In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
There are two types of groups in our music from around the world category - talented Americans singing songs from around the globe, and talented groups from around the planet singing the music of their home and other nations. That's one of the great things about music - you don't have to be from a country to honor its music, and honor the music from all the corners of the planet, these groups definitely do. Songs of mourning, songs of celebration, songs of love, songs of war, songs of peace, songs of lament, songs of joy. It's all here.
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Review: We hadn't seen Courtney, Ann and Christina, 2013 Harmony Sweeps Champs, for a year, until they beautifully hosted the 2014 Finals on May 17th, where we fell in love again! The three women are pictured on the album cover as blackbirds (signifying love), singing while perched on an antique shovel (signifying death) against the circular, nicely rendered background of the top of a keg (signifying spirits). The hand of each member of the trio is clear on each of these 12 finely crafted tunes, several of which drew ovations from our delighted audience at Marin Veterans Auditorium. Courtney arranged the lovely traditional "Duncan and Brady," Felice and Boudleaux Bryant's "All I Have to Do Is Dream," Sticks McGhee's "Wine Blues," Billy Mayhew's "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" and she wrote favorites "Mockingbird," "Whiskey Wife," "I'll Be Your Coat" and "My Love." Ann wrote and arranged "Nothing But My Whiskey;" and Christine transcribed the traditional "Little Margaret," wrote "Wash Me Clean" and arranged the memorable Shape Note hymn, "Farther On." The three voices are well matched, the songs are powerful and emotional, and the trio sings with heart and passion. Between songs on stage Courtney thanked the audience, calling the 2013 Finals win the highlight of their lives. Well, the HWT gave such a moment to the 2013 audience and to all of us who saw them at the 2014 Finals-they have a rare gift. "Stories" is a winner from the first cut to the last!
Songlist: Duncan and Brady, All I Have To Do Is Dream, Nothing But My Whiskey, Mockingbird, Wine Blues, Little Margaret, Whiskey Wife, I'll Be Your Coat, It's a Sin to Tell a Lie, Wash Me Clean, My Love, Farther On
Review: In the years since the western world discovered the "Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices," a fascination with the striking harmonies, exciting rhythmic effects and haunting melodies only continues to grow. This new CD goes one step further: important "classical" composers such as Krassimir Kyurkchiyski, Nokolai Stoykov and Milcho Vassilev are represent here in work which incorporate the elements of fold music into a more "legitimate" setting. The results appeal to both the mind and heart of the listener. The Academic Folk Choir of the Plovdiv Academy, founded in 1980, specializes in a vast repertoire of both folk classical works under the direction of Vassilka Spassova, professor of conducting at the Academy. They have met with great success throughout Bulgaria as well as on tours of Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Russia and other European countries.
Songlist: Mehmetyo, Sevda Golema (Mehmetyo, My Love), Ivan Kalinka Dumashe (Ivan Told Kalinka), Snoshti Si, Mamo, Otidoh (Last Night I Went Out, Mother), Trugnala Mi Elena (Elena Has Left Me), Tri Byulbyula Peyat (Three Nightingales Are Singing), Yankin Brat (Yanka's Brother), Pilentse Pee (A Birdie Is Singing), Malka Moma Dvori Mete (The Little Maiden Sweeps the Yard), Dva Pastorala (Two Pastorales): Winter Pastorale, Dva Pastorala (Two Pastorales): Summer Pastorale, Pesen-Improvizatsia (Song-Improvisation), Listni Se, Goro (The Forest Is Putting Forth Leaves), Marinko, Moe Doshtero (Marinka, My Daughter), Begala Rada (Rada Ran Away), Hubava Mavruda (Pretty Mavruda)
Review: Akasa, (pronounced "Akasha"), means "Cavity of the Heart/Ether, that which fills everything," and it is four beautiful young women from Australia. This is their debut CD, as far as we can tell, and it features six spiritual songs, "Trust," "Walking Song," "Walk With Me," "It's Love I See," "Yahwe" and "Turn Back The Time." There is light, non-vocal percussion on all the tracks. The spiritual focus of the songs is universal, and the women harmonize with conviction, energy and joy. The liner notes are lovely and contain all the words and some nice pictures. This is an impressive, touching debut CD, and we're looking forward to hearing more good stuff from this group from Down Under.
Songlist: Trust, Walking Song, Walk With Me, It's Love I See, Yahwe, Turn Back the Time
Review: Melbourne, Australia's dynamic all-woman quartet Akasa, Vicki, Andrea, Diana and Heidi, gifts us with their third recording. "Views" is happily mostly originals by group members, with an activist, ecological theme. Favorites are Heidi's "Not for Profit" ("Imagine if every business in the world operated not for profit"), "Leap Out," "Council Coconuts," "Freeway" and "I Won't Break;" Diana's "Indigo Tails" and "Need Some Care;" and Andrea's "Runaway," "The Cycle" and "Lullaby." These four dynamic, beautiful young women have a lot to say, emotionally and politically, and they write and sing it with style and grace. 12 thought-provoking tunes with some non-vocal percussion, played by the group. "Akasa" (pronounced A-ka-sha) is Sanskrit for brilliant/cavity of the heart/ether/that which fills everything, and we couldn't have described them better. Powerful words, powerful music!
Songlist: Not For Profit, Bubazinho, Indigo Tails, Cry No More, Leap Out, Council Coconuts, Freeway, Runaway, I Won't Break, The Cycle, Need Some Care, Lullaby
Review: The Sanskrit word Akasa (pronounced A-ka-sha) means "Cavity of the Heart/Ether, that which fills everything." Vicki, Mihi, Heidi and Melanie, the four young women singers of this Melbourne-based group sing songs with an African flavor and rhythms. Their debut CD won "Best World Folk Album" at the 2000 Contemporary A Cappella Awards in the U.S. They sing of the oneness of all people on the planet, of never leaving your dreams behind, songs of the pain of divorce, songs against rich developers, songs of the power of people acting together, songs against slavery, songs of revolution-messages of social change and activism. We hear various kinds of percussion on these songs, played by the women themselves, but the emphasis is on the rich voices of the singers and their message. There are 12 songs: "World Citizen," "Eewoyi A," "Sweet Dreaming," "Power of the People," "Pin Ye Bo," "Slave," "Human Zoo," "Divorced," "Drifting," "Singing The Land," Rere Ahu" and "Walk With Me." The liner notes are beautiful and include all the lyrics. Moving, powerful, rhythmic music!
Songlist: WorldCitizen, Eewoyi A, Sweet Dreaming, Power of the People, Pin Ye Bo, Slave, Human Zoo, Divorced, Drifting, Singing the Land, Rere Ahu, Walk With Me
Review: "Nani" is Armenian for "mother," and there are similar words in many languages. In Yiddish it is "Nam"-wet nurse, in Hungarian "Neni"-older sister, in Russian "Njanja"-mum. "Dschann," from the original Persian, is a term of endearment which can be attached to any name. For their second CD, recorded in Berlin, the five German women singers of Aquabella looked for songs in which women tell their stories. Women seething with jealousy, women annoyed by midnight love serenades, women making fun of the village priest, women crying to their children or lovers, women who simply want to marry. The passion of Aquabella is filling these stories with life, in carefully but pointedly thinning out the song's prototype in order to enrich it with their own personal stories. These songs, most of them old ones, are thus sung to the world as responses. There are 15 songs here, all in languages like Russian, German, Armenian, Italian and Bulgarian, as we see in the beautiful full-color liner booklet. The sound is hauntingly beautiful and authentic; each song filled with spirit, feeling and passion!
Songlist: Ta na baid, El Chicolito, Makheuri Sakortsilo, Meine Aug'sind mude, Nani Dschann, Jerusalem, Der Pope, Asentada en mi ventada, Duerme negrito, Ikh bin a mame, Maria, Mari'!, Baxabene Oxama, Aye kerunene, Prechfr'kna ptitschka, Trost
Kristallen Den Fina
Review: In search of new stories for their Winter concert program Aquabella discovered the Far North. Here they have set timeless Icelandic myths to music, with their own original texts. True to their World Music concept, they also sing pieces from Sweden, Iceland, Norway, and Latvia in their original languages. In these myths set to song a central role is played by the Islandic giantess Gryla, and her 13 Troll sons, who during the nights between the 12th nd 24th of December, appear in peoples' houses, exercising the very worst of human qualities; They scratch up the cooking pots, lose important items, steal anything edible, and frighten people with weird sounds and unexplained phenomena. They are never punished for their misdeeds, but rather the innocent children are unjustly accused. To compensate, the Trolls bring the children little presents in this season, and are each night anxiously awaited. After the 25th of December, the Trolls disappear again, one after the other, and once again become invisible to humans. Aquabella, with their wonderful original songs, bring the 13 Trolls unforgettably to life.
Songlist: Allen Die Willen Naar Island Gaan, Gryla, Familiengluck, Stufur & Pottasleikir, Askarsleikir, Hurdaskellir, Kling, Schedrik, Skyrgamur Giljargaur Stekkjastaur, Ketrokur, Thvorusleikir, Herr Mannelig, Bjugnakraekir, Kristallen Den Fina, Visur Vatnsenda Rosu, An Die Kerze, No Klokka
Review: The talented singers of the vocal group Barbara Furtuna (meaning 'Cruel fate', it is the name of a traditional song about banned Corsicans) cover such prestigious bands as A Filetta and the like. Their repertoire is mainly traditional Corsican songs both sacred and secular, with a detour towards Georgian polyphony and a remake of the French song Le Temps des Cerises (A Bella Stagione). The great tradition of a cappella singing on the island is kept fresh and moving forward in this fine recording.
Songlist: Ave Maria Stella, Sanctus, Un Ti Ne Fa, Cantu D'Amore, Miseremini Mei, Fiure, T'Chemo, Agnus Dei , Furtunatu, A Bella Stagione, Barbara Furtuna, O Salutaris
Review: Barbara Furtuna is an all-male a cappella Choral quartet based on the Island of Corsica. Their chant is shaped by immoderate love for their country which they carry in their hearts, and which encourages them to continue their musical adventure with the same passion as when they were children. "In Santa Pace," their second album, refers to the way they sing and make their way through life, without rush and with a determination to enjoy every moment. Their repertoire is actually two repertoires, sacred and secular, remaining intimately linked, each nourishing the other. The 13 cuts segue seamlessly into one another and are sung mostly in Italian, although the liner notes are presented in French and English. "Anghjulina," "O Salutaris Hostia," "Maria le sette spade," "Lux Aeterna," the lively "Veni O Bella" (lightly accompanied), "S'he discitatu," "Suda Sangue," the soaring "Kyrie Eleison," the lovely "Lamentu chi ti cerca" (lightly accompanied), the plaintive "Plavi putevi mora," the haunting "Tota pulchra es Maria," the beautiful "L'innamurati" and "L'oru" (lightly accompanied), are all wonderful. We aren't sure of the translation of the lyrics for most of these songs, but the feeling comes through loud and clear. The powerful "In Santa Pace" will touch and move you!
Songlist: Anghjulina, O Salutaris Hostia, Maria le sette spade, Lux aeterna, Veni O Bella, S'he discitatu, Suda Sangue, Kyrie Eleison, Lamentu chi ti cera, Plavi putevi mora, Tota pulchra es Maria, L'innamuarti, L'oru
Review: The Beijing Angelic Choir sings lullabies from Austria, Germany, Italy, England, America and more. The sweet voiced children's choir sings the many familiar tunes in Chinese. The children are accompanied by lightly synthesized backgrounds. It is very interesting to hear how western songs are interpreted by the Chinese. All of the translations are in Chinese.
Songlist: Lullaby (Mozart) (Austria), Lullaby (Brahms) (Germany), Lullaby (Italy), Children Are Asleep (Russia), Autumn Night (England), Sleep, Darling Baby (Mexico), Lullaby (Schubert) (Austria), Lullaby (America), Flow Gently Sweet Afton (J.E. Spilman), Lullaby (Japan), Yi-li Yi-li (Phillipines), Lullaby (France), Lullaby (India)
Review: Bernie Johnson Reagon should be declared a National Treasure. Since the days of the Civil Rights Movement there has been no voice so strong in musically exhorting freedom, justice and equality. Bernice was contacted in 1975 about recording some of her songs for a new record company, Paredon Records, which was formed to create recordings by singers involved in freedom struggles around the world. Give Your Hands To Struggle was the first recording on which she had used multi-tracking. She found, when she reviewed the original master tapes from Paredon which had been archived at the Smithsonian, that they were cut versions of her original recordings. As her desire was to have the original full length songs presented, she reconstructed them for this reissue CD. This a window on the soul of the Civil Rights Movement by the founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock.
Songlist: We've Come A Long Way To Be Together, There's A New World Coming, Room In The Circle, Old Ship Of Zion, Why Did They Take Us Away?, In My Hands, Joan Little, They Are Falling All Around Me, Freedom In The Air, I Won't Crumble With You If You Fall, Had, Took, Misled, Give Your Hands To Struggle
Review: If you lived in England and enjoyed having your spirit moved by music which captured the truth of freedom, love, and justice, all wrapped in beautiful harmony, you would be a Black Voices fan, eagerly awaiting their next show or recording. They are a collective of singers who exist to inspire but always perform as a quintet. For twelve years this group has been conducting workshops, concerts and recording with Carol Pemberton acting as the Music Director. This recording celebrate their tenth anniversary with a variety of quintets comprised of the current nine members of the collective. Some old standards are treated with respect but offered with unique arrangements. You'll find Ysaye Barnwell's "We Are" leads off the selection of fourteen songs and it is a fitting beginning for the obvious spiritual kinship that Black Voices shares with Sweet Honey in the Rock. In the traditional realm are "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" and "Deep River." Songs so familiar to be nearly standards are Carole King's "Natural Woman" and "Way Over Yonder" along with Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason." Carol Pemberton's "Rise Up and Praise," and Monique Reid's "A Song of Peace" and "Always In My Heart" may well be covered by others until they become that familiar. Then one has to ask, who can actually cover one of Scott Leonard's tunes and not fall short by the standards set by Rockapella? You'll find out the answer to that question while listening to Black Voices arrangement of "Nowhere."
Songlist: We Are, Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Natural Woman, Hear our Land, Light At the End of the Tunnel, A Song of Peace, Deep River, Nowhere, Reggae D'Europe, Women Be Drumming, Always in my Heart, Give Me One Reason, Way Over Yonder, Rise Up and Praise!
Review: The five beautiful young women who are Black Voices bring us a rich and varied collection of traditional music ("The Lord's Prayer," "Amen," the spiritual "Steal Away," the Scottish folk song "Caledonia," and "In The Upper Room"), Contemporary music (the powerful "I'm Goin' Stand," Stevie Wonder's "Love's in Need," C. Pemberton's "Living In a Real World," "Ayiya-An African Feel," and "Blues Strands") and Reggae ("Reggae Medley" of five songs. There is a lot of feeling and strength in this CD, in the choice of the music and especially in the harmonies of the perfectly pitched voices. There's some electric bass on "Blues Strands," otherwise all a cappella.
Songlist: The Lord's Prayer, History, Love's In Need, Steal Away, Living In A Real World, He'll Never Let You Down, Caledonia, 'Ayiya', Breathing Space, I'm Goin' Stand, Reggae Medley, Tings And Times, Work All Day, Uptown Top Rankin, Living On The Front Line/Do You Feel My Love, In The Upper Room, Amen, Blues Strands
Review: Blue Murder is a loose collective featuring members of the English folk group the Watersons,and has been around in various incarnations since the 1980's. "No One Stands Alone" is a spirited and stalwart collection of American and English traditionals and hymns. Some of the vocal arrangements rely on strong vocal harmony throughout, while others have solo lead with backing vocals on the choruses. The five male and two female voices combine in a variety of textures, changing the mood from tune to tune. Some simple accompaniment. This CD is an infusion of good cheer!
Songlist: No One Stands Alone, Gown Of Green, Rubber Band, Blue Mountain, Standing On The Promises Of God, Banks Of Sweet Primroses (The), Land Where You Never Grow Old (The), Three Day Millionaire, Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy, Bully In the Alley, Mole In A Hole
Review: A motley crew brings us this collection of sea shanties and ballads, "motley" meaning "of many colors," which describes both the group and their songs. They are Tom McHenry, K.C. King, Bob Hitchcock, Jonathan Eberhart and Dave Diamond, who share a love of singing and the sea. There is a strong folk feeling to this CD, as most sea shanties are working songs, and there's the occasional light guitar or banjo accompaniment. Some of our favorites are: "The Alabama," "The Seaman's Hymn & Eternal Father," "Dead Horse," "Truxton's Victory," "The Sailor's Alphabet," and "Shallow Brown." Well-researched, authentic songs of the sea, vibrantly performed.
Songlist: Bristol Channel Jamboree, Haul Awa', Otho's Song, The Alabama, The Cruiser Baltimore, The Hogeye Man, Solid Fas', The Seaman's Hymn & Eternal Father, Come Down, You Roses, Dead Horse, Johnson Girls, Truxton's Victory, The Sailor's Alphabet, The Shanghaied Dredger, Shallow Brown, The Farewell Shanty
Review: After a singing "voyage" of over twenty years, sea chantey-singing male quartet (originally a quintet) The Boarding Party, Jonathan, Bob, K.C. and Tom have come ashore to treat us to a 17-song collection of their authentic, testosterone-soaked songs of the sea. A couple of the chanteys, like "Comin' Down The C&O," "Hudson River Steamboat" and "The Old Peacock," are lightly, and nicely accompanied by guitar, harmonica and banjo. Some of our favorites are the poignant "Tommy's Gone to Hilo," "Let The Bullgine Run," "Mauling Live Oak," "Come Along Down," "Starbuck's Complaint," "Randy Dandy O," "C'est L'Aviron," "Saltpetre Shanty," "One More Day," "Lowlands Away" and "Survivor Leave." These are rare and wonderful, authentic songs, some of which would have "died in the Folk archives" if the group hadn't discovered them and created music for them. We enjoyed every minute of "Fair Winds and a Following Sea!"
Songlist: Tommy's Gone to Hilo, The Old Peacock, Let the Bullgine Run, Mauling Live Oak, Soran Bushi, Hudson River Steamboat (Allison), Come Along Down, Go It, Jerry, Starbuck's Complaint (Boarding Party), Randy Dandy O, C'est L'Aviron, Coming Down the C & O (Eberhart), Saltpetre Shanty, Heise, All (Eberhart), One More Day, Lowlands Away, Survivor Leave (Stevens)
Review: It's been too many years, but now my favorite group of singers/scholars/rowdies has rewarded our patience with another collection of water-songs. And a collection of great variety, too: favorite old chanteys, nautical gospel songs, a couple of original songs, a cable-laying song, a Bengali rowing song, songs from the rivers, lakes and canals, as well as the oceans, high and low. Some are tongue-in-cheek, some just good roaring fun, but most ring with the great dignity of sincerity., Some of these songs would have died in the archives had not Bob and Jonathan made new tunes for them, and many would be lost to us forever without the work and interest of these men. They're scholars and historians, and their big robust voices lift these songs into our present very well.
Songlist: Ten Stone, Heave 'er Up and Bust 'er, Tanqueray Martini-o, Goodbye Old Ship of Mine, Song for the Challenger's Crew, Rosie, Sheep on the Deep, Drifting Too Far From Shore, The Ward Line, Atlantic Cable Line, Down The C and O, 100 Years on the Eastern Shore, Oray Sujon Naiya, Rolling Down to Old Maui, Solar Privateer, Farewell to Grog, Last Cigar
Review: We got a chance to experience Brass Farthing, 8 authentically-costumed, hard-drinking, sweet-harmonizing men, at the recent Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional. Raising their steins to us, they belted out classic drinking songs that one could expect to hear at a college fraternity rush party, getting many of us to join in! Most of these, like "God Bless the Human Elbow," "Red is the Rose," "All Among the Barley," "Boozin'," "Babylon is Fallen" and "Bellman," the heart-tugging (sort of ) tale of a beloved hound dog, are traditional tunes. "Another Irish Drinking Song" was written and composed by Da Vinci's Notebook's Paul Sabourin, "She Was Golden" was written by Brass Farthing's Daniel I. Briggs, "Glorious Beer" by Steve Leggett & Will Godwin" and "Eat Bertha's Mussels" by John Roberts. There are 10 authentically hammered, very funny tunes here, with arrangements by the group. This is good old, testosterone-soaked material, the stuff of sea shanties, or sung in a drinking sessions in the cabin of a fishing boat while a 20-foot mechanical shark cruises the dark waters outside. Also, don't miss an opportunity to see BF live!
Songlist: God Bless the Human Elbow, Glorious Beer, Babylon is Fallen, Red is the Rose, Another Irish Drinking Song, All Among the Barley, She Was Golden, Boozin', Bellman, Eat Bertha's Mussels
Review: All male a cappella octet Brass Farthing, "a group of stalwart lads brought together to sing songs, raise good cheer, and otherwise make merry in the company of friends both old and new." We had the good fortune to catch the live show of these 8 authentically costumed and propped male vocalists at the 2011 Bay Area Harmony Sweeps Regionals in San Francisco's Palace of Fine Arts, where they easily won Audience Favorite and First Place, and have to say that these guys are amazing! Rory, Daniel, Chris, George (Director), Mark (Assistant Director) Jim, Tazz and Ben have found wonderful, hilarious, traditional English drinking songs like "Itches in Me Britches," "Bass Ale," "Dido Bendigo," "General Taylor," "The Crayfish," "Barbed Wire," the nearly bawdy, very funny "Brasso," "Gamble Gold and Robin Hood" and "Charlie Mopps." They've also unearthed such gems as Fred W. Leigh's (1911) "Mary Anne, She's After Me," C. Frank Horn's "Mrs. Fogarty's Christmas Cake," Paddy Ryan's (1938) "The Man That Waters the Worker's Beer" and Peter Bellamy's "Oak, Ash and Thorn," with lyrics by Rudyard Kipling. The boys have written a couple of their own: Daniel's "The Rope" and Rory's "I Love You More than Beer."
Songlist: Itches in McBritches, Bass Ale, Dido Bendigo, General Taylor, The Crayfish, Mary Anne She's After Me, Barbed Wire, Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake, The Rope, The Man That Waters the Workers Beer, Brasso, Gamble Gold and Robin Hood, I Love You More Than Beer, Oak Ash and Thorn, Charlie Mopps
Review: An old Balkan proverb goes, "There are no limits to a song." "Balkan Passions" combines the talents of 20-woman Angelite and their conductor Georgi Petkov with guest musicians Maria Farantouri of Greece, percussionist Okay Temiz and pop star Sezen Aksu, both from Turkey, and Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia to create a powerful recording that touches and effects us across international boundaries. "Sadba" (Our Destiny), the driving "Damba," the rhythmic dance tune "Dilele," the joyous "Mi ideme preko pole" (We Are Coming Across the Field," the Albanian folk song "I Went to Elbasan," "Makedonsko devoiche" (A Macedonian Girl), "Devoiche belo, tsurveno" (Hey, You Girl, All White and Red), "Krai rekata" (by the river) and "Sasedi" (in the neighborhood) are particularly fine. All songs are accompanied; most only lightly. Beautiful, full-color liner notes tell us about the groups and the music. "Balkan Passions" is excellent - a spirited, romantic collection of music from another world.
Songlist: Sadba, Damba, Dilele, Mi ideme preko pole, Barisha, barisha, I Went to Elbasan, Vila sei gora, Bulgarian Pastorale, Jenala e Dyulber Jana, Makedonsko devoiche, Devoiche belo, tsurveno, Povdigni si milo libe, Vassilke, mlada nevesto, Zemiata na Orfei, An Ohrid Legen about Bilyana, Bouzuki taqsim, Krai rekata, Sasedi
Herr Erbarme Dich
Review: When Bulgarians, at the end of the 20th century, look back to find their national history, they saw the Bulgarian orthodox church with its canonic ritual and religious traditions that few people had access to under the socialist regime in Bulgaria. "Mercy for the Living," for a "man's voice and a women's Folk Choir, places us in a seat in the early church, with beautiful music from the orthodox services, beginning with the lovely "Great Litany," "Rejoice, Mother of God," "Great Song of Praise," and "Is It Honorable." The four final pieces, "Small Litany," "The Mystical Sacrifice, "Holy God," and "Our Father," are all very fine. Throughout, however, the sound is that of angels in this rarely-heard collection of Bulgarian orthodox church music. Beautiful and touching.
Songlist: Great Litany, Rejoice, Mother of God, Unto Thee We Sing, Kyrie Eleison, Great Song of Peace, It Is Honourable, Praise The Name of the Lord, Lord, Have Mercy, Blessed Be the Lord, Small Litany, The Mystical Sacrifice, Holy God, Our Father
Review: The 19-strong Bulgarian Voices combine with two smaller instrumental groups, the Moscow Art Trio and Huun-Huur-Tu to create an authentic, eclectic collection of folk tunes that explore the similarities and differences between Russian, Bulgarian and Tuvan folk music. The 28 musicians create a surprising, spirited, energetic, all-accompanied sound on 10 songs: "Midnight Tale," "Sunrise," "Early Morning With My Horse," "New Skomorohi," "Sad Harvest," "Mountain Fairy-Tale," "Dancing Voices," "Grand Finale," "Epilog" and "300 Pushki." Often the all-women Bulgarian Voices reminds us of Solstice, who did a great set recently at the Bay Area Sweeps Regionals. Particularly nice is "Dancing Voices," when the soprano and tenor solos soar above the rhythmic bass chanting, the sweet, sensual "Epilog," and the lovely lament, "300 Pushki," the story of the death of a hero. Some great pix of the group(s) in the liner notes, in authentic costumes.
Songlist: Midnight Tale, Sunrise, Early Morning With My Horse, New Skomorohi, Sad Harvest, Mountain Fairy-Tale, Daning Voices, Grand Finale, Epilog, 300 Pushki
Vetchera I Rado
Review: Melody Rhythm & Harmony was recorded live by the Bulgarian Women's Choir during their 1993 tour in Norway. The songs presented here encompass the wide variety of styles from the various Bulgarian regions. Many of the arrangements include those of Philip Koutev, who was largely responsible for preserving the folk tradition. These songs are largely a cappella with a few accompanied by traditional Bulgarian instruments. The diverse history of the country has lent itself to produce music which requires great skill and feeling. And its rich culture continues to be preserved by this group.
Songlist: Polegnala e Toudora (Todora's dream) (Philip Koutev), Grozda Moma (Young Groda) (Dimitar Dinev), Dragana i slavei (Dragana and the nighingale) (Philip Koutev), Bre Ivane (Hey, Ivan) (Anastas Naumov), Jano, hubavo Jano, Listni se goro (Green Forrest) (Stefan Moutafchiev), Tapan bie (Beating the drum) (Zdravko Manalov), Kazhi, kazhi, Angio (Tell me, Angio) (Philip Koutev), S'gaida na horo (Dancing to the bagpipe) (Peter Lyondev), Ozdole Ide devoitche (A young maiden is arriving) (trad arr. Dimitar Dinev), Tin vjater vee (The wind is blowing) (trad. arr. Stehan Kanev), Sestro Dobriano (Sister Dobrjana) (Krassimir Kroumov), Tri biulbiui pejat (Three birds are singing), Dimjaninka (Philip Koutev), Pilentze pee (A bird is singing) (Krassimir Kyurkchiyski), Lale li si (Are you a tulip) (Philip Koutev), Kalugerine (The monk) (Nikolai Staikov), Mechmetio (Ivan Spasov), Dyulmano, dyulbero (Krassimir Kyurkchiyski), Kalimanko Denko (Godmother Denka) (Krassimir Kyurkchiyski), Polegnala e Toudora (Todora's dream) (Philip Koutev), Vetchera I Rado
Review: The hearty harmonies of Cockersdale are the accompaniment to war, hard labor, precarious journeys, and the struggle to survive. Even when the subject matter is potentially grim, the settings can be hopeful; "Left, Left, Right, Steady" is about a "rear gunner... in the Spring of forty-four," but the melody is anything but sad. Temporary pain relief can be found in "Three Cheers For Booze," before the mood turns melancholy - "Hills of Mullaghbawn," an Irish traditional, is a thinly veiled protest against occupation, and "Raglan Road" is about love not meant to be. "Cholera Camp" and "Follow Me Home" are based on the poems of Rudyard Kipling, set to original music.
Songlist: Follow Me Home, Hills of Mullaghbawn, Jamie Foyers, Lost at 21, Three Cheers for Booze, Will Ye Go to Flanders, Cholera Camp, Raglan Road, St Aubin Sur Mer, Left, Left, Right, Steady, Race Against Time, Roll On the Day, Thames Lighterman, Farrow Song
Review: The folk music of England and its former colonies is a colorful patchwork of history, past and present. Not the least bit refined or pretentious, its primary elements are simple and fundamental, as is its style. These are tunes that anyone can sing or harmonize to, while hoisting a pitcher of ale. Many tell stories, such as "Sykehouse Bridge," about a company town and its industrial origins, or "Barratt's Privateers," about "a broken man on a Halifax pier," reminiscing about youthful adventures. The three members of Cockersdale, Val Marsden, John O'Hagan and Graham Pirt, arrange all of the songs, and have been featured as part of the BBC's "Lateral History Programme."
Songlist: Tree Song, Fit for Heroes, The Cuckoo, Poor Old Horse, Sykehouse Bridge, Ash and Oak, Anderson's Coast, Barratt's Privateers, Auld Fischer's Farewell to the Coquet, Us Poor Fellows, Long Long Road, Single Handed, Death Is Not the End, Tortoises Always Come Last, A Pilgrim's Way
A Whole New Way of Getting Dressed
Review: The five young women singers who call themselves Coco's Lunch have got rhythm, they've got music, and they've got that swing (the kind that it don't mean a thing if you ain't got it)! For the five years they've been together they've built a reputation as one of Australia's most outstanding and innovative a cappella groups. They weave earthy songs with driving (non-vocal) percussion (and there is your odd flute passage), drawing on the sounds of the world in a distinctly Australian way. "Dressed" is Coco's third CD, following "Invisible Rhythm" and "Wally Wombat Shuffle." The Songs (all written and/or composed by group members) are: "Shine," "Thulele Mama Ya," "Nature's Vanishing Points," "All The Wild Wonders," "A Whole New Way," "Fly Away," "Shifting Time," "Sleepless," "Night Reserviert," "Unity" and "Sister My Sister." The words, all included on the nice-looking liner notes, are moving poems of freedom, love and wildness. "Dressed" is a fun, refreshing, toe-tapper of a CD that satisfies on many levels!
Songlist: Shine, Thulele Mama Ya, Nature's Vanishing Points, All the Wild Wonders, A Whole New Way of Getting Dressed, Fly Away, Shifting Time, Sleepless, Nicht Reserviet, Unity, Sister My Sister
Review: Invisible Rhythm received an ARIA award nomination for best contemporary album. This highly successful recording by Coco's Lunch was a finalist in the Australian World Music Awards and was featured as World Music CD of the Week in the Sydney Morning Herald. Featuring the brilliant harmonies with sophisticated rhythms of these five skilled musicians and composers, Invisible Rhythm transcends cultural borders. Their songs are in variety of musical styles with lyrics that are earthy and spiritual. Although many of the songs were written be one person, it is obvious that the final product is the result of the closeness and compatibility of the group. Try the soulful "Seven Sisters" or the improvised "Goodnight."
Songlist: Sing of This Time, Journey , Mio Caro, Invisible Rhythm, Seven Sisters, Sleepy Harp, In My Room, Mama Mo, Gubaveeny, Five, Goodnight
Review: The sound of Georgian polyphony is sure to please those who enjoy sacred choral traditions. Multiple unaccompanied voices blend together, weaving counter-melodies to create an awe-inspiring sound of sacred tradition. Georgian vocal polyphony is unlike any other vocal/choral music, Eastern or Western. There are many genres, both sacred and secular, and different styles in different regions. The selections of this CD are from the Kahetia region and are drawn from a large repertoire of ritual songs, carols, and traditional songs that abound in Georgia.
Songlist: Dianbego, Alilo, Garkakhuri Sachidao, Orovela, Shashvi Kakabi, Chakrulo, Zamtari, Shemozahili, Makruli, Tamar Kalo, Beri Katsi, Turpani Skhedan, Kakhuri Mravalzhamieri, Orovela (with Female Solo)
Review: Darach S Cathain said once, "When you've music in you, you're hearing music always." This recording enables us to have and hear the power and love of a singer who is known as a giant figure in Irish traditional singing. His unaccompanied vocals, sung in Irish, are revered as examples of the finest and purest examples ever documented. Most of the songs in this recording he learned as a boy from his mother who only sang at home or with friends. He was a poet born of poets and had been writing songs since he was twelve. A romantic, he fell in love at 19, raised his family by working as a farmer for twelve years before emigrating to Leeds where these recordings were made. Here is the real tradition!
Songlist: Tomas Ban Mac Aogain , Caoirigh Na Japs, Baile Ui Lai , Maire Ni Ghriofa, An Gabha Ceartan, An Beinnsin Luachra, An Sceilpin Draighneach, Caislean Ui Neill, Donnchadh Ban , Sail Óg Rua, Ta Na Paipeir Á Saighneail, An Caisideach Ban, Óro, Se Do Bheatha 'Bhaile!
Review: A musical journey through the Tongan islands containing authentic field recordings (1978-88). The album concludes with the astonishing new choral work Pacific Song: Chants from the Kingdom of Tonga - "a work of musicological significance. David Fanshawe's Pacific Song is a model for how to make multicultural music accessible to everyone." ACDA Choral Journal, USA.
Songlist: 'Ani lai 'a e , Welcome Song, Ma'ulu'ulu, Tau'olunga , Tongan Ceremonial, Sunday Morning in Taunga, Kava drinking song, Holonga Faikava, Hena Shark Calling / Makafeke Octopus Fishing, 'Utete mouth harps of 'Eua, Lakalaka Hihifo, Finesola, Me'etu'upaki, Faikava Kanokupolu, 'Old Timers' Dateline Hotel, The Nobleman Ve'ehala, 'Otuhaka opening, Oi inu i le'ava e, Muli tu pe, Hulo Hulo, Malua lau fanga e, Io ae e e , Moenga ngongo tau fea, The Singing Reef
Review: If you wish to experience a wide cross-section of authentic Pacific island music - then this is it! This album presents highlights, personally selected by David Fanshawe the Pacific Collections. Represents many Pacific island nations, the Fanshawe Collection focuses on the rich variety of authentic music indigenous to Oceania;- traditional music of great beauty and contrast - - a musical source for us all to enjoy. Music from Cook Islands, Tonga, Western Samoa in Polynesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu in Melanesia and Kiribati and Chuuk in Micronesia. Traditional chants, church singing, Bamboo and string bands, nose flute, love song, action dances and the wonderful voice of the legendary Aggie Grey in Western Samoa.
Songlist: Imenetuki Mangaia, Manihiki Action Song, Pukapuka Drum Dance, Romonum I, Wagi Brothers Bamboo Band, Rymoka Strind BAnd, Sepik Flutes Kanengara, Pan Pipes Of Buma, Pan Pipes Langa Langa Lagoon, Gilo Stones, Fenes String Band, Orchid Island Group, Lali Church Bell, Hymn Viseisei Church, Rukua Church Methodist Choir, Taralala Dance, Warwick Vocal Group, Vakamalolo Yaroi, Lakalaka Hihifo, Fiafia At Agie Grey's, Te Kamei Tewai, Te Kamei Batere, Romonum II, Fangufangu Nose Flute, Faikava Love Song, The Singing Reef, Reureu Drum Dance
Review: David Fanshawe presents important highlights from his monumental Pacific Collection, recorded over fourteen year (1978-92). The album focuses on the rich variety of authentic himene (hymns) indigenous to Tahiti, the Cook Islands, the Society Islands and others. The 44-page booklet provides extensive information about the music, transcriptions and translations of the lyrics and is richly illustrated with colour photos.
Songlist: Himene Tarava Point Venus, Himene Tauraatua , The Signing Reef , Imenetuki Mangaia, Imenetuki Oneroa, Imenetuki Aitutaki , Imenetuki Penrhyn, The Singing Reef 2, Himene Tarava Pirae, Himene Tarava Taunoa, The Singing Reef 3 , Legend of Maupiti , Himene Tarava Ucjg, Himene Tarava Betelehema, Himene Tarava Faaha, Himene Tarava Anau , Himene Tarava Vaitape , The Singing Reef 4 , Marae Arahurahu , Otea Te Maeva, Return to Point Venus , The Singing Reef 5
Review: Featuring music from Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands & Papua New Guinea. Recorded in the Pacific by David Fanshawe (1978-86) The final part of the Pacific Trilogy of albums features ancient chants, delightful hymns, pan pipes, Gilo stones, String Bands and some beautiful songs.
Songlist: Sepik Flutes Kanengara, Pan Pipes Of Buma, Club Dance, Meke Rara Nakelo, Meke Seasea, Vakalolo, Nabua Methodist Church Choir, New Year Celebration, Grog Song Lakeha, Singera String Band, Naghol Land Diving, Lifou Mouth Pipes, Spirit Song U'ula, Shell Money Making, Spirit Song Ia Ia Ia, Gilo Stones, The Awakening, Funeral Song, Karop Pipes, Yule Island Festivities, Mt. Hagen Singsing, Mendi Girls Chant Alipuli, Wagi Bros. Bamboo Band, Rymoka String Band, Karawari Initiation, Kamanibit, Timbunke Garamut Drums, Wundubu Bangu Ceremony, Kanengara War Dance, Bisorio House Building Kilao War Party, Singsing Bodif Headhunting, Waskuk Yam Harvesting, Misa Yaroma Wewak, Secret Place
Review: Chants, hymns, dances from Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap and Palau. Recorded in Micronesia by David Fanshawe. The second in our trilogy of albums compiled from the Fanshawe Pacific Collections, stick dances, Star Path navigating chants, marching songs and historical chants from the Republic of Palau. An important and fascinating musical document. Great booklet, lots of text & photos.
Songlist: Te Kamei - Standing Dance, Te Kamei Batere, Tibwereri, Te Katake Chant, Te Bino - Sitting Dance, Te Orobaoki - Strike The Box, Te Karuo - Love Song, Toddy Cutting Songs, Te Kawawa / Te KAmei, Aeroplane Song, Morning Star Choir, Presentation Of Food, Jebua Stick Dance, "Beet", Sunday Morning Service, Micro Palm, Seamen's Dance, Kepia / Dokia - Stick Dance, Ordination Song, Navigators Of Pulusuk, Death Of Titilap, Conche / Outrigger / Storm, Puluwat Hymn, Navigators Of Puluwat, Men's Standing Dance, Launching A Canoe, Dances Of Satawal, Songs Of Lamotrek, Song For Sick People, Star-Path Chant, Cradle Song, Night Revelry, Ulithi Sailing Chant, Chants And Dances Of Yap, "Wul" Bird, Palauan Chant, Birds Of Helen Reef
Review: Traditional chants, dances & other music from Rapa Iti, Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Tokelau, Niue, Nauru, Tuvalu, Marquesas, Tahiti, Bora Bora, Cooks and Easter Island. A comprehensive and fascinating anthology of the exciting drum dances, hulas and awe inspiring chants of the Polynesian islands. 38 tracks. "It's all suffused with a great sense of exuberance and excitement." Includes great booklet with lots of text & photos.
Songlist: Aitutaki Drum Dance, Himene Tarvava, Poipoi - Tara Pounding, Song Of Papa Teora, Himene Ruau, Bird Dance Hula, Haka Maori Welcome, Song Of Papa Kiko, Kai Kai Of Mama, Hoko War Dance, Meke Wesi Spear Dance, Tau A Alo, FanguFangu Nose Flute, Faikava Love Song, Cheifs And Orators Sasa, Tagi Lillaby, Tawhoe - Oar Dance, Copra Bugle Call, Mokaone's Harmonica, Song Of Anili, Frigate Bird Dance, Funafuti Chorus, Tuvalu, Imenetuki - Gospel Chant, Mire Of emamaki, Ute - Cutting Nuts, Tapa Cloth Beating, Palmerston Shanties, Imenetuki, Mako Of Mama Lultangi, Canoe Racing & Wrestling, Children's Games, Akaatikatika Drum Dance, Mako Chant, Himene Tarava, Himene Nota, Otea Drum Dance
Now is the Time
Review: Dis Moi (Dees Mwah) is French for "Tell Me," and we were touched by this all woman trio's performance at the 2005 Harmony Sweeps Regional at SF's Palace of Fine Arts. There is a wealth of original material by group members in these 15 tunes: the poetic "Birds," "Solstice Reverie" and "Between Us" by Samantha, "Lumin Solare Fiat," "Memoria de Amor," "Flame," "Real" "Mariah's Song" and "Now is the Time" by Heather, "In Depth" and "Together" by Tamar, and "River Song" by Samantha and Heather. The Middle East folk song "Ana Tumba" and the Nigerian rite of passage song "Samagwaza" are also very strong. These are powerful, thought-provoking songs of peace, freedom, justice and love from the sweet, honest voices of these three beautiful, talented women.
Songlist: Solstice Reverie, Flame, Real, Together, Oj Djevojko Moja, Between Us, Mariah's Song, Ana Tumba, Now is the Time, Samagwaza
Cape Cod Girls
Review: The five men who call themselves Eddies were a book club before they became a singing group. They live on St. Paul, MN's famous West Side, on the banks of the Mississippi River. "Eddies" are whirlpools or currents that run contrary to the mainstream, which describes these five male voices, who sing testosterone-soaked sea shanties and traditional sailing songs, often a cappella and occasionally with instrumental backup of acoustic guitar, accordion and mandola. They choose music that is "well enough know that we actually remembered it and thought we could make it sound good." There are 16 songs here, our favorites include the a cappella "Fire Down Below," "Blow the Man Down," the drinking songs "Roll The Old Chariots" "All For Me Grog" and "Whiskey Johnny," "South Australia," "Cape Cod Girls," "Bully in the Alley," "Rolling Down To Old Maui," "Haul Away Joe," "Roll The Woodpile Down," "Boney Was A Warrior," "Fire Marengo," the slightly racy "A Rovin" and "Bold Riley-O." A number of these authentic, fascinating songs are new to us, and it is all the more enjoyable to hear them for the first time. "Hold Fast" is a well-crafted, spirited collection from a group that is always fun, in their live performances and on all cuts of this debut recording.
Songlist: Fire Down Below, Blow The Man Down, Roll The Old Chariots, South Australia, Cape Cod Girls, Bully In The Alley, Whiskey Johnny, Mingulay Boat Song, Rollin' Down The Old Maui, Haul Away Joe, Roll The Woodpile Down, All For Me Grog, Boney Was A Warrior, Fire Merengo, Bold Riley-O,
Review: "Sind'" is the second album of Apulia's (Southern Italy) Faraualla, and is the "organic development of it, a real chapter two," as described in the liner notes. A photo of the group shows a total of seven musicians now, 5 women singers and two male percussionists; not surprising with the emphasis on strong percussion in the group's first recording. This emphasis is even greater on "Sind'. Gabriella Schiavone once again has written most of the group's original material, including "Domina De Miseria," "Arecuriurie," a co-writer on "Uarandero," "Masciare" the joyous "Orangutan" and the rhythmic "Maat Dance," the title tune and "Ninnage." Schiavone also arranged the Russian folk-flavored "Popoff." The album finishes strongly with the traditional Albanian song "Viktori" and a remixed, throbbing "Masciare Witch Mix." Faraualla impresses us again with another energetic, rhythmic winner!
Songlist: Domina, Arecuriurie, Uarandero, Masciare, Sind', Popoff, Ninnage, Maat Dance, Orangutan, Viktori, Masciare With Mix
Review: The name of this New Hampshire women's septet literally translates 'woman, my friend.' From soaring harmonies to full voiced choral arrangements, they choose to share a woman's view of the world. The diversity of material is wonderful. Of the original songs, our favorite is "Sea Glass" which is a glorious piece of music and a marvelous metaphorical view of the possibilities of life. In feel, it is a modern classical composition. You will find a madrigal ("Amaryllis' Lament) about menopause! It's hysterical. A couple of Linda Hirschhorn's rounds are presented. One of our favorite songs of hope was written by Fred Small, "Everything Possible," It is treated with a simple elegance. A wider cultural excursion into the world of the spirit is the arrangement of the traditional Sanskrit chant, "Om Namo Bagavatae" which is sung in a harmonic complexity of unsurpassed beauty. Live free or die!
Songlist: When I Hear Music, Don't I Deserve, Miriam's Slow Snake Dance, Gabi Gabi, Johnny, I Have A Million Nightingales, Sea Glass, Amaryllis' Lament, Everything Possible, No More Silence, Touching, Fiddler's Hymn, Om Namo Bagavatae, Good Mothers, Yonder Come Day
Review: Fifteen most traditional songs, many sung in this Canadian trio's folk a cappella harmonies. Includes "Bright Shining Morning," "Shepherd of the Downs," "Sweet Forget-Me-Not," an a cappella arrangement of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," plus a great version of Carole King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow."
Songlist: Bright Shining Morning, Fair Maid Walking, At the End of A Long Lonely Day, The Ten Dollar Bill, The Maple Leaf Forever, As I Roved Out, Jack the Jolly Tar, Shepherd of the Downs, John Barleycorn, Sweet Forget-Me-Not, Shepherds Arise, Blackest Crow, The Painful Plough, The Times They Are A-Changin', Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Review: The North Carolina-based a cappella quartet Fleur-de-Lisa, Sarah, Deborah, Andie and Sylvie, has been writing music based on poetry and poetic themes since 2008. The 20 ethereal songs in this collection, all written by Sarah Shunk and Sylvia Freeman, represent one complete life cycle, from its spring-like beginnings of the first flowers and budding romance all the way through to the winter of life. In the Spring/Summer group are "Crocuses," "Fireflies," "Me and Frog," "White Feather" and "Old Pond;" in Relationship Songs are "Slowly," "She Reads Her Letter," "Early Spring," "A Thousand Half Loves," "Wild Rose," "Unworn Necklace," "Wild Lupine," "Rainy Season," "Slicing" and "Sound of the Name;" and in Autumn/Winter are "Dog's Day Off," "One Leaf," "One Moon," "Rumors" and "Time to Go." These are sometimes playful, sometimes poignant vocal poems that touch and move us, leaving us always wanting to hear more. Just beautiful!
Songlist: Crocuses, Fireflies, Me and Frog, White Feather, Old Pond, Slowly, She Reads Her Letter, Early Spring, A Thousand Half Loves, Wild Rose, Unworn Necklace, Wild Lupine, Rainy Season, Slicing, Sound of the Name, Dog's Day Off, One Leaf, One Moon, Rumors, Time to Go
Review: Sarah, Deborah, Andie and Sylvie of North Carolina-based Fleur-de-Lisa, have been writing music based on poetry since 2008. In "Willow Songs" the poems are from the non-rhyming verse genre Haiku, a Japanese word meaning "Light Verse," which consists of one 5-syllable sentence, a 7-syllable one, and then a final 5-syllable sentence. There are 27 poems here, with names like "atop the feeder," "credit card bills," "drifting," "family reunion," "summer rain," "sunny side up," "cicadas," "harborside mall," "so cold," "spinning tops," "summer gossip," "green green room," "willow tree," "butterfly face" and "windows down;" all put to a cappella music by the group members. Each song is a little gem, a musical gift that makes us see and consider things through other eyes, and enjoy.
Songlist: kayak, atop the feeder, credit card bills, slow day, slow steady, beavers, drifting, family reunion, indigo bunting, summer rain, pick up, sunny side up, rooster, cicadas, harborside mall, commencement , Shiki, so cold, spinning tops, summer gossip , leaf to leaf, vintage airshow, resolution, great green room, willow tree, butterfly face , windows down
Review: Grupo Vocal Desandann is a10-voice Cuban vocal group of Haitian descent, composed mainly of 2nd and 3rd generation Haitians who were born and raised in in Cuba, particularly in Camaguey. The group sings the most beautiful folkloric and popular songs of Haiti's idyllic yesteryears, when Lumane Casimir, the country's most celebrated diva in the mid 1940s and early 1950s, was singing about the beauty of her country and charming tourists with her magnificent voice. It was a golden time for Haiti, when love and beauty reigned, and that feeling comes through strongly in these 14 spirited tunes. There is lively non-vocal percussion on songs like "Lawouze," the "hot" rhumba, "Cachita," "Guede Nibo," "La Mal de Travay," "Se Lavi," "Fey" and "Lumane." Other favorites are a pair of "slow meringues, "Choucoune" and "Haiti Cherie, " a love song to Haiti with the lyrics, "My beloved Haiti, I had to leave you in order to appreciate how much I love you." These are island songs that can break your heart as easily as get you on your feet dancing. Beautifu touching and enjoyable from first cut to last!
Songlist: Lawouze, Edem Chante, Lamou Rive, Cachita, Wongolo, Guede Nibo, La Mal de Travay, Se Lavi, Maroule, Fey, Alabans, Lumane Casimir, Choucoune, Haiti Cherie
Review: We remember when the prayer chants of the Guyoto Monks were first released in 1986. Micky Hart, one of the drummers of the Grateful Dead, was the producer and the weight of his name was enough to make us sit up and listen. Then the chanting itself captured our undivided attentions. It was the first time many of us had heard overtone singing, which is to say when a person is able to sing a primary note and the harmonic overtone at the same time. It was an illuminating experience! Please note, that the chanting on this recording is not performance, for the prayers are said anew each time the recording is played. Their power and effectiveness depends, of course, on the degree of attention and compassion which one brings to bear on the experience. The positive effects can therefore vary from merely an illuminating understanding of a vocal technique right on up to a moment of spiritual enlightenment.
Review: With an introduction by Jacey Bedford of Artisan, this women's trio, named with self-effacing mockery, also hails from that fine English folk tradition that Artisan represents (though Hen Party borrows a tune or two from its upstart colonialist cousins). Uncomplicated technically, the simple changes and diatonic melodies of folk tunes are also some of the prettiest, and are easy to harmonize. Songs such as "Normandy Orchards" and "The L & N Don't Stop Here Anymore" offer comfort during hard times, or may be the only form of protest available to the working-class; as such, their strength can be more visceral than more supposedly cultured forms.
Songlist: The Wind and the Rain, Cape Breton Lullaby, The Shores of Jordan, The 'L & L' Don't Stop Here Anymore , Hushabye my Laddie, If I was a Blackbird, Sea Invocation / Tarry Trousers, Flanders Tommy, Normandy Orchards, The Wife of the Soldier, Bonny Susie Cleland, Till the Spring comes on the River
Review: "Mbube" music, regarded as dating back in Zulu tradition to King Shaka, was originally royal music to be sung to honor the Zulu King by his male supporters. The style-a rich a cappella male choral approach usually sung in Zulu, appeared in the early 20th century as "Ingoni Ebusuku," meaning "night music." Popular with Zulu and Swazi laborers, in the early 1940s one of the Ingoni Ebusuku groups recorded a song called "Mbube" (the lion), which became a model for the international hit "Wimoweh" (the Lion Sleeps Tonight), and since then this type of music has become known as Mbube. The three talented men of Insingizi, Vusa, Nqo and Ramadu, have deep Mbube roots and performing experience, and they have created a special, powerful collection of 17 songs here. The rhythmic gem "Amasango," the gospel-based "Jerusalem," "Ungangidluli Jesu" and "Siyabonga," the complex "Isiqholo" and "Mama," and "Uzoyidela" are favorites. Beautiful, extensive liner notes. Authentic, wonderful "night music" from Insingizi.
Songlist: Ingoma, Amasango, Ibele Lendlela, Jerusalem, Isqoqodo, Nanziwe, Ngizobambelela, Isiqholo, Mama, Ungangidluli Jesu, Yint'enjani , Uthando Lukajesu, Siyabonga, Uzoyidela , Ko Bulawayo, Vinqo, Mbonqane Groove
Review: Following the amazing worldwide success of their first album, the Zimbabwean vocal group Insingizi present fourteen new songs, a cappella or accompanied with African drums, clapping and whistles. "After the success of the first album we were faced with a challenge to produce a CD that would have an even greater impact" says group leader Vusa Mkhaya Ndlovu. "The songs on the new CD are a mixture of our own compositions as well as traditional songs that changed our music sense, such as "Londolozela" and the hard-hitting war song, "Lamlela ndwandwe". The other compositions were inspired by life in the townships and they reflect the day to day life in modern day Zimbabwe." From the aforementioned war song to the funeral song "Amagugu", to the traditional wedding songs "Londolozela" and "Umendo", sung by jubilant families at traditional wedding ceremonies, the album highlights the different moods mbube music is capable of heralding. Insingizi's music is filled with hope, optimism and faith. Wherever they go, the purity of their vocal interplay is overwhelmingly beautiful, the lyric is ultimately hopeful, and the inherent tone of their message is true to their spiritual beliefs.
Songlist: Amathalenta, Amagugu, Ngazengayibona, Halala, Lamelela Ndwandwe, Ukubekezela, Sekuseduze, Mtshumayeli, Kungemithandazo, Amisiko, Londolozela, Umendo, Ukuhlabelela, Sizomdumisa
Review: Most people who heard him believe that Joe Heaney was the greatest Conamara singer in memory. He came from An Aird Thoir, near Carna, which is a famous center of the traditions of story telling and traditional singing. As his singing became the focus of his life he, naturally learned the stories of the songs and would pass on his deep love for the Irish Heritage to any interested. As a result he became a master singer and story teller. His reputation grew to international stature in no small part by winning the Gold Medal for seannss singing at the national Oireachtas festival in 1955. Like many talented Irish people of that time he had to emigrate, first to Britain and then to the United States where he finally received an appointment as lecturer and artist-in-residence at Washington State University in Seattle. This is a compilation of his best recordings.
Songlist: A Stor Mo Chroi, Eileanoir a Ruin , The Galway Shawl , The Wife of the Bold Tenant Farmer , Roisin Dubh, A Raibh Tu Ar an Gcarraig?, Red Is the Rose, Oiche Nollag, Coochenanty, Will You Come Over the Mountain? , The Rocks of Bawn, An Tiarna Randal , My Love She's in America/Off to California, Oro oro Do Bheatha 'Bhaile! , Bean Dubh an Ghleanna, I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me , An Buinnea Bui, The Claddagh Ring, Caoineadh Na Dtri Muire,
Review: The New York City-based Johnson Girls are five talented women who sing authentic, a cappella sea chanteys and maritime songs. Lead-singing leads are shared fairly evenly among the five, who particularly enjoy singing this very blue-collar music live, encouraging audience participation. 19 authentic, spirited tunes, some favorites: "Round the Corn," "Dixie Land," "A Wife in Every Port," "Married to a Trawlerman," "Drink to the Laddies," "Fire Maringo," "Tailor in the Tea Chest," "Working at the Coalface," "Gaol Song," "Mike," "White Wings" and "Mariner's Hymn." These are powerful songs of love, betrayal and heartbreak, of hard work and trouble, rhythmic songs to sing while rowing a ship's boat, raising the anchor, or hauling a canvas sail up to the yardarm. Nicely done liner notes with interesting info about each of the songs. We noticed that the Johnson Girls are all brunettes, and on the cover of "On the Rocks" sit 5 brunette mermaids with their backs to us, singing out to a passing clipper ship, but this is almost certainly a coincidence!
Songlist: Round the Corn, Noah Bult the Ark, Dixie Land, Song for a Seafarer, A Wife in Every Port, Married a Trawlerman, Drink to the Laddies, Roll, Boys, Roll, Vole Mon Coeur, Vole, The Priest and the Nuns, Fire Maringo, Tailor in the Tea Chest, O, Pescator Dell'onda, Working at the Colface, Gaol Song, Mike, White Wings, Pique laBalcine, Mariner's Hymn
Review: The five talented Johnson Girls love singing folk tunes together, but let us be more specific-they love singing authentic a cappella sea chanteys and maritime music. They are a refreshing incongruous part of a traditionally male community of singers who come together at festivals and gatherings to sing the old songs. 20 tunes, some of our favorites: "Round Cape Horn," "Sailor's Way," "Essequibo River," "Fisherman's Lassie," "Come Love Come," the fairly racy "Huckleberry Hunting," "Drummer and the Cook," "Yankee Man o' War," "Jump, Isabel, Slide Water" (a rowing song written by slaves before the Civil War), "Pump Shanty," "Fisherman's Wife" and "Goodbye, Fare You Well." These are heart-tugging songs of the life of the sailor, songs that made his labor seem easier, and helped to ease his loneliness or a broken heart. The Johnson Girls sing them with conviction, spirit and deep feeling, making us believe that they are the sailor in question, or that he is their lover, son or husband. An impressive, focused first recording by New York City's talented folk quintet! Liner notes have comments and info on all the songs.
Songlist: Round Cape Horn, Blackbird Get Up, Sailor's Way, Running Down to Cuba, Essequibo River, Bear Away Yankee, Bear away Boy, Fisherman's Lassie, Walk Along Sally Brown, Come Love Come, Huckleberry Hunting, London Julie, Drummer and the Cook, Weary Cutters, Fire Down Below, Yankee Man O' War, Jump, Isabel, Slide Water, Pump Shanty, Fisherman's Wife, Won't You Help Me To Raise 'Em, Goodby, Fare You Well