Saturday, July 11, 2015

Orion - Strawberry Town (Belgium 2009) @192

CK: Fantastic album!

The fourth album over more than two decades (following 1990, Blue Room and Restless Home) by this Belgian group is another gem of contemporary Celtic music, melding folk with classical references and stylings to delightful effect. Replete with catchy hooks and melodies, it provides a wide range of moods and atmospheres – the ethereal and emotionally stirring, the stately and almost church-like, buoyant Breton and Flemish dance signatures, through to tight and punchy, propulsive rhythmic grooves with fiery playing. Not that there is any jagged juxtaposition here; rather, the composing of sequenced sets, weaving wider European references into their Celtic tapestry, is intricate refined and sophisticated. 

All of them (Rudy Velghe, fiddle, viola, nyckelharpa, guitar, keyboards; Raquel Gigot, accordions; John Faulkner, vocals, bouzouki; Erwan Berenguer, guitar; Gwenael Micault, keyboards) play lead and support roles in the complex layering of their instruments to create arresting synergies and rhythmic interest. They deserve to be ranked amongst the best contemporary Celtic groups. Their ability to draw on people of the calibre of Philip Catherine and Pat Desaunay, amongst an array of other excellent musicians who play and/or are thanked, show wide peer respect. 

Some standout features include the haunting and emotional character of Faulkner’s vocals on the ancient homicidal ballad story behind Strawberry Town and crisp mouth music, Arne van Dongen’s warm and richly toneddouble bass, percussive textures added by Johnny ‘Ringo’ McDonagh, and a charming tribute to harpist Turlough O’Carolan’s melodic 18th century music.

Kevin T. Ward

01. Ton ar liestalegoù
02. La bourdaine/LeBelloy/Kernivinan's jig
03. Strawberry town
04. Four teeth hornpipe/Mr Morceau's Fancy/Kasper's reel
05. Ravna gora/Porz Téolenn
06. The harper's heir
07. He mantu/He le com an uro (mouth music)
08. Menuet Marguerite
09. Sint-Jorisdansen/Rondedansen
10. Song for Terri
11. The open gate/Wolfie's waltz

Raquel GIGOT: chromatic and diatonic accordion 
Rudy VELGHE: fiddle, nyckelharpa, viola, guitar, harmonium, keyboards 
John FAULKNER: vocals, bouzouki 
Erwan BERENGUER: guitar 
Gwenaël MICAULT: piano, harmonium, keyboards 

Philip CATHERINE: guitar 
Gérard HIRSCH: harp 
Johnny "Ringo" Mc DONAGH: bodhran 
Jean-Philippe PONCIN: bass clarinet 
Arne VAN DONGEN: double bass 
Pat DESAUNAY: guitar, foot percussion 
Piet VAN BOCKSTAL: oboe 
Marc KEYAERT: keyboards 
Fabian FIORINI: piano 

Shirly LAUB: violin 
Frédéric D'URSEL: violin 
Tony NYS: viola 
Martijn VINCK: cello 
Toon FRET: flute 
Nathalie LEFEBVRE: clarinet 
Koenraad HOFMAN: double bass 


CrimsonKing said...

Strawberry Town


Jon said...

Seeing this post reminded me that I own their other three albums and have for years and years. I also had not until today listened to them for many years. I think sometimes we all get too caught up in wanting more and more and we become accumulators rather then collectors. I know I've been as guilty as anyone else. We all need to step back sometimes and revisit old friends like their other three albums are to me. I'm sure I'll enjoy this one just as much. They really are an exceptionally talented group. Thank you so much for posting this, and also for jogging my memory.

CrimsonKing said...

You're totally right Jon.
It's a good idea to have a little stop and review what we already have, or at least to hear an old good classics.
I've done it with my "Prog" albums and continues to be a pleasure to hear "Selling England by the Pound" of Genesis, for example.

Jon said...

Thought you'd agree.

Barron said...

I have really enjoyed listening to this. Thank you very much (again)!

CrimsonKing said...

You're welcome, Barron.

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