Sunday, June 27, 2010

La Musgaña - Las Seis Tentaciones (Spain 1995) @224

Putting in an order for “Spanish folk music, hold the flamenco” is a bit like putting in an order for “Spanish omelet, but hold the eggs,” verdad?

Not anymore. The tradition-minded, all-instrumental quartet, La Musgaña, is here to engage our ears and broaden our musical palates with Iberian oldies that have nothing to do with foot stomping guitar rhythms or bull ring trumpet heraldry.
With a repertoire drawn almost exclusively from the traditional dances of provinces in the Spanish interior, La Musgaña puts wind instruments in the lead-an assortment of rustic flutes and bagpipes join clarinet and occasional accordion to carry the melodies. The rhythmic pulse, thudded by tabors and other venerable hand drums and embellished by flashing cittern chords, often conjures images of medieval feasts and rites. But La Musgaña isn’t strictly antiquitarian, there’s a smidgen of synthesizer on a song or two, and Carlos Beceiro is one funky fellow on electric bass guitar when he has a mind to be, suggesting that his ears have been tuned to the greatest hits of Sly Stone as well as the greatest hits of old Salamanca.

Fans of traditional Celtic and British should take readily to La Musgaña, whose sound has close parallels to those styles. Sometimes the Spanish quartet calls to mind the Chieftains or the more traditional side of Fairport Convention ad Steeleye Span. Jethro Tull fanatics who  hold that rock band’s flute-playing and British-folk influences dear also should check this out; in the second movement of “Charro Zamorano,” La Musgaña sounds as if it’s ready to go living in the past in more ways than one. The dance rhythms aren’t quite as wild-eyed and ferocious as a Celtic jig or reel, but there’s plenty of movement, and the parallel harmonies of contrasting flutes make the brighter songs an airy delight. La Musgaña mixes it up with tense numbers full of portent, mystery and gravitas that sound suffused with grand historical intrigues. Maybe this is what Jimi Hendrix envisioned when he sang about “Spanish Castle Magic”.

Los Angeles Times

01 - Charro Zamorano
02 - El Mirlo
03 - Salamanca La Blanca
04 - Mudanza Del Rio
05 - Sal A Bailar, Mocita
06 - El Rondador Desperado
07 - Jotas De Gaita
08 - Pasacalles El Alba
09 - Aire Religioso
10 - Pica De Bodas
11 - Seguidillas Madrilenas
12 - Toque De Teatro
13 - Charro Salmantino A Trio

Enrique Almendros: bagpipes, square drum, 3-holed flute, tabor
Carlos Beceiro: bass, cittern, guitar
Luis Delgado: Arabian goblet-shaped drum, drums, hammer dulcimer, keyboards, Arabic lute, tambourines
Kepa Junkera: trikitixa (diatonic Basque accordion)
Jaime Munoz: accordion, clarinets, Bulgarian flute, flutes


Friday, June 18, 2010

Milladoiro - A Quinta das Lágrimas (Spain 2008) @320

It is the soundtrack of the soul that we share similar and different, Galicia and Portugal. It is a musical journey through the lands, mountains, rivers, speech, the sea, the rhythms, traditions, hisotria, etc, which form the imaginary branches hixo of us born from the same tree. "

You are the ways of its origin and inspiration in the love of D. Pedro de Portugal and Dona Ines de Castro, Galician become Queen of Portugal after her death. There we find the source where this story is born that we wanted to have like a river that brings us together at the same sea, and its title is found in that place that had hidden his story of love and death and that gave rise to the legend that is From this musical tale crib: A Quinta das Lágrimas.

We follow the medieval labertino the hand of the Cantigas de Santa Maria of Alfonso X, then get into the music, the rhythms born without borders, Raia compositions, carried by tradition from shore to shore of the Miño as "Galope de Guistola" rich folklore of Minot and two issues of Tras os Montes and the theme traditional Galician "Foliada de Avión."

Head west, Galicia and Portugal look unanswered mystery is the Atlantic, the same infinite horizon. In this sea speaks Fernando Pessoa in his poem "Sea Portuguese, but there are other who surcarn women and men in the crossing, often without return, the sea of work, poetic and real in the poem by Antonio Manoel "Sós."

A day full of Portugal rose carnations. From the time a song to the new era "Venham mais cinco" José Afonso, we permitimo versioning. Meanwhile, on this side of the river, Luis E. Batallán put beautiful music to the poem of Alvaro Cunqueiro, "Quén poidera namorala", a deja vu of the poetry of the troubadours.

This work comes to occupy the number 23 of the most representative group's history and folk music fans of our contry. A Quinta das Lágrimas is thus a return to the colors, the beauty and care Milladoiro work.

An album recorded at the Cormorant and House of Toulouse and has special contributions of the female voices of Laura Amado and the Lisbon fado singer Mafalda Arnauth.

The design is running again by Xosé M. Pineiro, another traveling companion Milladoiro from "A Galicia de Maeloc."

01 - O Mar Portugues
02 - Cantigas No. 49 e 159
03 - Inés
04 - A Quinta das Lágrimas
05 - Venham Mais Cinco
06 - Que Muyto Meu Pago
07 - Quen Poidera Namorala
08 - Sós
09 - Galope de Guistola

Nando Casal: Clarinete, gaita, cromorno, tin whistle
Xose V. Ferreirós: Gaita, oboe, bouzouki, mandolina, tin whistle
Moncho García: Bodhran, percusión
Xose A. Méndez: frauta traveseira e de pico
Antón Seoane: Guitarra acústica, acordeón, mandola, piano, teclados e voz
Harry.C: Violín, mandolina
Manu Conde: Guitarra acústica, bouzouki
Roi Casal: Arpa, bouzouki, mandola, zanfona, piano.
Laura Amado: voices in (6,7,& 8)
Mafalda Arnauth: Voices in (1, 5, 7 & 8)
Segundo Grandio: Contrabaixo in 8


Thursday, June 17, 2010

La Musgaña - Idas y Venidas (Spain 2009) @192

A long time ago I bought in a CD shop in Breda, Holland an album by an unknown Spanish band (unknown to me I mean) called La Musgaña. It were live recordings and I fell for their energetic mixture of Spanish and Celtic tradition with jazz and brass. For years I thought the band stopped shortly after recording this album, seen the fact that I never found any other album by them.
Now their latest CD arrived from
the Folkworld headquarters and I find out they have been very active during the past years. The band is a quartet now and still focus on traditional melodies mostly. Idas y venidas shows a dynamic group with quality and a deep passion for their music.
Their roots lay in the
Castile area and the band has had quit a few line ups in the history of the band. I can only compare this new album with the live album, it’s like a new band to me. Much closer to their original roots, closer to the traditions of Middle Spain (where Castile is located) with more lines to the tradition of the North Spanish areas than to the South Spanish traditions as far as I can judge that.
La Musgaña has a
few talented and a few experienced musicians. The fifteen songs are played at a high level and will probably be liked mostly by those who are into the Celtic influenced styles of Spanish tradition. For me this is a great meeting with an old friend and I’m happy this band is still alive and shares their quality with the rest of the world.
Eelco Schilder (FolkWorld  CD Reviews)

01 - ¡Va por Olmeda!
02 - Duzainas y moscatel
03 - Molinera maragata
04 - El Chirola
05 - Las bodas de Cantabrana
06 - Las pulgas del demonio
07 - P'acá y p'allá
08 - Danza de tejer
09 - Danza del Parrillano
10 - Pasodoble de El Patillas
11 - Si supera que cantando
12 - Al agudillo
13 - El manzanal de Ed
14 - Bailando con los Talaos
15 - El buey

Carlos Beceiro: Cistro, bouzouki, bajo y zanfona
Jaime Muñoz: Clarinete, flauta, acordeón diatónico, saxo soprano
Diego Galaz: Violín
Jorge Arribas: Acordeón

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fluxus & Hoover the Dog - Okavango (Belgium & Wales 2006) @VBR

The Belgian band, Fluxus and Welsh Borders trio, Hoover the Dog, first met at Namest Festival in the Czech Republic in 2003 when they appeared on the same bill. Following the concert which received great acclaim, the two bands discussed the idea of performing together.
This became a reality less than a year later when Okavango gave their debut performance at the Brosella Festival in Brussels. Thanks to the festival organiser's forsight, faith and financial assistance along with funding from Wales Arts International and Ancienne Belgique, Okavango took the stage where they amazed their audience with their astonishingly original music.

01 - Slippery Pollock
02 - Whalebones
03 - Anne's Wals
04 - Zwerver
05 - Mr Happy
06 - Lucky Seren
07 - Only A Boy
08 - Ik Droom Dat Ik Wakker Word
09 - The Noise Will Stop
10 - Stray Cat
11 - Lievie's Wals (Studio Bonus Track)

Bart Deblaere: Percussion
Greet Garriau: Accordéon Diatonique, Vocals/Voix
Koen Garriau: Saxophone, Background Vocals
Paul Garriau: Hurdy-Gurdy [Vielle À Roue]
Tony Harris: Guitare, Bouzouki
Paul Hutchinson: Accordéon
John Hymas: Violon
Stefan Timmermans: Clarinette, Pipes, Recorder
Sam Van Ingelgem: Contrebasse, Basse
Toon Van Mierlo: Saxophone, Hautbois, Pipes
Jo Zanders: Percussion


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Gjallarhorn - Rimfaxe (Finland 2006) @320

Gjallarhorn’s fourth album is their most polished by far, and in some ways their least interesting (possibly for the same reason). The most noticeable difference is the relatively less pronounced use of widely varied percussive instruments that marked the band’s second and third albums. Petter Berndalen, who boasts an advanced university degree in folk percussion, still outpaces most every other prog percussionist I know, but he tends to rely a bit too much on hand drums here for my liking, and a bit less on some of the more ethnic and exotic hand instruments he experimented with earlier in the band’s career.
The other notable change is the much-reduced presence of didgeridoo drone, replaced for the most part with a recorder that doesn’t quite do the same job. That said, aside from drone there are some quite nice flute and recorder passages on “Systrarna”, the guttural “Hymn” and folksy “Staffan”. Jenny Willhelms seems to back away from her violin and hardanger fiddle as well, except for the two ‘Taklax’ tracks (1037 and 1034), both of which are instrumentals centered on her trademark strident fiddling and vaguely Celtic trills.

01. Rimfaxe (Rimemane) (4:00)
02. Kokkovirsi (Bonfire Song) (3:28)
03. Systrarna (The Sisters) (6:11)
04. Blacken (Grey) (6:25)
05. Hymn (Hymn) (6:59)
06. Sylvklar (Silverbright) (5:04)
07. Norafjelds (Mountain Poem) (6:56)
08. iVall (@Ley) (4:46)
09. Taklax 1037 (2:59)
10. Taklax 1034 (3:36)
11. Staffan (Stephen) (4:48)
12. Graning (Dawn) (3:38)

Jenny Willhelms / vocals, violin and hardanger fiddle
Adrian Jones / viola, mandola, vocals and kalimba
Tommy Mansikka / aho, didgeridoo, mungiga, udu and djembe
Petter Berndalen / percussion and kaliba
Göran Månsson / flutes and recorders


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gjallarhorn - Sjofn (Finland 2000) @320

"Sjofn" is undoubtedly the sort of album that deserves not only your complete attention when you're listening to it, but more than a couple of ears to let it flow into your depths. All you need to do is sharpen up your senses by turning them into one at the time you're closing your eyes and kicking back to the music. This is the band's second album, and yet it sounds particularly strange, like nothing we have heard before by the Finnish quartet led by the celestial voice of Wilkhelms.

01 - Suvetar (Goddess of Spring)
02 - Tova och konungen (Tova and the King)
03 - Dejelill och Lagerman (Dejelill and Lagerman)
04 - Minuet from Jeppo-Polska (Intro)
05 - Minuet from Jeppo-Polska
06 - Jom Helge Ande (Come, Holy Spirit).mp3
07 - Näcken och Jungfrun (The Water-Sprite and the Maiden)
08 - Su Ru Ruskadirej
09 - Bergfäst (Mountain haunted)
10 - Oravais minuet
11 - Lille dansa... (Dance a little...)
12 - Hjaðningaríma
13 - Sinivatsa (Dolphin calling)

Jenny Wilkhelms / vocals, fiddle, hardangerfiddle
Adrian Jones / viola, mandola, vocals, kalimba
Tommy Mansikka-Aho / didgeridoo, slideridoo, Jew's harp, udu. djembe
Petter Berndalen / percussion (udu, djembe, darabuka, congas, bongos, shamantrumma framdrum, shakers, snaredrum, tomtoms, bassdrums, cymbals, triangle, surdo, cowdrum, chimes, tambourine), kalimba
Guest artists:
Sara Puljula / double bass on 3 tracks


Friday, June 4, 2010

Gjallarhorn - Ranarop (Finland 1997) @320

Gjallarhorn are a band that have shown a strong interest in percussion since their beginning, and there are several such exotic sounds on this (their debut) album. Turkish jazz musician Okay Temiz appears as a guest and is credited with playing the tabla, darabouka, finger cymbals and “slagverk”, which I think is a generic term referring to any combination of instruments that one happens to pound on with a stick or mallet. This gives the album a world music sound and a musical range that the band themselves didn’t quite have the expertise to pull off at that point in their career. But they would remedy that by adding master percussionist Petter Berndalen to their lineup by the time they recorded the follow-up to this album.

01. Intro (0:20)
02. Konungen Ochtrollkvinnan (The King and the Enchantress) (5:27)
03. Herr Olof (Master Olof) (4:20)
04. I Fjol Sa (Last Year) (3:10)
05. Solbon/Askan (Prayer for Sun/Thunder) (6:32)
06. O-Vals (Non-Waltz) Nyland (3:38)
07. I Riden Sa... (Ye Ride So Carefully) (4:37)
08. Sjojungfrum Och Konungadottern (The Mermaid and the Princess) (6:57)
09. Folkesongen (Folk Song) (4:30)
10. Elviras Vals/Oravais Menuett (Elvira's Waltz/Oravais Minuet) Traditional (5:10)
11. Eldgjald (Gjalder Song) (4:18)
12. Ramunder (4:14)
13. Kulning (Calling) Traditional (2:02)
14. Eqilogue (1:11)

Jenny Wilhelms / lead vocals, fiddles
Jakob Frankenhaeuser / didgeridoo, percussion, mandola, vocals
Christopher Öhman / viola, fiddle, mandola, vocals
David Lillkvist / percussion
Guest artists:
Okay Temiz / tablas, darabouka, finger cymbals, slagverk, percussion
Tomas Höglund / backing vocals
Marcs Söderström

Gjallarhorn - Grimborg (Finland 2002) @320

This third album of the Finnish Swede world music group was my first encounter with them. They combine Scandinavian folk music with more exotic oriental musical elements like didgeridoos, djembes and such, creating pleasant musical patterns and an enchanting realm of sounds.
Jenny Willhelms' gentle voice is soothing thing to listen to, and often violin driven melodic numbers are enriched with thick layers of percussions, making the music being quite strong and drawing all of the listener's concentration. There are both uplifting and melancholic constructed traditional songs here, and few more ethreal athmospheric numbers like a cow-call and didgeridoo solo number.

01. Konungadöttrarna (The King's Daughters) (4:55)
02. Grimborg (4:03)
03. Tora Lille (Little Tora) (4:01)
04. Polonaise (3:44)
05. Menuett (Minuet/Njawara) (2:09)
06. Menuett (Minuet/Njawara) (2:42)
07. Herr Olof (Sir Olof) (5:38)
08. Ella Lilla (Dear Ella) (5:13)
09. Ack Lova Gud (Oh, Praise the Lord) (4:27)
10. Frøysnesen / Soteroen (4:35)
11. Vallevan (4:31)
12. Kulning (Cow Calling) (5:30)
13. Längtaren (2:58)

Jenny Willhelms: vocals, violin and hardanger fiddle
Adrian Jones: viola, mandola, vocals and kalimba
Tommy Mansikka: aho, didgeridoo, mungiga, udu and djembe
Petter Berndalen: percussion and kaliba


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Dauwvoeter - Het Heidens Corweie (A Rown for the Sea) (Netherlands 2010) @192 - Free Group Promotion

Free Group Promotion
Album download kindly offered by William Higgins.

Traditional and modern instruments fuse once again to make folk "by any and every means possible" in "Het Heidens Corweie" (The Heathen's Work). The expression is Dutch and means "a hell of a lot of work".
This project is by William Higgins, who, though joined by some musical friends on some tracks, does all the writing and playing on his own.

The projects' material draws on many sources: being from North-West European descent William uses English, Dutch, OldSaxon- and Nethersaxon for his lyrics and elements from heathen mythology and lore from the middle-ages. Musically, he has moved from a Techno/Hiphop/Jazz background through New Age to his roots in the traditional music of England, Ireland, Twenthe (Netherlands) and Germany.

It is presented here in three chapters, of about 8 tracks each. The first chapter is called "A Rown for the Sea" and its style is "Electrofolk". The other two chapters will feature folk and metalelectrofolk and will be released in the following weeks.

--"William Higgins"--

01. A Rown for the Sea
02. Rei van de Twengelsman
03. De Oale Aa
04. Dustsceauwung at Dunwich
05. Weurdwrocht
06. Rei van Dieuws' kinder
07. Vier nu Joel
08. De Huiselijke Haard

William Higgins: dulcimer, synthesizers, Yamaha VL-1, bass, guitar, programming, flute, recorder, drums, vocals.
Jedidja Higgins: background vocals on "De Huislijke Haard".

Download, listen and, please, leave a comment about this work.

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