Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Novar - Emerald (2016 France / Belgium) @320

NOVAR, it’s new.
Bits of trad, bits of electro.
The brightness of the hurdy gurdy of Thierry Nouat and the darkness of Toon van Mierlo’s bagpipes.
Massively supported by Jeroen Geerinck's keyboard and the accordion of Aurélien Claranbaux that hits you like a punch in the dark.
A band of musicians renowned for their absolutely “neo” sound.
NOVAR, a universe that arises from the depths of the earth.

1. La descente au moulin / Les miroirs / Emerald 5:39
2. Thionne / Goshawk 3:36
3. Blue ciel belge / Cassie et PJ 4:36
4. Sharky / Jom and Terry 3:37
5. Bateau bleu 4:58
6. A kiss in Berlin / Novar 3:41
7. Rue Savaron / Chevêche / L'effraie du clocher 5:42
8. Ostal / Les pinguins 2:21
9. Plus de café / Zelem city 3:44
10. Nico 4:57
11. Les flamands roses 3:30

Thierry Nouat : Hurdy Gurdy
Toon van Mierlo : Bagpipes, Diatonic Accordion, Saxophone
Aurélien Claranbaux : Diatonic Accordion
Jeroen Geerinck : Mandola, Keyboard

Sunday, July 28, 2019

BivOAc - **** (2014 France / Bretagne) @320

Les BivOAc :
Raphaël Chevalier : violon, banjo
Ronan Le Gouriérec : saxophone baryton, bombarde
Ronan Robert : accordéon diatonique, chant

Les **** :
Laurent Carré : saxophone ténor
Jean-Marie Nivaigne : batterie
Jean-Louis Pommier : trombone
Geoffroy Tamisier : trompette

1. Case à baryton (8:09)
2. Crack ma poule / Les rigadots (4:51)
3. Ronds à l'ouest (4:02)
4. J'ai perdu ma montre (6:08)
5. J'aime pas les OGM moi (4:01)
6. Swing d'Addis (7:07)
7. Balafon... Ou pas (2:59)
8. Danse à Bamako (5:49)
9. Le capitaine de soirée (4:34)
10. Décroisons les doigts (6:26)
11. Le femme que j'aime (6:08)
12. Moâ, toâ, koâ (5:25)

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Garmarna - Guds Spelemän (Sweden 1996) @320

Guds spelemän is Garmarna's second full-length album, released in 1996. All songs except "Njaalkeme" are sung in Swedish. The album contains a number Scandinavian gloomy folklore songs.

01 - Herr Mannelig
02 - Vänner och Fränder
03 - Halling från Makedonien
04 - Min Man
05 - Varulven
06 - Hilla Lilla
07 - Drew Drusnaar-Idag som igår
08 - Njaalkeme
09 - Herr Holger
10 - Guds Spelemän

Bass – Björn Eriksson* (tracks: 2, 6)
Drums, Goblet Drum, Djembe – Jens Höglin
Guitar, E-Bow, Jew's Harp – Rickard Westman
Hurdy Gurdy, Violin, Viola, Jew's Harp, Sampler, Backing Vocals – Stefan Brisland-Ferner
Lute, Viola, Backing Vocals – Gotte Ringqvist
Vocals – Emma Härdelin
Voice – Pål Torbjörn Doj (tracks: 8)
Written-By – Trad.* (tracks: 1 to 9)

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Hedningarna - Trä (Sweden 1994)

As popular in their own country as Top 40 rockstars are in the U.S., Scandinavia's
Hedningarna is starting to get the attention they deserve from the rest of the world as well. Combining elements of indigenous/traditional music and percussion with modern electronic instruments and a ton of adrenaline, this band has released some of the most inspiring/maddening/insatiably passionate music this reviewer has ever heard. 

While the lyrics are all sung in Scandinavian, translations are enclosed in the liner notes-the lyrics actually make for damned good reading on their own; from "Tina Vieri": "I haven't seen my mother/since the coffin lid was fastened/nailed down with tin nails/struck down with copper spikes." And, because this is a Northside release, this fucker is recorded clean. There are rumors that Hedningarna are going on tour soon-if they ever come to your town, you'd be an idiot to miss them.

01 - Täss'on Nainen 4:25
02 - Min Skog 4:06
03 - VargTimmen 4:20
04 - Gorrlaus 5:08
05 - SkrauTvål 3:02
06 - Pornopolka 2:35
07 - Räven 4:53
08 - SåglåTen 3:27
09 - Tuuli 5:36
10 - Täppmarschen 3:31
11 - Tina Vieri 6:20

Drums [Bass], Vocals, Backing Vocals – Sanna Kurki-Suonio
Horns, Oud, Vocals – Hållbus Totte Mattsson
Percussion, Vocals – Björn Tollin
Sampler [Joik] – Wimme Saari* (tracks: 9)
Violin, Bagpipes, Harp, Flute, Vocals – Anders Stake
Vocals, Backing Vocals, Harp, Violin – Tellu Paulasto

Snaarmaarwaar - B.L.O.C.K. (Belgium 2014) @320

Snaarmaarwaar is a Belgian three-piece outfit (though the line-up often delights to deceive with the sound of twice that complement!); the music is centred around creative and considered deployment of assorted string textures (mandola, mandolin, lap steel and guitars) within a largely traditionally-inspired framework arising in the main from the compositional skills of Maarten Decombel (he’s responsible for a high proportion of the disc’s tracks). Fellow-conspirators Ward Dhoore and Jeroen Geerinck provide more than just a foil for Maarten’s musicianship with some brilliant playing of their own, subtly adding occasional accordion, Rhodes and bodhrán to the mix, while the disc’s arrangements sometimes also incorporate a touch of programming into their soundscapes.

For much of the time, the overall blend of the trio’s music, while clearly inspired by traditional dance models, also has the air of the tightly-constructed tone-poem. And yet there’s also a feeling of genuine enjoyment in the interpersonal exchanges allowed by the grooves. On tracks like the waltz-time Lange Nelle I was reminded of Nickel Creek or other newgrass practitioners, and Domino has a cautious neo-Latin flavour, whereas on those occasions when the trio lets rip a bit (the powerful, riff-driven Roscoff, the rockist guitar electrics of Drivin’ Nowhere and the John Brady’s tune-medley) the three musicians generate a different kind of excitement. As they do on Gustave, a charming and delectably infectious melange of Django and Piaf café music, and the jazzy spaghetti-western-theme mood of Tjanne.
Maarten’s keen inventiveness brings many incidental delights to the contours of the music too – on disc opener Slagwerk, for instance, Maarten’s own voice is used unobtrusively as an additional instrumental line (the cumulative song Patrysse is otherwise the disc’s only vocal number). All told, B.L.O.C.K. proves a pleasingly invigorating listen.
David Kidman

1. Slagwerk / Une ardeur d'avance
2. Horlepijp / Castro
3. Nightrider
4. John Brady's / The hag at the churn / Foto Marcel
5. Lange Nelle
6. Roscoff
7. Pluviocrash
8. Drivin' nowhere
9. Domino
10. Patrysse
11. Gustave
12. De zeven schaken / Alto dos moinhos
13. Tjanne

Maarten Decombel: mandola, lap steel, vocals, 12-string
Jeroen Geerinck: guitars, rhodes, bodhran, programming, effects & soundscapes
Ward Dhoore: mandolin, accordion

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Sver - Fryd (2015 Norway) @320

There are a couple of outstanding fiddlers in this Swedish/Norwegian group: you may have come across Olav Mjelva and Anders Hall as solo musicians, or in the Nordic Fiddlers Bloc with Shetlander Kevin Henderson. Here they play something closer to folk rock - thumping drum kit and guitar behind most tracks. Sver aren't heavy rock - and from the CD cover it's plain that they aren't glam rock either. Nor is it all four-four and straight eight - the rhythms of Scandinavian dance music come through strongly on Ruf and Fuggeln. Some tracks are more folky, like the accordion-led Falsk Vals and the driving fiddle breakdown, Mysoxen, which has surprisingly little to do with knitted footwear.

The two English titles, Total Carnage and Bow In The Eye, are pretty self explanatory. Both are full-on stomps, the first inspired by the Shetland Folk Festival and the second by a long and painful experience. The title track and the mystic Sumarkveld i Nivlheim are varied takes on folk rock from this very flexible band. There's no shortage of fiddle wizardry on Fyrd and Sver keep the excitement level high, all the way to the final slow piece Sova. With a few seconds' pause before it, this track is rather different from the rest of the album - quieter, more contemplative, simply beautiful on box and fiddle. The arrangement, like all Sver's music, is imaginative and entertaining. With excellent musicianship and a great sense of fun, this album is hard to fault. 
Alex Monaghan

Olav Luksengård Mjelva - Hardanger fiddle & fiddle
Anders Hall - Fiddle & viola
Leif Ingvar Ranøien - 2 row accordion
Jens Linell - Drums, tambourine and an old suitcase
Adam Johansson - Guitar

1.Lompa køyre traktor (04:35)
2.Fryd (04:39)
3.RUF (02:43)
4.Falsk Vals (03:58)
5.Sumarkveld i Nivlheim (05:25)
6.Total Carnage (03:59)
7.Måsså Ti Nåsså (03:37)
8.Fuggeln (03:16)
9.Mysoxen (04:02)
10.Bow in the eye (05:58)
11.Sova (05:28)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Sver - Reverie [2018 Norway] @320

We are proud to release this album in our 10th year as a quintet. The whole shebang was recorded live in two energetic days filled with music, cosiness, and beer. We hope you enjoy the new tunes and that we see you down the road. folk on! 
This album was recorded live and is completely free of chopping. All arrangements by SVER. 

01 - The Doctor
02 - Lille Grisen
03 - Polska om Olav Luksengård Mjelva & Andas Polska
04 - E14
05 - Annas Vals
06 - Batch 15
07 - Lassi
08 - Boot'n Rally
09 - Reverie
10 - Love Boat

Olav Luksengard Mjelva – Fiddle & Hardanger Fiddle 
Anders Hall – Fiddle & Viola 
Leif Ingvar Ranøien – Two Row Accordion 
Adam Johansson – Guitar 
Jens Linell – Drums 
Erik Ronström – Bass on track 1 & 8

Friday, July 12, 2019

Alambic - Rue du Sablier (France 2009) @320

With "Rue du sablier", third album of the band, Alambic continues to compose and arrange its own music dedicated to "bal folk": let's dance!

01 - Ballotage Favorable (Scottish Et Polka)
02 - Absinthe Nitouche - La Fee Verte Du Xie (Mazurka)
03 - Paulette Musette (Valse)
04 - Passeur De Bal (Rond De L'onde)
05 - La Souris Verte - Croix De Chav' - Mind De Gap (Reel)
06 - En Attendant (Valse)
07 - Arc En Lune - La Grande Bleue (Scottish)
08 - Quadratures (Cercle Circassien)
09 - Benedicte (Mazurka)
10 - La Rue Du Sablier 1 (Suite De Gavottes)
11 - La Rue Ue Du Sablier 2 (Suite De Gavottes)

Jean-Pierre AUFORT : violin
Julien COUPEY : wooden flute
Rémy MASSE : guitar
Lionel TESSIER : percussions, bouzouki
Vladimir TORRES : bass, double bass
Bruno MINAIR : electric guitar

Sver - Fruen (2010 Norway) @320

Olav Luksengård Mjelva (fiddle, hardangerfiddle and viola);
Vidar Berge (Guitars, harmonica, mandola);
Leif I. Ranøien (squeezebox/ 2-row accoridion);
Anders Hall (fiddle, hardangerfiddle and viola);
Jens Linell (drums and percussion)

1. Kjostadlek (bergmannstrøyst) (pols Røros)
2. Fruen
3. Storhurven (logikk På Røros) (pols Røros)
4. Fossegrimen (halling Telemark)
5. Gorrlaus Gangar (gangar Setesdal)
6. St. Croix
7. Akkar
8. Pang! (indre Opprør På Standplass)
9. Fjompen
10. Jonas' Minne
11. Kømmen Frå Kongsvinger/kongo (ein Helvetes Pedagog) (pols Røros/sver)

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Bivoac - Bivoac en concert (2007 France/Bretagne) @320

Jazz and folk: this is a particular hybrid that, when it works, creates its own mood. Certainly the ECM label is the most recognized purveyor of this variety of border-crossing; and there are other worthwhile experiments to be found (Ronan Guilfoyle's Lingua Franca are one, and Pat Metheny and Anna Maria Jopek's recent Upojenie project both spring to mind). Bivoac are a new trio from Brittany that kick up a spectacular, jazz-drenched folk sound. The listener catches hints of the Breton tradition. None of the tunes are traditional, but written in accordance with folk forms (bourrees, hanter-dro, double plinn). Bivoac also have an affinity for the kind of improvisation one might expect to hear in French café culture.

I'm never a fan of live recordings, because too often I feel like a voyeur at a party. But live recordings allow bands to do several things: 1.) demonstrate genuine chops; 2.) show that they can have a good time live, even if you weren't there; and 3.) document their relationship with the audience. On Bivoac's recording, the audience does little more than express appreciation and some polite applause and hooting. But the musical chops are, indeed, much more in evidence. The album begins with 'John's Bourrees,' a tune begun on Ronan Le Gourierec's shrill bombard. Raphael Chevalier joins in on violin, and together with Ronan Robert's accordion work, they allow themselves to catch fire. In fact, Le Gourierec penned "John's Bourrees" with John Coltrane's modal compositions in mind.

'J'ai Perdu Ma Montre' finds the band motoring along behind Robert's pumping accordion: the tune is a 'ridees 6 temps,' and the lyrics convey a sense of modernist absurdity: "I lost my watch!...," which fits well with the cyclical, incessant melody. Elsewhere, I am particularly fond of the slow bombard during 'Les Pains Penauds/Patate Douce' and the tune's lovely denouement. Jackanapes emerge on a song such as "La Fille Nicole," where the vocal fun borders on the annoying; but when the band honks and screeches through 'Plinn-Pong "La Belle,"' they're mining gold. The call-and-response so characteristic of Breton music pits vocals against the echoing music, at times reminiscent of drunk kazoo players, on "La Femme Que J'Aime," before the brass machine gasps its last. For a trio, Bivoac are one big band. 
Lee Blackstone

Ronan Robert - accordéon diatonique / chant
Ronan Le Gourierec - bombarde / saxophone baryton
RaphaëL ChevaLier - violon / banjo

1. John's Bourrées (7:15)     
2. Succulences (4:31)     
3. J'ai perdu ma montre (6:22)     
4. Une luciole dans l'potage (7:56)     
5. La fille Nicole (5:45)     
6. Le pôle K / Mais que fait le pôle X (4:06)     
7. Les pains penauds / Patate douce (4:46)     
8. Plinn-pong la belle (5:39)     
9. La femme que j'aime (8:34)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Gay & Terry Woods - Tender Hooks (Ireland 1978) @320

Even in 1978, Steeleye Span were just a memory for Gay Woods and husband Terry. They had left after just one album and started The Woods Band using material they had written together. Unfortunately, after only the same output – one album, they disbanded and the husband and wife team was left to their own devices. After a time of living on their farm in Ireland they returned to the studio as a duo and enjoyed their most creative and successful musical phase. ‘Tender Hooks’ comes out of this mid-seventies time and given the styles around then, it is a wonder it was not a much bigger commercial success even than it was. In the same year as its release, Renaissance had a hit with ‘Northern Lights’ – a song not too
dissimilar to some of the material on ‘Tender Hooks’.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is possible to see why the album was so well acclaimed. The two had a wide repertoire of distinct musical styles to draw on, all of which were popular in that time and now make us folk of a certain age a touch wistful for what has passed. The album opens with ‘We Can Work This One Out’ – a song you will be singing long after the album is put away. It’s one of the most catchy and easy to listen to and the mixing on the album brings Gay’s voice to the front. It’s a very commercial sound. After that ‘Friends of Mine’ changes style with the emphasis on acoustic guitar. Likewise with ‘Full Moon’ it’s very much of it’s era. Terry takes vocals on ‘I’ve a Lady’ – a much more upbeat number and does it comfortably with backing vocals from Gay. ‘The Reward’ is much folkier and a bit like what you would expect nowadays – lovely vocals and a tune that stretches Gay and shows what a fine disciplined singer she had become.

Nick Clark

01. We Can Work This One Out (3.19)
02. Friends of Mine (3.14)
03. Full Moon (2.43)
04. I've a Lady (2.23)
05. The Reward (3.03)
06. I Won't Believe It (2.54)
07. Dream Come True (2.11)
08. Piece of Summer (2.21)
09. Lonesome Blues (3.45)
10. Heart of Stone (4.38)

Gay Woods: dulcimer, autoharp, vocals & harmony vocals;
Terry Woods: acoustic, electric & 12-string guitars, banjo, vocals & harmony vocals;
Phil Palmer: lead guitar & 12-string guitar;
Jim Russell: drums;
Kate McGarrigle: piano & harmony vocals [6, 10];
Pat Donaldson: bass & harmony vocals [10];
Keith Donald: alto saxophone;
Martin O'Connor: accordion;
Neil Toner: mandolin;
Fran Breen: percussion;
Jolyon Jackson: organ & cello

The Woods Band - The Woods Band (Ireland 1971) @320

The Woods Band was an Irish folk-rock band formed in 1970 by husband and wife team Gay & Terry Woods, shortly after their departure from Steeleye Span. The band played and recorded for four years before evolving into Gay & Terry Woods. In 2001, Terry Woods formed a new band and named it The Woods Band, which performed and recorded through 2003.

01 - Noisey Johnny
02 - Dreams
03 - January's Snows
04 - Lament And Jig
05 - Over The Bar
06 - As I Roved Out
07 - Promises
08 - Everytime

Terry Woods: mandola, concertina, acoustic, electric & bass guitars, vocals;
Gay Woods: concertina, autoharp, dulcimer, bodhrán, vocals;
Ed Deane: electric, acoustic, slide & bass guitars, harpsichord;
Pat Nash: drums, vocals
Thanks to:
Tony Reeves: bass guitar [1, 8];
Austin Corcoran: acoustic guitar [2], bass guitar [6-7];
John Ryan: organ [4, 6], piano [7-8].

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