jüssi is an Estonian artist who works together with musicians from Denmark, Estonia, Sweden and Norway on this first album called Kiilid. A mixture between traditional Estonian material, original compositions and Danish tradition. (Listen to Hopsa, this is as Danish as you can get.) Jüssi is a great violinist and together with her fellow musicians she has created a beautiful acoustic folk album in the best Nordic/Baltic tradition. Sounding fresh and sparkling, this is a musician to follow closely in the coming years.
© Eelco Schilder

Tarsoly "Szombaton este"
Folkbeats, 2012

Ternipe "Hungarian Gypsy Music"
ARC Music, 2012

Tarsoly is a young and talented Hungarian folk band. The seven musicians on violins, cimbalom, clarinet and vocals, play a mixture of Hungarian styles from several regions. Lead singer Szófia Lindner has a beautiful, somehow typical Hungarian, voice. A bit sharp, but also expressive at the same time. The band creates a rich and recognizable bit traditional Hungarian sound. Decently played, close to the traditional way of playing. Nice how they show the different styles in a well-balanced and convincing way. A promising band for the future, hope they will develop their own style more and more in the coming years and if they do, they have all it got to become a major Hungarian act.
Ternipe is a Hungarian band that focusses on the Gypsy tradition from that country. Founded in 1989 and two years later they released their first album. This is a reissue of 2005 recordings and shows their quality as great performers of the Gypsy tradition. They stay close to the stereotype most people have of this beautiful tradition.
© Eelco Schilder

Sheelanagig "Cirque Insomnia"
Own label, 2012

Sheelanagig is an English band, founded about seven years ago. With Cirque insomnia this male quartet releases their fourth album. Since their first appearance the band quickly gained popularity as a smashing live act and also their albums were received very well by press and audience. This new album is exactly what the title suggests. A mixture between folk, rock, brass and world-grooves in a circus kind of setting. Up-tempo, energetic and always with a smile. But where many bands play hard and fast to cover up their weak performance, this band combines craftsmanship with uplifting ‘party’ music and combines quality with pure dancing pleasure. Not bad at all, would love to see them live here in the lowlands.
© Eelco Schilder

Bester Quartet "Metamorphoses"
Tzadik, 2012

Although this is the Bester quartet’s first release, the musicians are known for their work as the Cracow Klezmer band and under this name they already released six albums on the Tzadik label, one of my all-time favorite record labels. This new album contains ten original compositions and the four Polish musicians on accordion, violin, bass and percussion play all ten in a hauntingly beautiful way. With roots deeply in the Jewish tradition, combined with jazz, rock and many other styles, this quartet knows how to overwhelm the listener. Beautiful melodies, unexpected twists, sometimes the music explodes into your face while at other moments it’s pure sadness. Stunning accordion parts, subtle but essential work on bass and percussion and a virtuosic violinist. And what to think of the wonderful trumpet solo by guest musician Tomasz Ziętek? It’s a stunning album with passionate music by four top musicians.
© Eelco Schilder

Gabby Young & Other Animals
"The band called out for more"
Gift of the gab records, 2012

The English musician/performer Gabby Young impressed me with her wonderful debut album We’re all in this together.[45] She is an artist who integrates music with other forms of art, including beautiful art work, and slight theatrical performances. Her new album, with her band ‘and other animals’, comes in a wonderful design paper sleeve that folds like a flower. Young understands that adding visual aspects to music it can give an extra dimension to the listener’s experience. She does this in a creative, unique and effective way. On the album thirteen new recordings, all in her typical mixture of pop/Balkan/folk/jazz/brass and so on. Young and the band create their own style, their own style and do this in a stunning way. Although I find this album more accessible than the previous output, it all sounds perfectly in balance. Her vocals are beautiful, from sweet to slightly raw as if she wants to challenge her audience. The band plays at a constant high level and the match between band and singer is perfect. With this album Young and her other animals deserve a big audience world-wide.
© Eelco Schilder

Passarim invites Caito Marcondes "Festança"
Home records, 2012

Massive Central "El Rebbel"
Home records, 2012

Aranis "Made in Belgium"
Home records, 2012

Jacques Pirotton "Stringly 612"
Home records, 2012

Klezmic Zirkus "Klezming Pool"
Home records, 2012

Green Moon "Allo la terre"
Home records, 2012

Les Violons de Bruxelles "Les Violons de Bruxelles"
Home records, 2012

Yahoo! Another collection of albums by the Belgian Homerecords label. Always a pleasure to review as their innovative catalogue contains many interesting projects.
Starting with Passarim invites Caito Marcondes, Belgian musicians who are joined by the Brazilian percussionist Marcondes. They play eleven compositions for string quartet, trombone and percussion and this result in a free-jazz adventure with slight Brazilian and other world grooves, but the main ingredient is the jazz. The tracks go from easy going, melodic performance to a bit more complicated and dissonant pieces. Accessible, but more for the jazz freaks than for the folkies.
Massive Central is a band that raised out of the ashes of the fanfare orchestra Banda Azufaifa. Founder Dick van der Harst continued with five fellow musicians and under this new name they recorded thirteen of van der Harst his compositions. Besides the better known brass section with trombone and saxophone, one of the main ingredients of their music is the typical sound of the tible and the tenora. Two reed instruments that are traditionally used in the folk music of Catalonia. A more than interesting album, I happen to love the sound of the tible and tenora and the way this band mixes this with a jazzy sound is really nice. Interesting is that the original compositions often have a familiar sound, as if they contain melodies that I already know my whole life. This make this record not only a strong piece of music, but also feels a bit like coming home. Interesting for lovers of double reed instruments and for those who like roots-jazz with a Mediterranean sound.
Aranis is one of my favorite bands from Belgium from the past year. As some of you might remember, I reviewed some of their previous output with very positive words.[44] I like the way this groups constantly tries to find new sounds and is always willing to think out of the box. With twelve new recordings of original compositions this Antwerp based band shows the quality of a group of appreciated Belgian composers and with this fine idea they also mark their ten years anniversary as a band. Including compositions of Wouter Vandenabeele, Luc De Gezelle, Wim Mertens and Aranis bassplayerJoris Vanvinckenroye, Aranis brings together some of the best composers of modern acoustic Belgian music. The result is an intriguing, but not an easy album to listen. Aranis did manage to create a well-balanced sound concept which is difficult keeping in mind the many different composers that contributed. But on the other hand, it might also proof that there really is something like a ‘Belgian’ sound. Somehow the album reminds me often of a mixture between the minimal music of Philip Glass and the passionate way of composing and playing of Piazzolla. With influences from many parts of the world, the band plays passionate and technically at a high level. But where earlier albums pulled me into their world, this one somehow keeps me on a distance. I get the feeling that it’s a bit to artificial at moments and that the band is less outspoken than before. But as soon as I think that, I’m amazed by a beautiful melody and I’m completely intrigued again, but only for short moments. I don’t know exactly what it is, maybe listening to the album five times isn’t enough or I’m not intelligent enough to understand all what’s happening on this album, but it leaves me with mixed feelings. Yes Aranis is a fantastic band, but maybe this album is a bit too sterile for me personally.
Jacques Pirotton is a Belgian guitarist and with Stringly 612 he recorded his latest work. Together with a bassist and percussionist and guest accordionist and saxophonist, Pirotton plays nine own compositions and a Debussy piece. For decades Pirotton is known for his fine jazzy way of playing and this album is a beautiful new step in his huge discography. His fine fingerpicking is beautifully accompanied by soft percussion, dreamy sax, more vivid accordion and a bass that stands like a rock. Although his overall sound is very easy going, that doesn’t mean this is mainstream music. The strong compositions have a peaceful nature and have a familiar feeling. A well-played, perfectly balanced album with acoustic folk-jazz of high quality.
Now to Klezmic Zirkus and their Klezming Pool album. Six years after the band was founded this Belgian Klezmer band comes with their debut album. With five compositions by co-founder and clarinet player Aurelie Charneux, two traditionals and a Mahler piece, this quintet surprises with an inventive album. Deeply rooted in Klezmer tradition the musicians create a kind of parade of styles. From elephants who walk into the room, to an almost progressive rock band and from a happy ska-orchestra to a surrealistic, spacy kind of landing of aliens. An album that rocks, that surprises, that energizes and that amazes. Unexpected twists in combination with deadly well played melodies and beating rhythms. This is how I like modern Klezmer, not just another ‘klezmer’orchestra but a band that goes far beyond that and creates a kind of Klezmer 2.0. You like innovating modern klezmerish kind of experimental music? Buy this!
Green Moon with their debut album Allo la terre. A guitar, violin/mandolin and bass trio playing original compositions with a nice Irish/Celtic touch. Fine acoustic folk which reminds me a lot of the early albums by the Dutch group Flairck.[14] The same vibe and a comprehendible composing structure. It’s quality music, easy going and melodic. They choose a more mainstream ‘light’ approach which makes this album suitable for a wide audience. Lovely to listen or to dream away on.
Finally Les Violons de Bruxelles playing fourteen Rheinhardt en self-composed tunes in Rheinhardt tradition. Well played on the violins, guitar and bass. Warm, gentle music that is very recognizable for everybody who loves the Django style.
© Eelco Schilder

Custódio Castelo "In ventus"
ARC Music, 2012

Portuguese guitarist/composer/producer Custódio Castelo surprises me with his beautiful new album called In Ventus. He is mainly known as a contributor (in many ways) to known and lesser known albums of Portuguese artists such as Ana Moura and Christina Branco amongst many others. On this solo album thirteen self-composed tune. All deeply rooted in the Portuguese tradition, but with a sparkling modern sound as well. With this album Castelo shows to be a fantastic composer and an amazingly good musician who plays with real craftsmanship and brings soul into his compositions. Inspiring, innovative and just a great listening adventure. Absolutely recommended!
© Eelco Schilder

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