Friday, July 20, 2012

Maddy Prior & Carnival Band - Vaughan Williams Carols, Songs & Hymns (England 2010) @320

Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band’s association with the composer Vaughan Williams goes right back to their very first album together, 1986’s Tapestry Of Carols, and their version of ‘The Sussex Carol’. In many ways it was a natural fit – Williams the great collector and composer of English music meets one of its most important singers and dedicated band of musicians. Their paths have crossed on countless occasions since but with Vaughan Williams Carols, Songs & Hymns the partnership has fully blossomed. Comprising all original Williams’ compositions, the album demonstrates the full range of his art and his unique ability to write music for the common man, for the spiritual and for the religious. In the safe and inspired hands of Maddy and the Carnival Band, this historical music is given a new lease of life – performed with the same freshness and vitality as when it was originally unveiled by one of the masters of English music.

01. The Golden Carol
02. Blake's Cradle Song
03. The Blessed Son of God
04. Snow in the Street
05. Wither's Rocking Hymn
06. Drinking Song (Back and side go Bare)
07. Whither must I Wander
08. The Willow Whistle
09. Linden Lea
10. The Divine Image
11. The Woodcutter's Song
12. Come Down O Love Divine
13. Fierce Raged the Tempest
14. At the Name of Jesus
15. Into the Woods My Master Went
16. The Night is Come Like to the Day
17. God be With You Till We Meet Again

Maddy Prior: vocals
Steve Banks: Percussion, Violin, Vocals
Jub Davis: Double Bass, Vocals
Giles Lewin: Recorder, Viola, Violin, Vocals
Steno Vitale: Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Mandolin
Andy Watts: Bassoon, Clarinet, Recorder, Shawm, Vocals

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Muzsikás & Márta Sebestyén - Morning Star (Hungary 1997) @VBR>224


To Western ears, the Hungarian folk music on Morning Star is not as accessible as the Celtic folk which blossomed into ubiquity in the U.S. in the 1990s. But Muzsikas and Marta Sebestyen have nonetheless become a comparable international phenomenon, selling out concerts in the most Western of places. Hungarian dance music is no less jubilant than Celtic reels (and in fact the fiddling bears a striking similarity), but the rhythms are often trickier, and the nuances of the arrangements more complex. Hungarian ballads are no less emotional, but they lack the sort of sweeping sentimentality of Irish ballads. In fact, Marta Sebestyen's vocal meandering almost seems to have less in common with the singing styles of Hungary's western European neighbors than with that of the Middle East or India. Why has this distinctly un-Western music, so challenging, raw and offbeat, been such a universal hit? The explanation may lie in the purity of the music: pure musicianship, pure ritual, pure community. The sheer antiquity of this music is also impressive: the band has painstakingly studied in communities which have kept these ancient musical traditions preserved for centuries -- even under Soviet occupation, when any expression of local identity was viewed as a punishable threat. Some of the members of Muzsikas risked their own safety by pursuing their love for this music during that period. That passion shows on Morning Star, even if the inherently communal experience of this folk music loses something in the translation to audio recording.
Darryl Cater (AMG)

01. Fuzesi lakodalmas 9'36"
02. Madocsai szolo-orzo 3'03"
03. Kerekes hejsza es sebes 3'40"
04. Edesanyam rozsafaja 6'05"
05. Ej, de szeles 7'04"
06. Ha en rozsa volnek 6'03"
07. Baj, baj, baj 7'16"
08. Gyimesi dallamok 8'34"
09. Ej, csillag, csillag 4'30"

Mihály Sipos: violin
Péter Éri: violin, viola
Dániel Hamar: double bass, gardon, hammered dulcimer
Sandor Csoori: violin
László Porteleki: violin
Márta Sebestyén: voice
Katalin Gyenis, Eszter Erdics, Anna Helbich, Ildiko Toth: voices
Zoltan Farkas: hit gardon
Martin Eri: cello

1997 • MU003 (as Szép, hajnali csillag') • Hannibal HNCD 1401

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