Tag Archives: traditional music

Various Artists’ Ragas Live Retrospective, 2012-2017

The ancient musical form of the Indian subcontinent known as raga is experiencing a renaissance in New York. It’s been going on for at least a decade now, and in 2011 performers descended on a New York City radio station … Continue reading

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Aallotar’s Ameriikan Laulu

To me, the sound of a fiddle and accordion together is exemplary of folk dance music. So many European-based cultures have dance music traditions that feature these two instruments, from the Roma, Italians and French, to the English, Irish and … Continue reading

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Charles Vess’ The Book of Ballads

This review was originally published in 2004. Really cool things arrive here at Green Man for review, some so cool that they barely make it out of the wrappers before being snatched up by an eager staffer. Fortunately the revised … Continue reading

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Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham’s Spring The Summer Long

Yawn, another bloody brilliant album from a duo, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, who can do no wrong. So why should you get excited? Are you completely daft, man? This is Aly Bain on fiddles and Phil Cunningham on damn … Continue reading

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Skara Brae‘s Skara Brae

Skara Brae was the first group that put harmonies to Gaelic songs. That alone makes them an important part of Irish trad music. Also not-so-trad music as Triona Ni Dhomnaill went on to be a member of the Bothy Band, … Continue reading

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Lalezar Ensemble’s Music of the Sultans, Sufis & Seraglio, Volume I: Sultan Composers; Volume II: Music of the Dancing Boys

The Lalezar Ensemble is part of a current revival of classical Ottoman music under way in Turkey. The group — four instrumentalists and three vocalists — have created four CDs that give a sampling of some of the best and … Continue reading

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Turkish Music: An Omnibus Review

Maras Sinemilli Deyisleri/Ulas Ozdemir: Ummanda (Kalan, 1998) Erkan Ogur/Ismail H. Demircioglu: Gulun Kokusu Vardi (Kalan, 1998) Kardes Turkuler: Dogu (Kalan, 1999) Turk Ritm Grubu: Ten/Skin (Kalan, 1999) Selim Sesler ve Grup Trakya’nin Sesi: Kesan’a Giden Yollar (Kalan, 2000) (This review … Continue reading

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Beatrice Deer’s My All To You

Beatrice Deer is a singer-songwriter from Nunavik, the icy region of Quebec north of the 55th parallel and home to Quebec’s Inuit people. My All to You is her fifth record since she left her tiny hometown of Quaqtaq for … Continue reading

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Elina Duni’s Partir

“We’re all leaving. Bound to be torn away, one day or another, from what we love.” With those words Elina Duni welcomes her audience in to her latest project, a cycle of songs from around the world about love, loss … Continue reading

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Various Artists’ The Ultimate Guide to Welsh Folk

When talking Celtic music we often think Irish or Scottish, or maybe music from Britanny. But remember Wales also claims Celtic roots, though their language is not from the same branch of Celtic languages as the Gaelic of Scotland and … Continue reading

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Oslo Kammerkor’s Kyst, Kust, Coast; Voces Nordicae’s Nordic Voices

The Olso Kammerkor, based in the Uranienborg Church in Oslo, is an internationally known chorus with an extraordinarily wide repertoire, ranging from Gregorian chant to jazz and folk music. The group has been most widely recognized for its translations of … Continue reading

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Gabriel Fliflet and Ole Hamre’s Eine kleine Kraftmusik

My first reaction to Fliflet and Hamre’s Eine kleine Kraftmusick was to break into laughter from sheer surprise and delight. One forgets, sometimes, how raucously fun-loving Norwegians can be. That is only one point in favor of this collection — … Continue reading

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Jody Marshall’s Cottage in the Glen; Malcolm Dalglish’s Jogging the Memory

Jody Marshall has a distinct facility for drawing together a variety of musical threads into a rich and engaging weave. Cottage in the Glen was my introduction to her music, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. One hallmark of this collection … Continue reading

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Danish String Quartet’s Last Leaf

Last Leaf is the Danish String Quartet’s second foray into “traditional” music. Their previous album in this vein, Wood Works, focused on music of the Faroe Islands and various small Nordic towns and villages. Last Leaf, although still focusing on … Continue reading

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Robin & Linda Williams’ Visions Of Love

(This review was written by Judith Gennett for a prior incarnation of GMR.) Visions Of Love is, by my count, the sixteenth album by American music harmonists Robin and Linda Williams. It is produced by Garrison Keillor and, unlike most … Continue reading

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Odetta At The Gate of Horn

Albert Grossman, who among other things managed Bob Gibson and a number of other prominent folk artists, opened The Gate of Horn in Chicago in 1956. It became quite arguably the performance venue for the burgeoning folk music scene in … Continue reading

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Wûtas’ Eponymous Debut Album

“Wûtas” (pronounced “wuotas”) is an Alemannic word denoting the Wild Hunt. (Alemannic is either a group of discrete languages or a group of dialects, depending on which school of linguistics is your favorite, spoken mainly in southern Germany, Austria, parts … Continue reading

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Iona’s A Celebration of Twenty

The phrase “world music” has come to be associated in my mind with a certain sound, which can basically be summed up as too much soprano sax and too many cutesy penny whistles. (I admit, I can be something of … Continue reading

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Boban Marković Orkestar’s Boban i Marko

There seems to be, in the Gypsy tradition of Serbian music, an affinity for Western jazz. This does not mean that the music performed by the Boban Marković Orkestar is jazz, but simply that jazz wanders in and feels very … Continue reading

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Fylgja’s Strå

“Fylgja” in Scandinavian folklore is a guardian spirit that appears in dreams, often seen as female. Fylgja in contemporary music is a group composed of three Danes and two Swedes, with strong roots in traditional Scandinavian music and a tendency … Continue reading

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Mozaik’s Changing Trains

What I’m noticing in my journey through “traditional” music is, first of all, tradition is what you make of it (in other words, anyone who works with traditional music is negotiating with the past), and second, there are lots of … Continue reading

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Saz’iso’s At Least Wave Your Handkerchief At Me

This is a momentous collection of folk music. Not least because it’s the first project produced by the renowned Joe Boyd in 17 years (and also apparently resulted in his getting married to one of the participants). This album of … Continue reading

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A Consumer´s Guide to Fairport Convention

Preliminary Note: This guide deals only with the official studio and live albums released by Fairport Convention. No samplers, collections or unofficial live albums are mentioned. The albums are graded as follows: (****) = A classic. Should be in everyone´s … Continue reading

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Bert Jansch’s Living in the Shadows (Part 1)

Bert Jansch, who died in 2011, was quite a prolific musician for quite a long time. I was a rather casual fan of his — well, actually I was an intense fan of one of his albums, and a casual … Continue reading

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Québéc’s second annual FestiTrad, April 7-9

Some of Québéc’s top roots musicians will be performing at the second annual FestiTrad. This new French-Canadian traditional festival will be held April 7-9 in the beautifully rustic St. Gabriel, a small lakeside town nestled deep in the Lanaudière valley, … Continue reading

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Jenny Scheinman’s Here on Earth

American fiddler Jenny Scheinman has created an album of music to accompany a film that celebrates the legacy of North Carolina Photographer H. Lee Waters. Here on Earth consists of 15 tunes, all of which stand securely on their own, … Continue reading

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Jake Xerxes Fussell’s What in the Natural World

Throw the vandals in court Say the bells of Newport All will be well if if if if Cry the green bells of Cardiff Why so worried, sisters, why? Sang the silver bells of Wye And what will you give … Continue reading

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Transatlantic Sessions to perform at 2017 MerleFest

The Transatlantic Sessions tour will be part of the 30th anniversary MerleFest in April. The Transatlantic Sessions is a series of musical productions that brings together innovative and iconic U.K. artists with the best American roots artists, under the musical … Continue reading

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Rayna Gellert’s Workin’s Too Hard

Rayna Gellert is one of those musicians who has played with lots of folks and who can play lots of instruments. She may be best known for her stint in Uncle Earl, which is sort of a retrospective supergroup in … Continue reading

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Anna & Elizabeth’s Hop High b/w Here In The Vineyard

As they prepare for a short tour of venues in the Northeast and Northwest of the U.S., followed by a May 2017 visit to the U.K., Anna & Elizabeth are releasing an old-school seven-inch vinyl single that’s unlike anything they’ve … Continue reading

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A Nordic Roots Omni: Ragnhild Furholt’s Lån Meg Vengjene; Ragnhild Furebotten’s Edelig Vals; Kristine Heebøll’s 10 Point; Svend-Erik Pedersen’s Selsølåter — Låter fra Selsø; Eskil Romme’s Himmerlandsmelodier

Nordic roots. That’s what this review is about. We tend to refer to “Nordic trad” a lot around here at GMR, but it strikes me, surveying these CDs, that “traditional” is going to get bent badly out of shape, perhaps … Continue reading

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Various artists’ Valse de Noël, An Acadian-Cajun Christmas Revels

What a delightful way to end a year that was sometimes less than delightful. For 2016, The Revels has produced a program and CD of Acadian and Cajun music and dance. If you’re not familiar with The Revels (I’m not … Continue reading

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Grex Vocalis’ Magnum Mysterium

Magnum Mysterium is a collection of choral music around the celebration of the birth of Christ – the “Magnum Mysterium” that has provided such a rich heritage for Christmas celebrations. Although Grex Vocalis is a Norwegian group, the disc also … Continue reading

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Wolfgang Plagge’s Julevariasjoner

Julevariasjoner translates as “Christmas Variations,” and that is just what this disc by Norwegian pianist Wolfgange Plagge is: a set of variations on Christmas carols, some Norwegian, but many that will be recognized anywhere that Christmas is celebrated. Plagge is … Continue reading

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Grannar’s Sofiagatan: Folk Music from Southern Sweden; Väsen’s Väsen Street; Kari Tauring’s Völva Songs

“Traditional” is one of those words that gets bandied about a lot these days, particularly when talking about families and music. I’ll leave families to a more political outlet and talk about music here. Now, “traditional” in music can mean … Continue reading

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Amira Medunjanin’s Damar

I haven’t listened to a lot of sevdah, but I am familiar with Mostar Sevdah Reunion, probably the best-known sevdah group outside of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Amira Medunjanin sang on their 2003 album A Secret Gate before going on to … Continue reading

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The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc’s Deliverance

Deliverance, the second release by The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, brims with life, energy, a lot of joy and a little bit of sorrow, all poured out in the delightful strains of fiddle music from three different but related traditions. The … Continue reading

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3hattrio’s Solitaire

Hard on the heels of 2015’s eyebrow-raising Dark Desert Night comes 3hattrio’s third full-length release Solitaire. It’s named for Desert Solitaire, the classic 1968 book about dryland ecosystems by Edward Abbey. This stringband trio from the red-rock desert of southern … Continue reading

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Billy Bragg & Joe Henry’s Shine a Light

When you speak of the Great American Songbook, you’re usually talking about the so-called standards, penned mostly in the 1930s and ’40s by the likes of the Gershwins, Berlin, Porter, Johnny Mercer, Ellington, et. al., and popularized by Sinatra, Ella … Continue reading

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Joe K. Walsh’s Borderland

Creating new music from old traditions is the hallmark of roots music anywhere in the world. And it’s what Joe K. Walsh does on his debut solo album Borderland. This mandolinist, songwriter and singer has been active in the Americana … Continue reading

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Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi’s Narrante

Narrante is an utterly fascinating album, and it’s like very little else that I’ve ever heard. Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi, who perform as Naqsh Duo, are Iranian musicians making their debut on the German jazz and classical label … Continue reading

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Steindór Andersen’s Rímur: A Collection From Steindór Andersen

If linguists can postulate the existence, sometime in the distant past, of an “ur-language,” a Mother Tongue from which all other languages have descended, can there not as well be an “ur-music” from which all of our modern music derives? … Continue reading

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Lúnasa: The Story So Far

Strange as it may seem from someone who’s been writing about music – at GMR of all places – for several years now, one area in which I am less cognizant than I should be is traditional Celtic music. I … Continue reading

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Clannad’s Landmarks

I always think of Clannad as an Irish traditional group, which they aren’t — at least, not any more. Traditionally grounded, yes, as one can see from their early recordings, but what has become their signature style incorporates bits of … Continue reading

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String Sisters’ Live

There seems to be something magical about the number “6” when you’re talking about fiddles. Maybe that many fiddlers reaches a kind of critical mass that sets off a chain reaction of some sort. At any rate, when the six … Continue reading

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Celtic Colours Wycocomagh Gathering

It was billed as “Cape Breton meets Denmark via Boston,” and it was all that and more as the two Celtic Colours 2013 Artists in Residence hosted a fiddling extravaganza Sunday night in Wycocomagh on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island. … Continue reading

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Celtic Colours — Tee and Tunes, Acadian Celtic Crossroads

Tee and Tunes Fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist John Doyle brought the capacity crowd to their feet in a spontaneous standing ovation at the conclusion of a stunning set of reels, the climax of an evening of traditional and contemporary … Continue reading

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Cesaria Évora’s Mae Carinhosa

Cesaria Évora died in 2011 at the age of 70, having spent most of her life singing. This posthumous release gathers a baker’s dozen tracks she recorded over her career but which never ended up on any of her 11 … Continue reading

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Kaivama’s Kaivama

Get yer polska on! Or yer polka, or yer schottisch, or if that doesn’t tickle yer fancy, try yer waltz. Or get it all on, with this swell new recording by the Finnish-American band Kaivama. Kaivama, which is fiddler Sara … Continue reading

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Haugaard & Høirup’s Duo for Violin & Guitar

Two highly regarded Danish folk musicians, violinist Harald Haugaard and guitarist Morten Alfred Høirup, teamed up to produce this immensely enjoyable record. The 13 tracks cover a variety of traditional and contemporary Danish folk styles: waltzes, reels, polkas and other … Continue reading

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