Saturday, November 30, 2013

Altan Urag - Nation [2010 Mongolia] @320


By request

Formed in 2002, Altan Urag is an ethnic folk rock band, whose music fuses traditional Mongolian sounds with contemporary influences. The name Altan Urag can be loosely translated as "Kin of the Khan" or "Golden Lineage", referring to Genghis Khan and his ancestors. The band's vision is both to promote Mongolian culture to the world and to introduce traditional music to the young people of their country.

The band's seven members are skilful performers on traditional instruments: morin khuur (horse-head fiddle), ikh khuur (grand horse-head fiddle), bishguur (traditional horn) and yochin (hammered dulcimer) and percussion. The vocalists are throat and long song singers, and have all been trained in traditional and classical Mongolian music.

Altan Urag is Mongolia's youngest professional band ... This band was founded in March of 1998. Altan Urag plays national Mongolian music, foreign classical and modern music, collaborating with foreign musicians. Altan Urag successfully participated in musical festivals organised in China, Japan and Russia. All members of the band are professionals, graduated from the Music and Dance College.



01 - Intro (Ehlel)
02 - Kherulen River (Kherlen)
03 - The Beige Stallion (Sharga azarga)
04 - A White-Jawed Lark (Eruu tsagaan boljmor)
05 - Farewell (Udelt)
06 - The Light (Gegee)
07 - Four Kinds of Khoomei Singing (Huumiin 4-n turul)
08 - Blue Mountains in Distance (Tsenherlen haragdah uul)
09 - Mirage of Far Land (Alsiin gazriin zereglee)
10 - The Town of Jiijuu (Jiijuu Khot)
11 - Two Folk Songs (Ardiin 2 Duu)
12 - The Five Hills of The Steppes (Taliin tavan tolgoi)
13 - The Accent of Beats (Tsohiuriin ai)
14 - Outro (Tugsgul)


B. Erdenebat (Erka): yoochin, piano
M. Chimedtogtokh (Chimdee): pipe, vocals (throat singing)
Ts. Gangaa (Gangaa): great fiddle, bass
P. Oyunbileg (Oyunaa): moriin khuur, vocals (throat singing)
B. Bolortungalag (Tungaa): drums, percussion
B. Burentogs (Burnee): moriin khuur, vocals (throat singing)
Kh. Erdenetsetseg (Erka): vocals (long song)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Maria Kalaniemi - Vilda Rosor [2010 Finland] @320


When “I Fjol,” the first track in Finnish accordionist -- and singer -- Maria Kalaniemi’s Vilda Rosor (Wild Roses) kicks in, the listener might very well do a double take, as the banjo pickin’ of Janne Viksten is among the first sounds to greet the ears. Like most of the material on Vilda Rosor, this is a Finnish-Swedish folk tune, but that banjo -- soon to be joined by lowdown reedy accordion and pluckings from other bandmembers -- wouldn’t seem out of place rising from an Appalachian holler. And then there is Kalaniemi’s voice, strong and clear in the upper registers on the choruses, with an authenticity suggesting late-night jam sessions more than her training at the academy and world-renowned virtuoso status. It is a measure of Kalaniemi’s confidence as a singer that she doesn’t over-emote, bringing touches of vibrato and folk inflections and matching, never overpowering, the diverse instrumental backing on these tunes, with Viksten's banjo occasionally reappearing and fitting in just right (eight musicians are featured in various combinations on the disc, playing instruments including fiddle, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmonica, harmonium, jouhikko, and double bass). And in fact, the most downright thrilling moments on Vilda Rosor arrive thanks to her voice on the title track, Kalaniemi’s only composition on the album. “Vilda Rosor” has no pyrotechnical playing on the accordion -- which is used mainly for chordal support -- but instead derives its greatest power from a stunning chorus sung by Kalaniemi, entering suddenly as the reeds swell beneath it. In another twist, the instrumental break in “Vilda Rosor” is taken by Mikko Kosonen on electric guitar, verging toward blues-rock yet spacious enough to find a comfortable place backed only by accordion and banjo.

Another highlight is “Magdalena På Källebro,” a medieval ballad arranged by acoustic guitarist (and frequent Kalaniemi collaborator) Olli Varis, who backs the leader’s vocal with ringing harmonics before the entrance of a deep, nearly orchestral, foundation from, one suspects, Eero Grundström’s harmonium. The tango “Under Fullmånen,” with Kalaniemi unaccompanied, can’t help but suggest Piazzolla and, like the music of the Argentinian nuevo tango master, it brings out the accordion’s capacity for deep soulfulness, while “De Rosor Och De Blader” finds Kalaniemi and friends (notably fiddler Arto Järvelä) equally soulful mixing the Baltic with the Balkan. “Videpiano,” one of two pieces composed by Kalaniemi’s late Accordion Tribe bandmate Lars Hollmer and originally on Hollmer’s Andetag album, is simultaneously stately, sturdy, and heartfelt; here the tune maintains its original flavor in a sparser arrangement, with Kalaniemi -- joined only by a late entry from Grundström on harmonica -- beautifully ornamenting the melodic lines. Andetag’s (and Accordion Tribe’s) “Cirkus II” -- also featuring Kalaniemi and Grundström here -- is a manic, even jarring contrast with the album’s rather melancholic tinge elsewhere, but like “Videpiano” is a welcome inclusion and hopeful indicator that the Hollmer repertoire will take root in more recordings during the years ahead.


01 - I fjol
02 - Vårens väna grönska går (Suvitunnelma)
03 - Videpiano
04 - De rosor och de blader
05 - Under fullmånen (Täysikuu)
06 - Magdalena på källebro
07 - Cirkus 2
08 - Vilda Rosor
09 - Sven i Rosengård
10 - Jeppo (Grannas bastun)


Maria KALANIEMI: voice, accordion
Eero GRUNDSTRÖM: harmonium, harmonica
Arto JÄRVELÄ: fiddle
Mikko KOSONEN: electric guitar
Pekko KÄPPI: jouhikko, voice
Pekka LEHTI: double bass
Olli VARIS: acoustic guitar, dotar
Janne VIKSTEN: banjo

Friday, November 22, 2013

Arvest - Tri Diaoul (2010 France) @320


The group's repertoire comes from very traditional music and contemporary compositions. Arvest is one of the most popular fest-noz groups.
Both singers Yves Jego and Yann Raoul practiced a pure and authentic kan ha diskan.
Guitar and piano are light and rhythmic dance.

Official site:



01 - Tri Diaoul (Pach Pi)
02 - Lec'h Ebet (Laride 6 Temps)
03 - En Bonne Intelligence (Rond Saint Vincent)
04 - Debrit Mat ! (Gavotte)
05 - Atav (Bal)
06 - Goullo (Gavotte Podou Fer)
07 - Liammou (Bourrée)
08 - Une Sombre Histoire (Pile Menu)
09 - Staget
10 - An Alc'hweziou (Valse)
11 - Kuzhet (Hanter Dro)


Yann Raoul: chant
Yves Jego: chant
David Er Porh: guitare, programmations
Aymeric Le Martelot: claviers, mélodica


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Kuunkuiskaajat - Kuunkuiskaajat (Finland 2010) @320


Kuunkuiskaajat ('Moonwhisperers') is a Finnish female folk duo made up of Värttinä members Susan Aho and Johanna Virtanen, that represented Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2010 with the song "Työlki ellää". The duo won the Finnish national final, Euroviisut 2010, with 42% of the "super final" vote.
"Työlki ellää" did not qualify for the final, placing 11th in the first Semi-Final on 25 May 2010 - missing the cut by only three points.


01 - Kahden
02 - Ruutuliina
03 - Loputon tie
04 - Taivaallinen
05 - Hääkellot
06 - Työlki ellää
07 - Maailman majoilla
08 - Tumma sydän
09 - Taivaanrinne
10 - Milloinkaan
11 - Työlki ellää (Remix)


Susan Aho: vocals
Johanna Virtanen: vocals
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