Saturday, November 26, 2011

Vujicsics - Vujicsics (1988 Hungary) @192


There was a brief period in the late 1980s when eastern European music seemed to be flavour of the month among the UK's burgeoning world music fraternity. Groups such as Muzsikás and The Trio Bulgarka performed here and had albums released on British labels. Vujicsics were also part of this mini explosion of interest and Hannibal Records put out this album having licensed the recordings from the legendary Hungaroton label.

Vujicsics are an interesting band. Named after the composer and musicologist Tihamer Vujicsics they share his passionate interest in the folk music of the ethnic minorities of southern Hungary. So this is a Hungarian band who are perhaps best known for playing Serbian or Croatian folk music. In the case of this album it is the former musical tradition that provides the material. The six band members play a wide range of stringed and woodwind instruments and are joined by four female singers including Márta Sebestyén.

Part of the fascination with this music comes from the simple geography of the region. Whilst Hungary belongs very much to the block of 'central' eastern European countries, Serbia - by contrast - straddles the northern limits of the Balkans. So this is music that has its roots in very different regions. Whilst the fast-paced rhythms and violin playing may suggest eastern Hungary or Romania, the presence of instruments such as the gaide (bagpipe), sopile (shawm) and tambura point more towards south-eastern Europe.

Generally the music is characterised by a backdrop of several tamburas alongside a bass and perhaps an accordion with the lead melody played on instruments such as clarinet, ocarina or flute. The playing is fairly dynamic and although the arrangements have obviously been crafted with care they generally avoid becoming too fussy or 'pretty'. Zoltán Juhász plays the gaide on a couple of the tracks to good effect and the distinctive Balkan flavour of "Zbogom Salo" (with tarabuka accompaniment) provides one of the main highlights. It is also interesting to hear the female singers on this record who contribute a few short a cappella pieces. The voices are clear and strong, recalling Bulgarian singers but lacking the latter's unique timbre.
-the electrician-

01 - Dere
02 - Seljancica
03 - Da je visjna-Tanac-rance-Vranjanka
04 - Malo kolo
05 - Zbogom selo
06 - Svatovac iz pomaza
07 - Madarac
08 - Selom ide-Ovo kolo
09 - Sviraj zlato!
10 - Sokacko kolo
11 - Banatsko kolo-Oj savice-Mimikino kolo
12 - Aj..., sviralka

Mihaly Borbely: Clarinet, Flute, Ocarina, Sopile, Tamboura
Mirosláv Brczán: Bass, Cello, Tamboura, Tambura
Dalman Eredics: Bass
Gabor Eredics: Accordion, Concertina, Conductor, Tamboura
Kálmán Eredics: Bass
Erika Frei: Vocals
Marica Greges: Vocals
Katalin Gyenis: Vocals
Karoly Gyori: Tambur, Violin
Zoltán Juhász: Bagpipes
Márta Sebestyén: Vocals
Ferenc Szendrödi: Guitar, Tamboura

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

John Whelan - Come to Dance (1999 Ireland) @VBR~256

English-born button-accordion virtuoso John Whelan retreats from the Celtic-world music fusion experiments of his last few albums to make a straight-ahead, traditional Irish dance record. As such, “Come to Dance” feels like something of a breather. 
It’s also a relief. “Riverdance” has popularized Celtic hybrids to the point of cliché. Whelan’s exceptional technique, good taste in tunes and bandmates, and obvious love of the genre helps him skirt that trap while also avoiding the boredom common to many traditional Irish dates. 
"Come to Dance” doesn’t break any new ground, but it tills the old sod pretty well.

01 — Jackie Coleman's — Bag of Spuds — Bird in the Bush
02 — The Broadstone Inn — Big Snugs — Beth Patterson's
03 — The Turning of the Season
04 — The Crooked Road to Dublin — Dinkey Dorian — Gan Aimn — The Copperplate
05 — Frances O'Neill's — Jesse and Franchesca's Miracle — Stop the Car
06 — Tracks in the Snow — The Nightlight
07 — Fernoy Lasses — The Old High Reel
08 — Queen Esther's — What Daddy — April's Polka
09 — Simone
10 — Crossing the Shannon — Man of the House — The Five Mile Chase
11 — Mary O'Neill's — Bank of Ireland — Ballinamore
12 — Bob's Garden of Earthly Delights — Broderick's
13 — Concert Reel — Flogging Reel
14 — Dowd's Favorite — O'Gorman's Salute — My Cup of Coffee
15 — Ten Penney Bit — Trip to Athlone — Gallagher's Frolics
16 — Newtown Bridge — The Kerryman
17 — Father O'Flynn — Father Tom's Wager — Lilting Fisherman
18 — Spellan the Fiddler — Gan Aimn — Deacon Harry Doyle

John WHELAN: Accordeon
Robin BULLOCK: Guitar, Cistre, Mandolin
Jim EAGAN: harmonic
John MCGANN: Guitar, Mandolin
Cillian VALLELY: Whistle, Uilleann pipes

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Capercaillie - Live in Concert (2002 Scotland) @320

For a band that began life as a traditional music outfit, CAPERCAILLIE has never been afraid of venturing into new musical terrain. Through twelve studio albums and countless "live" performances in over 30 countries, the group has continued to develop and hone their craft, adding distinctive, contemporary innovations to a traditional music-based repertoire.

If sales of their studio recordings have helped carry their music to an international audience - gaining them over one million album sales worldwide and one gold and two silver discs in the UK - it is their "live" performances that have reinforced a loyal fan base around the globe. Live In Concert finally captures the magic and energy of that stage set on CD. This, however, is no backward-looking 'greatest hits live' recording. The band continues to innovate and there is a definite new 'feel' - a new energy and vitality to this recording - which reflects a subtle shift in the band's overall sound.

01 - Mo Chailin Dileas Donn
02 - Finlay's
03 - Kepplehall - Osmosis Reel
04 - Nil Si I Ngra
05 - The Miracle Of Being
06 - Dr. Macphail's Reel - Cape Breton Song
07 - The Weasel Set
08 - Inexile
09 - Iain Ghlinn' Cuaich
10 - Bonaparte
11 - The Rob Roy Reels
12 - Coisich A' Rùin
13 - Crime Of Passion
14 - The Tree

Karen MATHESON: Vocals
Manus LUNNY: Bouzouki, Guitar, Background vocals
Charlie MCKERRON: harmon
Donald SHAW: Accordion, Keyboards, Background vocals
Michael MCGOLDRICK: Flute, Whistle, Uilleann pipes
Michael MCGOLDRICK: Bodhran
Ewen VERNAL: Bass, Background vocals
David ROBERTSON: Percussion, Bodhran

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shooglenifty - Murmichan (2009 Scotland) @VBR

The progressive celtic mavericks from Edinburgh refuse to sit back on their laurels but continue to stride forward with this ambitious new double album, Murmichan.
The 12th October marks the release date of Shooglenifty’s 7th album, Murmichan, under their own Shoogle Record label. It is an epic double album that features their trademark funky sound that roots itself in traditional music. The powerhouse line of percussion, bass and electric guitar drive forward to the melody of fiddle, mandolin and banjax. “With Murmichan we were trying to fully explore the two aspects of the band with this double album” says band member Luke Plumb, “the first disc captures the energy of what we do in a ‘live’ performance and the second disc allowed us to take advantage of total creative freedom in the studio” he first disc features all new tunes that the band have been touring in the last year. On the second disc they combine some new tunes but rework some from the first disc with the help of artists like the Ensemble Kaboul and Dolphin Boy.  
Listen closely to one track and samples of Jay Leno interviewing James MacAvoy about his own band which he cleverly named

Disc One:
1) The Road to Bled
2) The Dancing Goose
3) The Dotteral
4) The Ham In the Boiler
5) Clejcken the Deil
6) The Vague Rant
7) Glenfinnan Dawn
Disc Two:
1) The Wing
2) Up All Might
3) Suphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station
4) First to Sleep
5) Johnny Cope
6) Would You Like An Olive, Wes?
7) Dolphin Delta Dotteral
8) The Road to Bled (Live)

Angus Grant - Fiddle
Luke Plumb - Mandolin
Garry Finlayson - Banjo & Banjax
Malcolm Crosbie - Guitar
Quee MacArthur - Bass
James MacKintosh - Percussion
Ensemble Kaboul
Dolphin Boy


Various Artists - Kerden - Cordes de Bretagne (1998 France) @192

Kerden is an all-instrumental collection that emphasizes Breton musicians playing stringed instruments such as guitar, bouzouki, and bass. The disc presents a ‘Who’s Who’ of stellar Breton musicians: Roland Conq, Jamie McMenemy, Jacky Molard, Yvon Riou, Dan Ar Braz, Soig Siberil, Frank le Bloas, Jean-Charles Guichen, and so on. The pallette of styles is highly diverse, ranging from relatively straightforward takes on traditional tunes to dark and jazzy compositions. The quality of this diverse material is stunning, making ‘Kerden’ well worth many repeat listenings. Highlights include Jamie McMenemy’s solo piece ‘Margot Maria’, and Gilles Le Bigot’s exquisite fretless acoustic guitar on the tune ‘Pedenn’. Kerden was also separately published as a music book with tablature and notation for all of the pieces on the recording.

01 - Kudel (Jacky Molard)
02 - Ty Moon (Pat O'May)
03 - Take Six (Nicolas Quemener)
04 - Melen Aour (Alain Genty)
05 - Bobine (Jacques Pellen)
06 - Ar Moraer (Frank Le Bloas)
07 - Pedenn (La Prière) (Gilles Le Bigot)
08 - Marche Dardoup-Gavotte Pourlet (Roland Conq)
09 - Jenovefa (Dan Ar Braz)
10 - Dre Ar Wenojenn (Soïg Siberil)
11 - Ugia, Uhellou Glaz in April (Tangi Le Doré)
12 - En Avant ! (PSG)
13 - Ar Plac'h Nanket (Alain Leon)
14 - Margot Maria  (Jamie Mc Menemy)
15 - Garzoles (Jean-Charles Guichen)
16 - Deus En-Dro d'ar Ger (Yvon Riou)


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