Issue 9 5/99

FolkWorld CD Reviews


Dof Fol Edicions, main sponsor of FolkWorld No. 9, presents here the new album of Berrogüetto:

Berrogüetto "Viaxe por urticaria"
Do Fol Edicions ; DF-016-CD/MC; Playing time: 47.11 min

The journey BERROGÜETTO proposes us emerges from an ancestral idea: to reach the chimerical lands of Utopia. In fact, as it is usual in these Galician artists, it is a play on words with a new semantic creation. Icarus the Greek escaped from the labyrinth with his father, Dedalus, aided with wings made of wax and feathers. After flying too near the Sun, Icarus' wings melted and his body fell into an island in the Aegean Sea, named ICARIA because it was there where his bones finally rested. "Voyage en Icarie" is the title of a book, written in the 19th Century by Etienne Cabet about the utopian worlds. On the other hand, "urticaria" is the name of a sort of a skin rash similar to the one produced by nettles.
The music from this second record of BERROGÜETTO encourages a reaction of a light skin tickle inciting to fly and to visit the special and exclusive lands of the unmistakable world of BERROGÜETTO. During this original sound trip we visit many other musical forms originating plenty of evocations. Besides this, BERROGÜETTO introduces now the vigorous female voice of Gaudi Galego, who becomes an accomplice in a few of the new tracks. Xavier Paxariño was a special guest for this new run, collaborating with his flute and sax. Paco Dicenta was the man with the electric bass, while Ruben Isasi and Iñaki Plaza added the exotic sounds of their txalapartas. All these ingredients were cooked in the kitchen of the Elkar Studios in Donosti (San Sebastian), in the months of December 1998 and January 1999. We hope that with these songs at least you will get a little itch, making you to start an imaginary journey around the utopian and particular world of Urticaria. And mind the sun!
Do fol Edicions
Xoan Luaces Fandiño

This was a text from the Do Fol Label, main sponsor of this issue

Crasdant "Welsh Traditional Music"
Sain Records; SCD2220; Playing time: 54.49 min
Crasdant's debut CD is a full delight, presenting tunes from Wales in a fresh and most beautiful way. The four members are all highly respected musicians from the Welsh scene: Robin Huw Bowen is internationally known as a soloist on the Welsh Triple Harp, Stephen Rees (fiddle, pibgorn, whistles, accordion) is an ex-member of well-known Ar Log, Huw Williams is a splendid guitar player and step dancer and is known as half of the Huw and Tony Williams duo, and finally Andy McLauchlin as a talented flutist.
Their music - partly traditional, partly original - is beautifully arranged, and shows more the peaceful side of Welsh music. Still, the band has managed to give this CD a live feeling - especially the clog dancing on a few numbers gives a fresh and lively feeling to the CD. Crasdant's music reminds me very much of The Chieftains - the quality and style of music and the approach are quite similar. They are very likely to promote Welsh music and culture internationally; currently, Crasdant are on their first ever America tour to promote this album, and without doubt they will be hugely successful over there.
Highly recommended!
Sain Records; e-mail; Liandwrog, Caernarfon, GB-Gwynedd LL54 5TG, Wales.
Michael Moll

Maria Kalaniemi & Aldargaz "Ahma"
Rockadillo Records; ZENCD 2059; Spielzeit: 50:32 min
This album comes from Finland, with Maria Kalaniemi being one of Finland's best and most respected accordion players. She teamed up with some other members of the Sibelius Academy Folk Music Department (Timo Alakotila (piano), Olli Varis (guitars), Tapani Varis double bass), Petri Hakala (mandolins) and Arto Järvela (violin)) in 1992 to form Maria Kalaniemi & Aldargaz. This is their third release, and you can feel that those musicians have played together a lot, because their music is well arranged and interwoven. We find eleven newly composed pieces and only one traditional tune, and so the whole CD sounds innovative, there still might be some traditional roots, but apart from that it's jazzy, modern finnish music. There are tracks which are very atmoshpheric, some are more jazzy than others, some even sound pretty acamedic and overarranged, more from the head than from the heart. But then this is very good music played by excellent musicians who like to experiment a bit, and let other influences into their music. Among the long list of guest musicians we find the créme de la créme of finnish musicians. Unfortunately, the booklet does not give too many information about the music and it's background.
A innovative CD on a high musical level.
Rockadillo Records; EImarinkatu 12 A 2, 33500 Tampere, Finland, e-mail; Tel: ++3583213 1260, Fax: +358 3 213 1397
Rolf Wagels

Sedrenn "De l'autre coté/The other side"
Label: Keltia Musique; KMCD96; Playing time: 42.48 min
Two voices and two harps - this the centre of Sedrenn from Brittany (France). The two young women Christine Mérienne and Elisa Velianiti are also the core of this album, while they are joined here sometimes on guitar, double bass, clarinettes, percussion, violin and accordion. Both the harp playing and singing of the women is innovative, experimental and exciting, representing the maybe more the mystical beauty of Celtic music. They have taken a good choice of songs, partly traditional, partly contemporary, in both French and Breton language.
Beautiful voices and innovative music for quiet hours of day dreaming...
Mailto Keltia Musique, 1 Place au Beurre, 29000 Quimper, France; Tel.+33-2-98954582
Michael Moll

Moher "Over The Edge"
KRL/Lochshore Records; CDLDL 1282 ; Spielzeit: 49:35 min
After a long time the second album by the Clare based top band Moher, which had a nice debut album a couple of years ago. And now Micheal Queally (fiddle), Noel O'Donoghue (flute), Pat Marsh (bouzouki) and Paul O'Driscoll are back, joined now by Liam Murphy (guitar & vocals) and John Moloney (bodhrán). They managed to keep the fresh and easy sound of the first album, extended by two songs by Liam Murphy. Of course there is a good selection of Jigs and Reels, but also a breton set, a waltz and a Set-Dance. The playing is very precise and you can feel that they love playing their music. This is highly energetic stuff, the mix of the sound is splendid, the melody instruments are never overlayed by the rhythm-section, also because all sets are very well arranged, so that seldom all backing instruments are playing at the same time. It's a pleasure to listen to that CD and I also liked the information about the tunes given in the booklet. This one makes a good start for anyone who wants to get deeper into Irish music, but also for the general listener.
Definetely one of the CDs of the year, at least first place in this quarter........
KRL/Lochshore Records; 9 Watt Road, Hillington, Glasgow. G52 4 RY; Tel.: +44 (0)1418829986
Rolf Wagels

Barbara Gray & Wilbert Garvin "Ceol na gCapall"
KRL/Lochshore Records; CDLDL1281 ; Spielzeit: 49:53 min
Barbara Gray is working as a freelance composer, publisher and keyboard player, her musical partner, Wilbert Garvin, is a uillean piper and he is a founder member of Na Piobairi Uillean of Belfast in 1968. It seems that, at least for this recording, he left his tradtional roots behind and teamed up with Barbara Gray to "develop their own musical style of Celtic atmosphere" to qoute their press info. The result is a music that is "difficult to categorise, but very visual" and it's "intricate interweaving of melody and countermelody represents the Celtic knotwork design" as their info says. Do I need to say more: Flabby synthesizer with Uillean pipes, mostly, apart from one polka set,slow, simple tunes, which are far from irish music, far from folk music, but very close to New Age. If it's any good in this category I can't tell you, since I have not a lot experience in this type of music.
KRL/Lochshore Records; 9 Watt Road, Hillington, Glasgow. G52 4 RY; Tel.: +44 (0)1418829986
Rolf Wagels

Crossroads "Back to our Roots"
Label: Cross: 1 F6830; Playing time: 66:13 min
Folkmusic from Belgium, with lots of influences: The music was written by Johan Demeyer and Oliver Gray. To Johan's warm voice and guitar playing, combined with the songs and fiddle of Oliver Gray, a eastern flavour is added by Obhi Catterjee's percussion on tabla, and from the belgian side we find Alain van Vemden on belgian bagpipes & flute and Katelijne Janssen on vocals and accordion. The result is not, as you might exspect, a wild worldmusic fusion mix, but very solid songs, some in part singing, and some nice, but not always convincing tunes. The whole CD is nice and well done, but sometimes it lacks the power of other recordings, and it is a bit harmless. But don't get this wrong, the two composer have done a good job with their songs, and the booklet that comes with the CD is very well edited.
This is one for listening at quiet nights.....
Contact: Oliver Gray, Ave Richard Neybergh 158, B-1020 Brussels, Tel: +32 2 4281250
Rolf Wagels

Carreg Lafar "Hyn"
Sain Records; SCD2205; Playing time: 44.05 min
Another album of Sain Records, the premier Welsh record label that seems to publish only highest quality Welsh recordings. Carreg Lafar are no exception; and Hyn is a fascinating well produced album of a talented band. In five tunes and five songs, Carreg Lafar presents the beauty of Welsh traditional music. The songs are all in Welsh language; Linda Owen Jones sings most of them, with vocal support from the boys of the band. Both songs and tunes have exciting and unusual arrangements, with a great choice of instruments: Fiddle/Viola/Cello (Rhian Evan Jones), Flute/Whistles (James Rourke), Guitars/Mandolin (Simon O'Shea) and Welsh Hornpipe/Welsh Bagpipes/Percussion/Whistle (Antwn Owen Hicks). Especially the Welsh Hornpipe (sounding similar to a bombarde) add a typical flavour to the music.
The material on this CD is mostly traditional Welsh; the melodies have all a very harmonic and 'ear wig' character, and remind me sometimes of Breton, sometimes of medieval music. The band sound is rich, strong and varied, and has a destinctive own feeling.
No wonder that this recording was nominated at the Grammy Awards in the USA!
Sain Records; e-mail; Liandwrog, Caernarfon, GB-Gwynedd LL54 5TG, Wales.
Michael Moll

Margo Carruthers "Tàlant nam Bàrd - Gaelic Songs from Nova Scotia"
Label: North America: B&R Heritage Enterprises; Rest of the World:
Greentrax Recordings; CDTRAX157; Playing time: 44.20 min
Scottish Greentrax Recordings has secured with Margo Carruthers another talented artist from Nova Scotia, Canada for its label. Margo is a classically trained singer and musician who specialises in music reflecting the heritage of Atlantic Canada which is especially Gaelic language and song. Her singing style does not reflect her classical background, it sounds very much traditional and natural. Her debut album celebrates the Talent of the Bards (that's the title of the CD in English) with Scottish-Gaelic background from Nova Scotia. She is joined by some of the best Nova Scotia musicians, like Ryan MacNeil of Slainte Mhàt on piano and producer Al Bennett, giving the CD a quite modern and fresh appeal.
The booklet quotes a Gaelic bard: "It is the adornment that Nature puts on the hillsides, that awakens the talents of the bards". Nova Scotia's hillsides must be beautifully adorned...
Greentrax Recordings; Edingburh Road, Cockenzie, East Lothian EH32 0HL, Scotland, E-mail; Tel: +44 1875814155 Fax: +44 1875813 545
Michael Moll

Sandy Brechin "Out of his Tree"
Greentrax Recordings; CDTrax169; playing time: 52:29 min
Normally, I don't like Folkrock, I am more on the purist's side. But here, it is different: Although scottish accordeon virtuoso Sandy Brechin brought a whole rock section (Colin MacFarlane (guitars, mandolin, lapsteel, keyboard), Aaron Jones (bass guitar) and percussion genius Jim Walker (drums, percussion - ex-Ceolbeg)), to the recording studio, it is far more than the usual Pogues-like stuff, this highly intelligent music by highly skilled musicians. Sandy Brechin composed almost all the tunes himself, and they all sound pretty traditional apart from some unusual turns, which make them sound very interestesting. These tunes could easily stand alone without the backing section, and still would make your feet dance. So I am quite sure that some of them will make their way into the sessions and on on other recordings very soon. As the well edited booklet tells us, there is always a story behind the tunes and their titles. The groovy rhythm section fits very well to the wild tunes, but never overlays the tune itself, this is backing in the best sense of the word. I am sure that this type of music attracts a wider audience (especially younger people), than a pure drop band, but it's a very good way to draw new people to traditional music with this excellent band.
Greentrax Recordings; Edingburh Road, Cockenzie, East Lothian EH32 0HL, Scotland, E-mail; Tel: +44 1875814155 Fax: +44 1875813 545
Rolf Wagels

Cheryl Cloud & Common Ground "Hard Choices "
Uncommonly Round Records; UR 14992; 16 Tracks; Playing Time: 54.51 min
This is the last album which American singer-songwriter Cheryl Cloud recorded with her group Common Ground (whose later albums Kathy Tan reviewed in the last issue of FolkWorld) before losing her battle with cancer. Many of the songs reflect her struggle with the illness and her optimism in the face of great difficulties (it's by no means all doom and gloom). She also had a rather pleasant voice, sensitively accompanied here by viola, guitars, dulcimers and mandolin, plus (quite subtle) bass, drums and keyboards. Overall it's a very enjoyable, gentle country/rock album with arrangements highlighting the acoustic instruments. The tunes are nice if not quite catchy enough to be remembered for any length of time.
All Common Ground albums are available through their website at
Uncommonly Round Records.
Anja Beinroth

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