Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sylvain Barou - Sylvain Barou [2012 France] @320

FY: Fantastic album, Enjoy it!!

"Sylvain Barou is undoubtedly one of the greatest flute players of his generation. He has recorded his first solo release in 2012 on which he invites some of the biggest names in traditional music today. An album at the crossroads between Celtic (irish & breton) and oriental music. Finally a more personal work after having worked with the top musicians of the scene and participating to about 50 albums as a guest soloist. 
A promising album, an outstanding crew !"

"Sylvain Barou, the breton flute phenomenon, released this solo album in April 2012, he describes it a log book of the work of the last 10 years. Breton and irish music are well represented of course, but Middle eastern influences also bring colors to this magnificent release. A true masterpiece for a debut solo album."

01 - The Naga Jigs
02 - Horos
03 - Margaretig (intro)
04 - Ton Doubl Plinn
05 - Mare Nostrum
06 - The Windy Set
07 - Ridées
08 - Esfahan
09 - Alborada
10 - Mélodie Kozh
11 - Shah Kokojaan
12 - JD's reels
13 - Kreiz an douar

Sylvain Barou: flute
Dónal Lunny: bouzouki, bodhràn 
Jacques Pellen: 12 strings guitar 
Ronan Pellen: cittern 
Julien Stevenin: double bass 
Keyvan Chemirani: percussion (zarb, daff) 
Prabhu Edouard: tabla, kanjira 
Gilles Le Bigot: guitar 
Youenn Le Bihan: bombarde 
John Doyle: guitar 
Liz Carroll: fiddle 
Ed Boyd: guitar 
Stelios Petrakis: lyra, lavta 
Hamid Reza Khabbazi: tar 
Florian Baron: oud 
Rubén Bada: bouzouki 
Alain Genty: fretless bass 
Padraig Rynne: concertina 
Paul McSherry: guitar 
Méabh O'Hare: fiddle 

Donal Lunny's liner notes on the CD:
"In the course of my musical career - particularly in the earlier 
years, I have wandered in and out of many different genres of music. 
Looking back on the journey, it feels like just that; a meandering 
exploration which lacked a particular direction until one day I 
realised that I was more connected with Irish music than any 
other.From then on, the itinerary became simpler; a more direct route, 
but not without occasional diversions into other regions, which 
helped, and still help to replenish my passion for music generally. 
Extending the analogy of travel and exploration to Sylvain, I think of 
him as a mountaineer. Not only is he avidly interested in music from 
every corner of the world, but he also seeks out challenges; peaks of 
musical achievement which can normally only be accessed by musicians 
who have been born into their particular culture, and who have served 
arduous apprenticeships in their chosen disciplines. Reaching these 
heights demands a degree of musicality one encounters only 
This album is an exotic collection of music by any standards. In the 
traditional tunes, the listening experience is all the more intense 
and exhilarating because of the depth to which Sylvain has penetrated 
the culture from which each piece originates. And in the treatment of 
the newly composed pieces, the buoyant dynamic power and fluidity of 
the playing is obvious. 
The ongoing pursuit of musical knowledge and technique will continue 
to inform and improve Sylvain's playing in different ways; most 
importantly it will enable him to keep giving joy and pleasure to 
those who listen to his unique voice. I feel honoured to share this 
part of his great journey." 

Dónal Lunny 
Jan 2012

produced by Jérôme Nédélec/Aremorica Records 

Recorded and mixed by Sylvain Barou  
Mastered by Marco Migliari - Realworld Studios, UK

Tannas - Suilean Dubh [1999 Scotland] @192

I do not know whether it is quiet in Scotland, having come no closer to that fabled land than the odd can of Tennant's Strong Lager. I do know that there is little quiet, little peace, where I live; each nap, every reverie is subject to clamorous intrusion by emergency vehicle sirens, cruising hip-hop sub-woofers, even the pop and rattle of gunfire. Provided I play it loud enough, this second release from Tannas, the duo of Amy Geddes and Sandra Mackay, offers 46 minutes of aural asylum from urban America. And no matter how loudly "Suilean Dubh" 
played, a deep peace flows from its traditional and traditionally styled pieces, updated for the new millennium by fine supporting musicians with electric guitars, synthesized keyboards, creative percussion, and loops. This paradoxical peace is not of the insipid New Age sort, living musical traditions melted into anonymity by synthesized solvent, but the result of carefully calibrated instrumental production, and especially of Mackay's pretty lead vocals, calming even on lively numbers, assuming an aching and fragile loveliness in harmony with those of Geddes.

"Suilean Dubh" is unique in its tasteful melding of contemporary and traditional Celtic musical influences, neither sacrificed in the bargain

Jim Foley (

01. Suilean Dubh 
02. Seallaibh Curaigh Eoghainn - The Lochaber Badger 
03. Andy's Saltire - Fear a Bhios Fada Gun Phosadh 
04. Illean a I 
05. Bi Falbh O'n Uinneig 
06. 'S Toigh Leam Cruinneag Dhonn Nam Bo (Tribute to Na H-Oganaich)
07. Catharis - Haighaidh - Lexy Macaskill
08. Air a' Ghille tha mo Run
09. Caitlin
10. Thoir Dhomh do Lamh - Ruidhleadh na Coilich Dhubha
11. Buain na Rainich

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tannas - Rù-Rà [1996 Scotland] @320

Gaelic music is hard to come by in the early 21st century, but the Scottish band Tannas is one of the genre's most earnest supporters. The multi-membered band has received rave reviews from the likes of the European magazine Q (they were picked as one of the top five folk albums in 1995), won the Interceltique Folk Group Competition at L'Orient in 1995, and has taken album of the year honors by major Italian radio stations. While the band has appeared on several different compilations along other artists (1996's Rough Guide to Scottish Music, 1999's Celtic Voices, etc.), Tannas has also recorded 1995's Oighreachd (Heritage), 1996's Ru Ra and 1999's Suilean Dubh (Dark Eyes).

01 - Mairead Nan Cuiread / The Bob Parsons Strathspey
02 - O Ho Na Ribeannan / Sean Truibhas / Faca Tu Saor An T-Sabhaidh
03 - The Old Hags Set / Lucy Cassidy / Ruidhleadh Cailleach / An Drochaid Chluiteach / The Smith Of Killiechassie
04 - Nach Fhreagair Thu, Cairistiona
05 - Cum 'Ur Gealladh
06 - 'Si Morag
07 - Coill' An Fhasaich
08 - 'N Uair Bha Mi Na Mo Mhaighdinn / B'fhearr Mar A Bha Mi'n Uiridh
09 - Mrs. Mary Stitt
10 - Caillte A Chaoidh

Sandra and Doreen MacKay (sisters): Vocals
Malcom Stitt: guitar, bouzouki, highland pipes
Julia Legge: Fiddle, backing vocals

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tannas - Oighreachd [1994 Scotland] @320

Brilliant! What a debut album this is from Tannas, a five piece band who met while playing in Edinburgh's session scene. Tannas are: vocalists Sandra and Doreen Mackay (sisters), fiddler Julia Legge, Jason Dove on keyboards/accordion and Mike Garden on guitars, with guest percussionists Jimmy MacLeod and Stevie Lawrence.

The sound Tannas produce is pure, clear and peaceful. The voices soft and true, the instrumentation calm and uncomplicated. The album is well balanced, with twelve tracks split between nine Gaelic songs and three instrumentals, some being sets. You will hear mouth music, at least one waulking song and a song which was originally a piobaireachd (piper's lament). Most of the tracks are traditional pieces arranged by Tannas but also included are songs by the MacDonald brothers of Runrig, the Melbost Bard Murdo MacFarlane, a lyric by Ewan MacColl and a reel by Phil Cunningham. In our opinion the most beautiful song is "Canan nan Gaidheal" - The Language of the Gaels, which opens the album. The vocal is ethereal and a stunning bass drum like a heartbeat cuts in after the first verse.

We understand this is the first of the three album deal Tannas have signed with Klub Records, the next is due in August 1995 and we really can't wait. We thought of making comparisons with other more established bands but this album by Tannas deserves to stand alone. We hope they continue to make such beautiful music together for a long time to come.

01 - Canan Nan Gaidheal
02 - Sabhal Ia'n Ic Uisdean
03 - Abu Chuibhl
04 - Look Behind You
05 - Tuireadhiain Ruaidh
06 - The Battle Of Waterloo
07 - The Session Set
08 - Eilean Beag Donn A Chuain
09 - A Fhleasgaich Oig Bi Furachail
10 - Bodachan Cha Phos Mi
11 - Cearcall A Chuain
12 - Cha Teid Fionnlagh A Dh'eige

Sandra and Doreen Mackay (sisters): Vocals, fiddler
Julia Legge, Jason Dove: keyboards/accordion
Mike Garden: guitars
Jimmy MacLeod and Stevie Lawrence: Percussion

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Maria Kalaniemi & Timo Alakotila - Åkerö [2012 Finland] @VBR

Accordionist Maria Kalaniemi and pianist Timo Alakotila have been working together for more than two decades. During this highly active and productive period collabrating in many formations,most notably as prime components in the contemporary acoustic ensemble Aldargaz,Maria's and Timo's musical alliance has grown as tight and as complimentary as can be imagined.Simultaneously soloists and accompanists,with instruments themselves that are both solo and accompanying instruments,Maria and Timo play extraordinarily sympathetically with each other,both deeply sensitive to the roles and relations of each other's hands,as if all four were part of the same being.
During these twenty years of playing,performing,composing and arranging together,each element of Maria's and Timo's musical style and character,individually and collectively,has matured:their virtuosy continues to improve to increasingly staggering levels while the delicate melodic force of their arrangements and compositions grows ever more potent.The ease and lightness of the performances creates a feeling of space and timelessness
that,like all Timo's and Maria's music,seduces and subdues like nothing else.

01 - Åkerö
02 - Syyssoitto
03 - Koskaan et muuttua saa
04 - Kaipaus
05 - Viola
06 - Yötuulet
07 - Kohti Pispalaa
08 - Trädet
09 - Grönbacka
10 - Kengo-Antas vals
11 - Ta in hiid in fiol
12 - Vaiennut viulu
13 - Silta
14 - Soittajan kaipuu

Maria KALANIEMI: Accordéon
Tero LINDBERG: Trompette
Heikki POHTO: Saxophone alto
Antti RISSANEN: Trombone
Anssi NYKÄNEN: Drums, Percussion.
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