Saturday, March 28, 2015


Guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn, founder of Pentangle, dies 

The English guitarist and songwriter John Renbourn has died aged 70 at his home in Hawick in the Scottish Borders. Best known for his work with the folk group Pentangle, he had been on tour with the guitarist and singer Wizz Jones.Renbourn was due to play at the Ferry in Glasgow on Wednesday night but colleagues became concerned when he failed to turn up. Police found him at his home on Thursday morning, 26 March, where it is thought he had died from a heart attack. Renbourn’s manager, Dave Smith, who worked with him for about 25 years, described him as a “delight”. “He was just larger than life. Game for anything. He was just finishing off a tour with Wizz Jones – and was looking forward to the next. He was a great teacher – he was always putting himself down as a teacher and running weekend workshops all over Europe, where he would have students come and learn from him.”

Smith added that Renbourn would probably be best remembered for his work with the folk band Pentangle, which he formed with fellow musicians including the guitarist Bert Jansch, who died in 2011. “Obviously that was what brought him into prominence,” said Smith. “But his solo career has been a continuous thing. It never got large because it’s very specialist music, but he’s had an international fan base because of his influential playing style.

”Among those paying tributes to London-born Renbourn was the DJ Cerys Matthews, who said: “So sorry and sad to hear of John Renbourn’s passing. A loving, lovely man. RIP John, it was an honour and pleasure meeting you.” 

Novelist Ian Rankin tweeted: “Ach, and now John Renbourn has died. What a guitarist...” 

He described growing up in a musical house: “My family all played something ... there’s a picture of me when I was about five playing on the banjo, so I went through all kids of stuff, all sorts of music. It was just in the early 60s that I was faced with the terrible dilemma of having to get a job, and finding myself preferring to travel and play.”

Renbourn had an unusual technique whereby he used three fingers on the right and a thumb to the guitar, with filed down pieces of ping pong balls stuck on as artificial nails.

“People tell me I’m living in the dark ages, I’m scorned for using these old ping pong balls,” he told Matthews. “But they work, there’s nothing too much wrong with them - apart from the fact that they’re flammable.”

He did admit that they occasionally fell off. “The Pentangle came out of retirement and we were playing a very big show at the Barbican, and as I was playing, one fell off. I was clever and I had some superglue with me and another one under the chair... I stuck it on, but I didn’t know if the glue was coming out or not, so I bit the top of the superglue, and I stuck my lips together.”

In 2007, the original members of the Pentangle were reunited to receive a lifetime achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Renbourn was also awarded the lifetime achievement award at the Ards Guitar Festival.

Renbourn leaves two sons and a daughter.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Agnes Buen Garnas & Jan Garbarek - Rosensfole (1988 Norway) @320

By request

Jan Garbarek is best known as a saxophonist, originator of a distinctive instrumental sound associated with the German ECM label, for whom he has played on dozens of solo and group projects. Ms. Gamas is a Norwegian singer who specializes in folk material. These popular songs, myths and legends have been given a completely contemporary treatment by Garbarek with synthesizers, hand drums, and a great variety of wind instruments. The result is an unforgettable record that is neither folk, ethnic, jazz, new age, or space music, but is simply an original and highly effective work of art.

01. Innferd 0:54
02. Rosensfole 2:45
03. Margjit Og Targjei Risvollo 16:08
04. Maalfri Mi Fruve 5:12
05. Venelite 7:34
06. Stolt Øli 4:54
07. Signe Lita 4:13
08. Lillebroer Og Storebroer 2:35
09. Grisilla 7:15
10. Utferd 1:14

Agnes Buen Garnas: Vocals
Jan Garbarek: Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Synthesizer [Synthesizers], Percussion 

Music based on medieval songs from Norway 
Digital Recording, Autumn 1998, Bel Studio, Oslo 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Triakel - Thyra [2014 Sweden] @320

"Thyra," this is the title from 1912 to 2001, surviving Swedish singer of traditional folk, Thyra Karlsson, meant. It is regarded as one of the best in their field in Sweden and collected in his lifetime a lot of popular songs. Your thus applies this plate of Triakel as a dedication.he powerful, sometimes roughly accented sounding Swedish language forms a very important aspect in the expression of this music and again I experience a Swedish lesson in the hope of learning something about it again. In the liner notes welcomes the daughter of Thyra Karlsson, that her mother will find more attention and a larger audience through this plate. So I hope that besides the band also Triakel this review may help a little.

This is the fifth studio album by the Swedish band and the focus is very much directed to the moment of their interpretation by the trio format and economical instrument with two violins and harmonium. And this is 'top notch', just like the song. The atmosphere is very vividly rendered, so you will inevitably entrained in this blast of various emotions. Because they are many different, except for the hope that is connected to the emigration to America ("Amerikaresan") or the atmosphere of the slow and sometimes a little sad, melancholic acting titles such as "Lantflickans Klagan". In this song I think quickly on similar sounding Celtic songs.

But with a perfect integration between vocals and violins in the opening song first develops a cheerful upbeat mood that is at "Kom blicka In På En Kyrkogård" replaced by a slightly swaying waltz atmosphere and at "Sparvens Visa" by the drones-sounding harmonium even a mystical orientation experiences. In "Om Jag En Gång Skall Ha En Man" strikes me that keep coming up such parts of a song that guides me in my memory in other directions: to Ireland to Scotland to elements that music from Louisiana who established themselves as Cajun was. Music is just international influences come from different regions and with migrations were widespread. Very happy and elated ecstatic us the "Skolsång", an atmosphere that frequently encounter in their life-term on the board.

At the end of this very good record there is a special feature, because with "Hjältevisa Vid Fem År" we hear an original song by Thyra Karlsson, from the book "Reading For Children Vol.7". The lecture is solo and quite lively. This is a nice touch, grab a song dedicated to the end as the final statement of her to do so.

Wolfgang Giese

01 - Lillade Anna
02 - Kom Blicka In Pa En Kyrkogard
03 - Sparvens Visa
04 - Gubben Och Gumman
05 - Om Jag En Gang Skall Ha En Man
06 - Tusen Tankar
07 - Skolsang
08 - Med Tarar
09 - Amerikaresan
10 - Lantflickans Klagan
11 - Herr Peder
12 - Var Blommar Fridens Stangel
13 - Skomakarvisa
14 - Stjarnorna Blinka
15 - Thyra Karlsson - Hjaltevisa

Fiddle – Emma Härdelin, Kjell-Erik Eriksson
Harmonium – Janne Strömstedt
Vocals – Emma Härdelin
Songwriter – Thyra Karlsson

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Michael Flynn - The First Time, the Last Time [2013 CANADA] @320

KC: Great songs, great voice, I liked a lot!

After a devastating string of events, Michael Flynn brought his guitar and some recording gear to a seaside house in Northern Ireland and wrote and recorded his first solo album The First Time, The Last Time. He considers The First Time, The Last Time the most important thing he’s ever done, and he looks forward to playing shows in support of the album this year and beyond.

He started playing piano at age four and has since learned a wide range of instruments including guitar, bass, drums, piano, saxophone, American fife and is now teaching others how to play. He also currently plays guitar in the Toronto band Dirty Bird.

01 - Even After You're Gone
02 - Picture of a Picture
03 - Outside of Here
04 - Invisible Friend
05 - Destroyed
06 - Hole
07 - Push Me
08 - Loose Ends
09 - Better Place to Leave
10 - We All Blow Up
11 - Island Under Water
12 - Mind
13 - The First Time, the Last Time

Michael Flynn: Composer, Vocals and all instruments.




Monday, March 9, 2015

Western Skies Motel - Prism [Denmark 2015] -- FREE GROUP PROMOTION

Western Skies Motel is the solo project of Danish guitarist René Gonzàlez Schelbeck. Exploring the intimate nature of the classical guitar, Prism unfolds around a theme of balancing light and darkness and uncovers an undercurrent of reflections on solitude in the creative process. Relying on a variety of open tunings, mantric repetitions and droning strings, Western Skies Motel seeks to create a timeless space where the guitar becomes the lens in which the nuances reveal themselves. The album also sees Western Skies Motel experimenting with the 3rd bridge technique, pioneered by such experimentalists as Fred Frith and Keith Rowe, to create porous harp like timbres that weave through the thirteen pieces, offering a lightness and transparency to the restricted sonic palette of the collection.

Drawing on inspiration from Glassian minimalism through simplistic flamenco to the pattern-based musical tradition of West Africa, Prism lands somewhere between contemporary classical and modern folk. Prism is the debut full-length album from Western Skies Motel and was recorded live with most of the material written on sight. Western Skies Motel has previously released the EP Reflections on Audio Gourmet.

Here's a link for a preview:


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Triakel - Sånger från 63º N [2004 Sweden] @320

Emma Hårdelin is a Goddess. Really. Truly. Go read our reviews of her vocal work with Garmarna and you'll see what I mean. Just consider what Kim Bates had to say in reviewing their last CD, Hildegard von Bingen: 'the fiddle lines are wonderful throughout this album, conveying what the beauty in these sophisticated melodies, grabbing the heart of the melodies and blending effortlessly with Hardelin's voice. The hurdy-gurdy provides the drone that almost certainly accompanied these melodies in Hildegard's time. But it must be said that a great deal is resting on Hardelin, and that she delivers magnificently.' I think that she is indeed one of a select group of female Nordic vocalists whom the ancient Nordic deities blessed with magic! (The other two are Lena Willemark of Frifot and Jenny Willhelms of Gjallarhorn.) Liking the music of Garmarna more than just a bit, I was a bit hesitant to hear what she sounded like in another group as I was afraid that it might not equal the work she did in that group. Happily, I was wrong, quite wrong.

Sånger från 63º N -- which is on sale here in the States from cdRoots which provided this review copy -- is probably one of the finest Nordic CDs I've had to pleasure to hear in quite some time. Triakel consists of Emma Härdelin (vocals), Kjell-Erik Eriksson, (fiddle), and Janne Strömstedt (harmonium) which makes them akin to what Våsen was like when I heard them play at Bowdoin College sans percussionist a few years ago. (Barb Truex has a full review of that memorable concert here.) All three are well-known within the circles of Swedish folk music. Emma and Kjell-Erik are also members in Garmarna and Hoven Droven.

Cliff Furnald on cdRoots notes that 'Triakel began life as a New Year resolution. After a party together Kjell-Erik and Janne honoured their agreement to perform together on harmonium and fiddle in December 1994. It was a success, and they were keen to follow it up. When Emma Härdelin added her voice to the duo the group was complete. During the past few years the group has toured throughout Sweden and also played in about 10 different European countries. They have also appeared several times in the Unites States and Canada.' This is definitely one New Year resolution that I'm very glad was kept!

Triakel, which means 'sweet, black licorice' in the Jämtland dialect of Sweden. And more importantly, Triakel is a splinter off Hoven Droven, one of the rockier of the new Nordic neo-traditional groups. By that, I mean that both Hoven Droven and Triakel are FHL (Faster Harder Louder) and they both compose new material that somehow sounds quite old. Neat trick! Again, I must stress that the vocals of Emma Hårdelin are what makes this CD what it is. As April Gutierrez said of their 1998 Northside release titled Triakel: 'It 'feature[s] the crisp, delightful vocals of Härdelin. I'm not certain what it is about Nordic countries, but they seem to grow masterful female singers on trees; Härdelin is no exception. The sparse arrangements laid down by the fiddle and harmonium allow her voice to drive the songs, and the overall matching of instruments, voice and lyrics is very fine indeed.' I've heard Frifot live in a small venue -- If Emma is even close to Lena when heard live, it would be both an uplifting and somewhat scary performance as both their voices are beyond merely good. If the Norns sing, these two girls are what they sound like.

This is not to slight the other two musicians in Triakel, Kjell-Erik Eriksson and Janne Strömstedt, as they too are superb. On Sånger från 63º N -- which means Songs from the 63rd Latitude (the superb liner notes are in English and Swedish!) -- their playing of fiddle and accordion superbly underscore her voice. Without them, this music would not have the full, energetic sound that it has.

My opinion is that this is an album any lover of Nordic music will want to hear now. Go buy it from cdRoots so you too can savor it. It's that good!

Cat Eldridge - Green Man Review

01. Veit (Where D’you Think...? )   2:22
02. N'Lars och N'Mas (Maclay and Macrae)   1:44
03. Lihll'-Pe i Floa (Wee Willie Wattie) 2:06
04. Lilltåa, Tåtilla (Little Toe) 4:08
05. Grannar och vänner (Friends and Neighbours)   2:52
06. Min docka (My Pretty Maid)   3:43
07. Barnamörderskan (The Cruel Mother)   3:12
08. Guds fruktan/Steklåt (Trust in God)   3:12
09. Älksaren i gluggen (The Lover at the Window)   1:58
10. Nu haver denna dag (Now One More Day)   4:36
11. Den gråtande drängen (The Farm Lad Who Cried)   2:51
12. Bli som far (In Your Father’s Footsteps)   3:17
13. Tordyveln/Polska (The Dung Beetle’s Wedding)   2:38
14. Långmasaguten (Young Ricky Rider)   1:29
15. Farväl alla vänner (Farewell to You All)   3:55
16. I Jamtlann (Jämtland)  3:04

Emma Härdelin - vocals
Kjell-Erik Eriksson - fiddle
Janne Strömstedt - harmonium
Anders Larsson - guest vocals on Min docka

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Triakel - Ulrikas minne - Visor från Frostviken [2011 Sweden] @320

Westpark give us regularly wonderfully minimalist gifts from Scandinavia. The new sign of life of many years of cult-Folker Triakel fits seamlessly into the label history: for instance, can be beautiful folk music.

Triakel prove once more as musical ambassadors of their country.Much to "Ulrika Minne" is extremely catchy, which, given the work-up of traditional songs treasures Sweden also is close; Finally, these are the sounds and lyrics of ordinary people, where the meaning was not spun by avant-garde and stands, but according to expressed emotion in sounds. When it comes Triakel hence the little big feelings, especially nowadays where you can not be too often because the hustle and bustle of everyday life rarely gives the chance. By switching off one should not equate TRIAKELs music or the sighted song material, however; too diverse are the emotions to which it moves the minds of the listeners, and eagerly and passionately puts the trio to this. As examples of just waltz ends "Sara" and "Kråkvisa" are mentioned as well as the almost gejodelte "Dryckesvisa". This shows once more, supposedly typical folk music styles are as near to the world. The man encounters if not themselves, yet in each case a brother a sister respectively in dealing with such songs. The Einfindung in the dreamy advances "Brännvinet", "Stina" and "Näktergalen" is therefore in no way dependent on the origin of the recipient; Only the open ear is enough.

Rarely sound Triakel euphoric as in "Karna" and so fragile as the final fragment with guest singer. Friends of unreinforced or non-electronic winged Lumsk and Hedningarna and especially the fabric of the Swedish Silence labels should definitely listen and immediately, download the translation of the lyrics from the site of the record company ... for the record Welgen and wiser becoming.

CONCLUSION: Triakel continue to be a figurehead, when it comes to Scandinavian folk music. Although they lay hands on "Ulrika Minne" to foreign, this takes away none of its relevance. At the same time you order turns out, the timelessness of the material used - and Leisetreter know what to do.

01. Uti Friska Gräset Gröna  2:13
02. Sara  2:33
03. Dryckesvisa  1:49
04. Brännvinet  3:43
05. Kråkvisa  2:24
06. Karna  2:54
07. Stina  3:02
08. Visa Från Raukasjö  3:51
09. Polska Efter Fredrik Andersson, Raukasjö  2:10
10. Näktergalen  2:51
11. De Unga Jäntorna  2:16
12. Kallt Väder  4:35
13. Filligutten  2:49
14. Väckelsevisa  3:06
15. Just På Timman 24  1:57

Vocals, Fiddle – Emma Härdelin
Fiddle – Kjell-Erik Eriksson
Harmonium – Janne Strömstedt
Vocals – Bodöoktetten (tracks: 13), Mattias Warg (tracks: 5)
Bass – Lars Ericsson (tracks: 2)
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