FolkWorld #57 07/2015

CD & DVD Reviews

Short & Sweet

Aidan and the Astronauts "Young but Growing" (CD, Own label, 2013). "Young But Growing" is the debut album of an ever changing line up of musicians based mostly in Kenmare in the South West of Ireland. Their style is eclectic, encompassing everything from folk to blues to jazz to rock'n'roll, including a song in sean nos style about the life of Jesus Christ, an adaptation of a W.B. Yeats poem, and a poem by William Wordsworth put to music. Check out "War" by Aidan And The Astronauts @ YouTube!

Algambra "Algambra" (CD, Sketis Music, 2014). The Moscow-based world music band Algambra creates minimalistic fusion music from Middle-Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean influences, centred around Yuri Rubin's steelpan-like hang drum. Check Algambra out @ Bandcamp!

Liah Alonso "Around the World in 80 Songs" (Video, 2015). Former New York subway busker turned folk-rock gypsy-cowgirl, Liah Alonso, believes that music can overcome every cultural gap because music is a universal language. She will be travelling with a guitar only to immerse herself into new cultures (80 to be exact!) and create a band and a song that is true to each region in each destination. The subscription-based web series "Around the World in 80 Songs" will debut on June 30th, 2015. Watch the "Around the World in 80 Songs" teaser @ YouTube!

Adam Andrews "A Thousand Springs" (CD, Own label, 2015). After returning from the "Road to Ambo",[55] Colorado pianist and former folk-pop artist Adam Andrews has created solo piano music that captures his experience of a 24-h retreat into the wilderness. He hopes listeners will enjoy the music as part of their own personal healing and growing process.

Anna & Elizabeth "Tiny Desk Concert" (Video, 2015). A few months back, Appalachian roots duo Anna & Elizabeth[56] toured NPR Music HQ and did a Tiny Desk Concert. "Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle are story-gatherers and storytellers," says NPR's Bob Boilen, "They brought many of us to tears with some of the most yearning harmonies I've heard. If you've never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, take a deep breath and soak it all in." Check it out @ NPR Music!

Bellowhead "Roll Alabama" (Single/Video, 2015). Bellowhead[49] had received their 3rd Best Group nomination from the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015, ahead of a major UK tour and single release from their Top 20 album "Revival". Watch the traditional halyard shanty, telling the true story of the sinking of the Mersey-built sloop-of-war CSS Alabama during the American Civil War, @ YouTube!

Blazin' Fiddles "Pat the Budgie" (Video, 2015). 2015 started pretty well for Blazin' Fiddles[36] at BBC Scotland's Hogmanay Live Show. Watch the "Pat the Budgie" set @ YouTube! The next band album, ft. new recruits Kristan "Harve" Harvey and Rua Macmillan,[42] will be released at the band's week-long fiddle school and festival Blazin' in Beauly in October 2015.

Ryan Boldt "Broadside Ballads" (CD, Dahl Street Records, 2014). American folk singer inspired by the likes of Shirley Collins, Ian and Sylvia Tyson, Bob Dylan, and The Stanley Brothers. On this album, he sings songs mostly of English and Irish traditions, primarily accompanied by guitars.

Philip Bradatsch "Folk Singer" (CD, Off Label Records, 2015). The singer of The Dinosaur Truckers is diving deep into the melancholy of Folk Music. Life how it is: Dreadful, pretty, sad, enchanting! Music: Dark, vulnerable, angry - and tender!

Grant Dermody "Sun Might Shine On Me" (CD, Own label, 2015). Seattle’s Buddhist blues harmonica master Grant Dermody shows the ties that bind the blues - from their Appalachian roots in old-time string-band music to Louisiana’s Cajun. As he says, “Whatever emotion you have, you can get it out through the harmonica as long as you’re willing to go there. It’s the closest thing to the human voice.”

Tina Dico "Spark" (Video, 2015). Danish singer/songwriter Tina Dico wanted to created a fuller sound at her solo concerts: "For a long time I've wanted to be able to make more noise when I play solo and that's why I started playing around with drumming with my feet. And then the banjo guitar was standing right there in the studio. And this song just happened!" Watch the result at her "Spark" video @ Vimeo!

Dubl Handi "Morning In A New Machine" (CD, Own label, 2015). At the center of NYC’s “unexpected contemporary folk revival” is banjoist Hilary Hawke and percussionist Brian Geltner, a.k.a. old-time duo Dubl Handi (pronounced “double-handy”) named after an old washboard company, setting rhythmic grooves to traditional songs. Check out Dubl Handi performing "Red Rocking Chair" @ Vimeo!

Ana Egge "Bright Shadow" (CD, Own label, 2015). “We were always the outsiders,” says folk songwriter Ana Egge of her hippie roots in a small North Dakota town. Egge has since traded the American Plains for New York City, but some childhood spirit of freedom has matured on her latest album, backed up by roots trioThe Stray Birds.[51] “Wildflowers don’t care where they grow,” she sings on her cover of Dolly Parton’s song.

Elles s'y promènent "C'est la voix de la terre" (CD, Home Records, 2015); Caçamba "Batendo Cancelas" (CD, Home Records, 2015). Brazilian-born percussionist Osvaldo Hernandez-Napoles[51] is at the rhythmical heart of many ensembles in his adopted Belgian home. Elles s'y promènent's "C'est la voix de la terre" (ft. fiddler Luc Pilartz)[43] touch your soul with traditional songs from both Belgium, France and Quebec. Then close your eyes and take a trip with Caçamba's "Batendo Cancelas" throughout the Brazilian musical landscapes!

Ensemble Labyrinthus "Carmina de morte" (CD, Bestiarium/Sketis Music, 2014). The popular Russian ensemble Labyrinthus specializes in medieval and early music of the 12th to 14th centuries. Check them out @ Bandcamp, watch them live in Paris @ YouTube!

Article: Music of Norway

Eplemöya Songlag "Möya Og Myten" (CD, Nordic Notes, 2015). Three female voices, and not a iota more, simple as that. Wenche Losnegard, Liv Ulvik and Anja Eline Skybakmoen - one folk singer and two jazz vocalists - fascinate and inspire with their mix of Norwegian folk music and weird improvisation, based on the traditional kveding style. Check out the Eplemöya short docu @ YouTube!

Fiddle & Banjo "Tunes from the North, Songs from the South" (CD, Kos Green Music, 2015). The name that Canadian fiddler Karrnnel Sawitsky (The Fretless)[55] and clawhammer banjo player Daniel Koulack chose for themselves is simple and straightforward: FIDDLE & BANJO! On their new album, their goal is to unite the instrumental dance music of the Canadian North (drawing from Métis, Quebecois and Canadian old time fiddling) with the songs and tunes of the American South. In this they’re helped by folk singer Joey Landreth, creating beautiful versions of classic Appalachian folk songs.

David Franklin "Playing with Shadows" (CD, Own label, 2015). Californian guitarist and pianist (and therapist) David Franklin believes that music is one of humanity's most powerful tools for healing. After several singer-songwriter folk-pop albums his 8th recording is purely instrumental ft. new age bass player Michael Manring: I played with silence a lot. I specifically wrote and arranged these pieces to feature space, openness and simplicity because I felt it gave the music more emotional resonance.

Frazey Ford "Done" (Video, 2015). Don't be fooled by the glittery jumpsuit. Frazey Ford is out for blood ... Watch this break-up anthem with Frazey Ford[56] dancing her rage away @ YouTube!

FY5 "Eat the Moon" (CD, Own label, 2015). FY5 – Mike Finders, Aaron Youngberg, Erin Youngberg, Rich Zimmermann, Ryan Drickey –[52] represent the pioneering spirit of Colorado, bridging the gap between the Smokies and the Rockies, old-time and honkytonk of the east and the wide open West, Bluegrass harmonies, virtuosic picking and fiddling.

"Bitter Apricot" (Documentary, Molly Aida Film GmbH, 2015). Molly Aida Film GmbH is producing a feature documentary called "Bitter Apricot" about the legendary Armenian musician Djivan Gasparyan and his unique instrument - the Duduk. The film tells the challenge of how the 86-years old man passes his legacy to his grandson Djivan Junior. To finish the film they started a crowdfunding campaign @ Kickstarter, you can already watch the film trailer @ YouTube!

Grazztrio "Rocky Mountains", "Flowin' Fee Blues" (Video, 2015). Lluís Gómez's Grazztrio[56] has some new singles on CD Baby and iTunes. Listen to "Rocky Mountains" and "Flowin' Fee Blues"!

Todd Grebe & Cold Country "Citizen" (CD, Own label, 2015). A little bit sad, a little bit weary, a little bit wise, and the hint of a smile at the edges. This is the kind of voice you hear from country singer Todd Grebe in his is hard-driving, electrified honky-tonk out of the Alaskan wilderness.

Iron Mountain "Unum" (CD, Own label, 2015). Not the usual stuff from Ireland: Iron Mountain are a group from Limerick adding synths and strings to their core sound of flutes and pipes to create a unique melange of folk, psychedelia, rock and even metal. Please have a listen to "Enthralldom" and "Opium"!

Jodymoon "All Is Waiting" (CD, Rich Lady Records, 2015). After 3 years of intensive writing, Belgian singer-songwriters Digna Janssen and Johan Smeets, a.k.a. Jodymoon,[56] are releasing their new album with very intimate to big, almost orchestral arrangements. The common theme is the long term process of doing what you love most, thanks to and in spite of everything. Watch "Hitchhike Overdrive" and "The Long Way Round"!

Kaia Kater "Sorrow Bound" (CD, Kingswood Records, 2015). Born in Quebec, based in Toronto and studying balladry and traditional dance in West Virginia, just as the Appalachian Mountains run from Canada down to Alabama, 21 years old singer-songwriter Kaia Kater of mixed Afro-Caribbean ancestry traces the connections between Canada and the USA, and between past and present. Check out the title song "When Sorrows Encompass Me Round" and the story of its inspiration @ The Bluegrass Situation and the video for "Southern Girl" @ YouTube!

Kerani "Equilibrium" (CD, Own label, 2015). Hypatia, the Greek philosopher, Bouddica, the Celtic warrior queen, Hildegard von Bingen, the Christian abbess and mystic ... Belgian-born pianist Kerani with German-Hungarian roots is honouring the Sacred Feminine with a selection of compositions and orchestral arrangements in the neo-classical and new age music genre. Watch the official album trailer @ YouTube!

Article: Music of Norway

Gjermund Larsen "Reise" (CD, Galileo MC, 2014). The third album of Gjermund Larsen[35][49] (violin), Andreas Utnem (piano, harmonium) and Sondre Meisfjord (double bass) introduces the novice to the unique world of Larsen's music and its particular blend of Baroque music, jazz and folk. Watch them live @ YouTube!

StevieRay Latham "Modern Attitudes" (CD, At The Helm Records, 2015). London based folk singer and BBC Young Folk Award nominee StevieRay Latham grew up in Devon singing self-penned folk songs. Singer/Songwriter Peter Bruntnell recorded StevieRay in his basement one night and eleven of these tracks became his debut album. Watch "Modern Attitudes" single @ YouTube!

Elise Lebec "Heart Song" (CD, Own label, 2014). The self-taught Californian pianist raised on new age and world music compares her musical journey of life with sailing vessels and their voyages. Centred around Lebec's piano playing (some solo) "Heart Song" is about the concept that life is a gift and a journey, both internal and external, full of adventures -- good, bad, beautiful, sad, uplifting and often incredibly heart-touching.

Lara Leliane "Free" (CD, Home Records, 2015). Lara Leliane sings about her close encounter with her demons and desires. The ordinary world seems to convert into a magical place. Watch it @ YouTube!

Peter Mulvey "Take Down Your Flag" (Video/Download, 2015). On June 17, 2015, a mass shooting took place at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people were killed. Peter Mulvey wrote “Take Down Your Flag” two days after and put out an open invitation for other artists to contribute their own verses (YouTube). You can download Ani DiFranco's[55] version @ RighteousBabe, all proceeds will be donated to the Emanuel Hope Fund; you can watch Jess Klein's verse @ YouTube!

Robb Murphy "The Darker Side" (Video, 2015). The singer-songwriter from Belfast performed "The Darker Side" from his second album "Sleep Tonight" on The Arts Show (BBC). Here's the link to the video @ YouTube. Robb Murphy received much feedback and decided to record an acoustic version of the song, available as a digital download on all online music stores.

Nyckelharpa Orchestra "Encore live" (CD, European Nyckelharpa Cooperation, 2013). 24 nyckelharpa players from 10 European countries, ft. Didier François,[47] Vicki Swan[55] and Ana Alcaide,[55] met at Bertinoro Cathedral in August 2013 and presented 15 new pieces for the keyed fiddle. Check out Lorenzo Ruggiero's "Foglie al vento" for example @ YouTube!

Antun Opic "Shovel My Coal" (EP, Own label, 2015). I don't feel home anywhere, says German-Croatian singer-songwriter Antun Opic,[52] and this sense of rootlessness and not Balkan music feed into his work. He rather plays a blend of world music, blues and pop; Django Reinhardt meets Paco de Lucia meets Paul Simon!

Seán Ó Riada "Port na bPúcaí" (CD, Gael Linn, 1971/2014). Through his film scores "Mise Éire" and "Saoirse?"[34] and recordings with his group Ceoltóirí Chualann, Seán Ó Riada[28] played an important role in the renaissance of traditional Irish music in the 20th century. "Port na bPúcaí" features Riada’s favourite Irish airs performed on piano and harpsichord at his final concert in 1971, just half a year before his untimely death at the age of 40.

Aidan O'Rourke "Music for Exhibition & Film" (EP Series 1.0)" (EP, Reveal Records, 2015). This builds upon the foundations of the industrial, folk-jazz influenced "Hotline" album.[56] In his most uncompromising musical statement yet - one piece commissioned for an installation by Dalziel & Scullion, two inspired by David Abram's "Becoming Animal" -, Aidan O'Rourke[39] introduces electronics and filmic structures to his trademark melancholic strings.

Woody Pines "Woody Pines" (CD, Muddy Roots Recordings, 2015). It was on the streets as a busker that Woody Pines[51] first cut his teeth, drawing liberally from old American country blues and jugband music. Hillbilly Boogie - that old country dancehall sound that used to be banging out of juke joints in the late 1940s before the birth of rock ‘n’ roll is dripping out of his new self-titled release. Check out Woody's "Black Rat Swing" video @ Vimeo!

Rodrigo y Gabriela with Øystein Greni "Nature's Way" (Single/Video, 2015). Originally released exclusively for Record Store Day in France, Britain and Ireland Rodrigo y Gabriela[54] and Bigbang frontman Øystein Greni have a small number of 7" singles of their recording of the 1960s Spirit song "Nature's Way" left. Watch the video @ YouTube!

Saor Patrol "Outlander" (LP, ARC Music, 2015); "XV - 15 Year Anniversary Edition - Total Reworx Vol 1" (CD, ARC Music, 2015). Scottish medieval rockers Saor Patrol started when Charlie Allan purchased his first set of bagpipes 15 years ago and, on picking up a drum at a car boot sale, innocently asked his friends ‘Who can play the drums?’ Saor Patrol are celebrating their 15th anniversary with ARC Music’s first LP in 20+ years for their 2015 charting album "Outlander",[55] and a compilation of some of the band’s favourite tracks and brand new recordings.

Dana Sipos "Roll Up The Night Sky" (CD, Muddy Roots Recordings, 2015). Spending her formative years in the Canadian subarctic city of Yellowknife, Dana Sipos’ songwriting is infused with a real sense of surrealism influenced by the supernatural experiences of Canada’s Northern Territories. Dana Sipos draws from a range of musical inspirations - from Appalachian music re-inventors Gillian Welch and Sam Amidon to trip-hop band Portishead.

Skiltron "The Clans Have United" (CD, Trollzorn, 2006/2015); "Beheading The Liars" (CD, Trollzorn, 2008/2015); "The Highland Way" (CD, Trollzorn, 2010/2015). The TrollZorn label is proud to announce the reissue of the first three Skiltron albums with several bonus tracks. Founded in 2004 in Argentina, Skiltron is the leading folk metal band from South America. 2015 will be a milestone for the band as they will be playing at Wacken Open air, some more European festivals and a UK tour in September.

Southern Tenant Folk Union "The Chuck Norris Project" (CD, Johnny Rock Records, 2015). All tracks of British folk/bluegrass band Southern Tenant Folk Union's[38][51] 6th album are named after different movies from Chuck Norris's career (though have nothing to do with the plots and contain no reference to car chases, explosions or karate chops) with each song taking the title as a starting point to discuss issues such as the gun laws in the USA and school shootings. Check out "Slaughter in San Francisco" live on BBC Radio 4 ‘Loose Ends’ @ SoundCloud!

Russell Suereth "Spiritual Haven" (CD, Haven Tone Records, 2015). E-keyboardist Russell Suereth blends new age sounds and world fusion rhythms, the sounds of Western acoustic instruments augmented by a variety of traditional ancient instrumentation from around the world, to find a spiritual haven. Watch his Music of Spiritual Places video series @ YouTube!

Tron Syversen "Piano Meditations" (CD, TK Music, 2015). The Norwegian keyboardist Tron Syversen is regarded as a pioneer in the European relaxation music community, his albums being popular with spa managers, yoga teachers etc. "Piano Meditations" features four lengthy tunes aimed as a sanctuary for relaxation, rejuvenation and well-being.

Jack Tempchin "Room to Run" (EP, Blue Elan Records, 2015). Jack Tempchin[50] is known for penning songs performed by Emmylou Harris and Jackson Browne, and, of course, some Eagles classics of the early 1970s. This 4-song EP is the initial offering for what's to come on the full-length LP "Learning to Dance" in August 2015.

This is How We Fly "This is How We Fly" (CD, Own label, 2013). This is a Irish/Swedish folk band consisting of Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (fiddle, Norwegian hardanger fiddle), Seán Mac Erlaine (clarinets, electronics), Nic Gareiss (percussive dance) and Petter Berndalen (drums, percussion) drawing on Irish, Swedish and Appalachian music and dance traditions and thus crossing the borders between folk music and contemporary jazz and ambient electronica. Check it out @ YouTube!

Tiller's Folly "Stirring Up Ghosts, Vol. 1 & 2" (CD, Raincoast Records, 2015). Tiller's Folly perform a blend of Celtic, folk and Country&Western music that captures the spirit of British Columbia. "Stirring Up Ghosts, Vol. 1 & 2" is an expanded, 2 CD set featuring 24 historically-based songs, originally released in 2008 to commemorate British Columbia's 150th anniversary. Watch videos @, or YouTube!

Trad Arr "Cautionary Tales" (CD, Own label, 2014). As the name of this English band suggests, Trad Arr arranges (primarily) traditional songs, from the British Isles, and turn them into folk rock/pop numbers. The core band consists of electric and acoustic guitars, fiddles, drums, keyboards, cornet etc., and their sound is more steeped in pop/rock than in trad.

Trout Steak Revival "Brighter Every Day" (CD, Own label, 2015). Trout Steak Revival’s new album comes on the heels of their breakout win at the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival and showcases their post-modern approach to American roots music and original songwriting. Check out the Colorado band's Gondola's Session in Elmore Magazine!

The Unthanks "Mount the Air", "Flutter" (Video, 2015). The response to the "Mount the Air" album has been quite phenomenal,[56] and The Unthanks kick off their 10th year with a once in a lifetime performance at Glastonbury. Watch Nick Murray Willis’s animated film to the title track and the video to the second single "Flutter"!

Article: Music of Norway

Valkyrien Allstars "Farvel Slekt Og Venner" (CD, Galileo MC, 2014). The Allstars were and are pioneers of the contemporary Norwegian folk and roots scene.[43] Their 4th album again is proof of their unique sound, spur of innovation and uncompromising attraction. Check out "Kom Hjem" @ YouTube!

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