Monday, May 27, 2013

Maria Kalaniemi - Iho [1995 Finland] @VBR~224

Accordionist Maria Kalaniemi is one of the better-known Finnish musicians. An student of the famous Sibelius Academy folk program, she is equally at home playing traditional music and more experimental fare as well. She was one of the members of the great group Niekku, and more recently has collaborated with musicians such as JPP keyboardist Timo Alakotila and Swedish fiddler Sven Ahlback. Iho is the first album credited to her and Aldargaz, a group of top-notch musicians.

All of the pieces are instrumentals. Most were composed by Kalaniemi except for three by Alakotila, two traditional tunes and a rendition of Carlos Gardel's tango "Sus Ojos Se Cerraron" (retitled "Surun Silmat"). Kalaniemi's playing can be intricate and fast (as on "Lomasavel") or she can create a beautiful wash of sound. Some pieces, like "Green Score" and "Napoleon," invite the listener in with an accessible, attractive sound. Others are complex and subtle, like the sad folk tune "Istunpa Sankys Laitalla."

Aldargaz is Timo Alakotila (piano and harmonium), Olli Varis (guitars), Tapani Varis (acoustic bass), Petri Hakala (mandolins) and Arto Jarvela (violin). Each of these musicians has a formidable career in his own right and their names should be well-known to fans of Finnish music. In addition, eight more guests add brass instruments or strings to various cuts. This creates a perfect setting for Kalaniemi's five-row button accordion. The accordion is definitely the lead instrument here, but the other band members hold up their end of things. Alakotila's keyboards add stylish accents and solid support; his sophisticated piano work on "Surun Silmat" is perfect for the piece. Most of the arrangements were written by Alakotila, often in partnership with Olli Varis.

The music on Iho bears the same relationship to Finnish folk music that new acoustic music does to bluegrass and old-timey music. The tradition is a foundation for musical technique and skill that is played out in a more modern style. For some of the best in contemporary Finnish music, check out Iho.

01 - Napoleon
02 - Lomasävel
03 - Green score
04 - Slingerdansin
05 - Surun silmät
06 - Iho
07 - Triolipolska
08 - Sofias flykt
09 - Istunpa sänkys laitalla
10 - Säde
11 - Linjärv

Maria KALANIEMI: Accordion
Timo ALAKOTILA: Harmonium
Olii VARIS: Guitar
Tapani VARIS: Bass
Petri HAKALA: Mandolin
Arto JÄRVELÄ: Violin
Janne LAPPALAINEN: Saxophone soprano, Saxophone tenor
Jukka TIIRIKAINEN: Trompete, Flugelhorn
Aleksi AHONIEMI: Saxophone tenor
Matti MÄKELÄ: Violin
Maarit KYLLÖNEN: Violin
Tuula SAARI: Alto
Tiuja TIRKKONEN: Violoncello
Antti SOININEN: Violin.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Plethyn - Drws Agored [1991 Wales] @320

At their most active between 1978 and 1995, Plethyn are pioneers of authentic Welsh folk music, specializing in the close harmonies of the “Plygain” tradition.

Plethyn (meaning ‘braid’ or ‘bond’) is a very apt name for this trightly knit Welsh folk group. The three members originate from the region of Maldwyn, in Mid-Wales. Roy and Linda are brother and sister and John Gittins was born on a neighbouring farm. The folk tradition of this region is particularly rich and its influence can be clearly heard in the voices and style of Plethyn.

Linda Healy has one of the outstanding voices of Welsh folk singing, and the harmonic and natural blend given by Roy’s tenor and John’s bass provide the perfect frame for it.

They accompany themselves on guitar and mandolin and most of their songs are their own arrangements of traditional ones, but they also include new compositions, many of the lyrics penned by poet Myrddin ap Dafydd. ~ SainWales

01 - Cwm y Coed
02 - Myn Mair
03 - Breuddwyd Glyndwr
04 - Rho Wên yn Dy Gwsg
05 - La Rochelle
06 - Philomela
07 - Hon yw Fy Olwen i
08 - Y Ceidwad
09 - Ffarwel i Aberystwyth
10 - Wylaf Dros Iwerddon
11 - Y Deryn Pur
12 - Cysga Di Fy Mhlentyn Tlws
13 - Tafarn Fach Glyd ar y Cei

Linda Healy: Vocals, guitar and accordion.
Roy Griffiths: Vocals, guitar.
John Gittins: Vocals and mandolin.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Folque - Landet Ditt [1981 Norway] @192

After recording the outlaws were Folque without bassist, drummer - and record label. The new members were soon in place, and surprisingly enough got Folque offers from Arve Sigvaldsen the record company talent, who had heard the single "Hjuringstev" and had faith in the group.

Your country was despite some good tracks, one of Folques weaker LPs. It CVar some tunes in traditional Folque style of these was "Gesellvise" and "Woman Killer" perhaps the most successful. Also Øyvind generous two instrumentals, "My soul, my soul" and "Fanfare" worked well, although they were quite different from what Folque had previously done. However, some of the newly written songs were less fortunate. Worst was the "Witch", which Folque was forced by the record label. Tango "Opium Dreams", which Folque had found the notes on a loft clearance, was in addition to reinlenders on the first LP, the closest Folque ever came to a "hit".

01 - Min Sjel, Min Sjel
02 - Landet Ditt
03 - Gesellvise
04 - 15 Mil Til Oslo
05 - Kvinnemorderen
06 - Liti Kjersti Og Herreper
07 - Fanfare
08 - Gamle Olaves
09 - Heks
10 - Knut Liten Og Sylvelin
11 - Reinlender Fra Amot
12 - Opiumsdrøm

Jenn Mortensen: Vocals.
Lars Helljesen: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar.
Øyvind Rauset: Fiddle, Piano, Organ, Harpsichord, Synthesizer, Hardingfele, Backing Vocals.
Morten Bing: Mandolin, guitar, dulcimer, banjo.
Roald Thomesen: Bass, Backing Vocals.
Pål Søvik: Drums, Backing Vocals.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Folque - Sort Messe [1983 Norway] @256

Folque is a Norwegian folk rock band founded in 1973 by Morten Bing, Jørn Jensen (musician), Eilif Amundsen, Lisa Helljesen, Espen Løvstad, Trond Øverland, and Trond Villa. In 1972 a subset of the band was initially named «Brød & Vin» (Bread & wine), they changed the name to Folque in the spring of 1973 after adding members and traditional instruments to the ensemble.

The band was dissolved in 1984, but reunited in 1994 and in 2004 for playing live.

Their musical style is linked to Malicorne in France and to Steeleye Span in the UK.

Most of the discography is difficult to find, as only the first three albums were re-released on CD.

01. Sort Messe  3:33    
02. Til Bloksberg  2:53    
03. Stjerneskipet  3:15    
04. Trollkjærring  2:36    
05. Unge Remarson  4:12    
06. Aske Til Aske  3:33    
07. Katrine  3:18    
08. Ronald's Kake 2:22
09. Ae Kan'kje Danse  3:27   
10. Jon Remarson's Jig  0:56    
11. Hymne  3:07

Jenn Mortensen / vocals
Lars Helljesen / vocals, guitar
Morten Bing / Mandolin, guitar, dulcimer, banjo
Roald Thommesen / bass
Pål Søvik / drums

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dremmwel - Lañs (France 2006) @320


This very energetic fest-noz band comes from the south west of Brittany. On their album "Lañs (released in 2006) they collaborate with famous Louise Ebrel.

01 - Matilin
02 - Le prunier de pommes - Ridées
03 - An dragon bihan
04 - Troellenn
05 - Taol lañs
06 - Ar sac'h ler - Ibil beuz
07 - Klevet - Suite Plinn - ton simpl
08 - Klevet - Suite Plinn - bal
09 - Klevet - Suite Plinn - ton doubl
10 - Tan ha dour
11 - A la belle étoile
12 - Feunteun ar wasaleg
13 - Stok an douar (Dañs Leon)
14 - Mississipi Liger (Galop Nantais)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tablatura - Tablatura 3 (Japan 1990) [Medieval/Folk] @320

Tablatura, made up of Japanese musicians who do a pretty good job of playing music from the 12th to 16th centuries. Takashi Tsunoda, the main force behind the group, graduated from the Cologne Conservatorium of Music and studied with the lutenist Michael Schaeffer.

Their music includes a few tracks which could probably be considered "standards" in medieval music, including "Las Cantigas de Santa Maria", the anonymous 14th-century "Chancioneta Tedesca" and the "Lamento di Tristan e Rotta". Occasionally, particularly on their later albums, they throw in some original works in the style of medieval music.

01. Children Children
02. The Virgin Queen
03. Las Cantigas de Santa Maria
04. La Mourisque
05. El Sueсo de Tortuga Azul de Mar
06. Karelia
07. Arlequin
08. Trott
09. Estampie Real
10. I am happy very very happy
11. Lullaby

Tsunoda Takashi - Lute, Ud, Vihuela & Harp
Tasaki Mizuhiro - Fidel, Viola Da Gamba, Rebec & Portativeorgan
Hayasaka Sachi - Recorder & Shawm
Ishimori Yoshihiko - Long-Necked Lute, Psaltery & Cittern
Kondoh Ikuo - Percussion & Dulcimer
Yamashita Yohsuke - Dulkimer (5)
Ogawa Mishio - Vocal (10)

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