This week sees new releases from Kristi Stassinopoulou & Stathis Kalyviotis, Arild Andersen, Darrell Scott and This Is Proper Folk Too!! – Proper’s long-awaited follow-up compilation to That’s Proper Folk.
Various – This Is Proper Folk Too!! (Proper Records PROPERFOLK13)
That’s Proper Folk!! released back in 2008 was a startling success and proved that the old fashioned, budget priced CD sampler still had legs. So four years down the line can This Is Proper Folk Too!!, repeat the trick? Well musically at least, the answer is a resounding yes as if anything, it’s a stronger line up than the original and once again something of a bargain. Seth Lakeman has returned from his (mis)adventures with EMI and there are no regrets, but he’s clearly refreshed to be taking control again as Blacksmith’s Prayer makes clear.
Following it with the ‘Traditional Song Of The Year’ Bonny Bunch Of Roses from the ‘Album Of The Year’ from the last Folk Awards, June Tabor & Oysterband get the pulses racing, only for a Lillibulero from the forthcoming Bellowhead CD to kick the pace on even further. It’s one of five tracks from albums yet to be released, with Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, Show OF Hands, Heidi Talbot, Karine Polwart also offering enticing tastes of what promises to be a bumper summer and autumn. Adding an exclusive track from Jon Boden and Sam Sweeney marks this as an absolute steal and an absolutely essential purchase. [Reviewed by Simon]
Kristi Stassinopoulou & Stathis Kalyviotis – Greekadelia (Riverboat)
The blowing of a seashell horn and a captain announcing the arrival of his vessel at a Greek island signal the start of Kristi Stassinopoulou and Stathis Kalyviotis’s fifth album, a musical journey around their homeland, reworking the traditional demotika songs of rural Greece.
The two of them met on Athens’ punk rock scene back in the late eighties and since then they’ve made a name for themselves exploring Greek roots music and remoulding it in their own unique way. Their use of sound samples and live looping techniques helps to create the ambient atmosphere of Greekadelia with its collection of dark folk tales and old love songs.
There’s a hypnotic quality to Kristi’s ornamented singing which suits the mood of the music, underpinned by the drone of the Indian harmonium, frame drum percussion and the delicate sounds of Stathis’ Greek lauto. It’s a compelling collection, from the shifting patterns of the slower songs such as Anamesa Nissirou and Erhomai Ki Esy Koimasai to the urgency of Rodo Tis Protanastasis with its tolling bell and buzzing bassline. Gorgeous! [Reviewed by Sofi]
Catch Kristi & Stathis live at London’s Green Note on Sunday 24th June 2012.
Arild Andersen is a pivotal figure in ECM’s history and there is no doubting the bassists’ billing as leader for this live session recorded in 2010. The idea came through collaborations with Tommy Smith and was inspired by ECM’s 40th anniversary the previous year, with the saxophonist suggesting a special celebration with the SNJO, the big band he had founded in 1995. The orchestra has become known for some special collaborations and was recently feted as Best Ensemble at The Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
Andersen solos upfront, with a full rhythm section and second bassist behind him and Tommy Smith on tenor and flute is also in dominant form. The bassist chose strongly melodic music with tunes that work well on the bass. Dave Holland’s May Dance is sprightly with flurries from Smith and a surprising lightness of touch from the SNJO. Molde Canticle and Crystal Silence by contrast are reflective with Andersen’s technique adding moments of stunning intensity and wonderful depth, around which the orchestra hovers, pulling and sculpting the melodies. The folkish delicacy of Ulrikas Dans is underpinned by a prompting pitter-patter rhythm, while his own Independency, Part 4 and Jarrett’s My Song oscillate between the profound and rambunctious joy. [Reviewed by Simon]
Listen to May Dance via the Music menu option on the ECM website.
Darrell Scott – Long Ride Home (Full Light)
Darrell Scott’s new solo album is a rare step into the limelight and a great chance to really appreciate one of country music’s best-kept secrets. The album was recorded at Scott’s home with a bunch of his friends, including a rhythm section composed of some of Nashville’s finest session players: legendary pianist Hargus “Pig” Robbins, upright bassist Dennis Crouch and drummer Kenny Malone; and instrumental touches and backing vocals from the likes of Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, Tim O’Brien, Charlie McCoy, Mickey Raphael, John Cowan, Kathy Chiavola and Jonell Mosser.
The songs on Long Ride Home were written or co-written by Darrell Scott over the last 30 years on a variety of subjects (even Scott’s love of fishing on Pay Lake and Still Got A Ways To Go). The quality of the songs and performances are so high it’s hard to pick out highlights, but if I was forced to choose then standouts include the delightfully detailed lyric of Out In The Parking Lot (written and sung with Guy Clark), the wonderfully epic feel of Dance In The Darkness, the noble tale of unrequited love in Candle For A Cowboy and the intimate feel of You’ll Be With Me All The Way.
A collection of eloquent and beautifully performed tales of love, hope, heartbreak and fishing. [Reviewed by Michael Hingston]