• Music

    Allegra Krieger – Precious Thing

    It’s very rare for me to review a folk album that doesn’t involve an element of rock in it, but this is something special.  Allegra Krieger is a singer-songwriter based out of New York, and the songs on her album especially Precious Thing, are some of the most gentle ballads I’ve heard in a long while.  Her voice is fragile, almost to the point of breaking, but she sings so calmly that these tunes almost qualify as lullabies. This was a surprisingly relaxing, warm album.  Well done.

  • Music

    Various Artists – Blackford Hill: Transmissions / Volume One

    Welcome to the first proper release promotion of 2022, and it’s quite a lovely way to begin the year.  Blackford Hill is a record company out of Edinburgh, Scotland, and they offer up a compilation of ethereal independent music from bands like Ultramarine, Emily Scott, Kate Carr, Jake Tilson and a host of others, providing 31 tracks. From the Blackford Hill Bandcamp site: The prospect from Blackford Hill is wide-ranging and far-reaching. This recently established label, curated by designer/publisher Simon Lewin, is based in Edinburgh and shares its name with a prominent topographical feature of that city. This compilation, ‘Transmissions…

  • Music - Spotify

    Tomáš Kočko Orchestr – Ona

    The Tomáš Kočko Orchestr are one of the great musical treasures of my new home city of Brno.  They band mixes true Moravian folk music, including some melodies with pre-Christian roots (so, at least a millennium of music here), world music and even touches of metal to great effect. The concept of their latest album is based on the women of Moravia, whose character and strength preserved the culture despite attempted encroachments from within and without. From the band’s press release: The songs come from the Moravian folk tradition and talk about the experiences of the great-grandmothers of today’s women…

  • Music

    Bube Dame König – Winterländlein

    Our dear friends at CPL-Musik released quite a gem of an album from 2016 that I am only now digging into.  Bube Dame König is a German folk group which was founded in 2013. The band mixes German-language folk songs with traditional Irish and Swedish music as well as their own songs, some of which are based on local legends from the group’s hometown, Halle (Saale). From Wikipedia, “The group itself describes its style as new folk music, based on the genre of new folk music.”  It seems to be rather perfect Christmas music, or at least wonderful for this…

  • Music - Youtube

    Razam / Iva Marešová – Harpyje U Pramene

    On Friday night, my beloved friends, Helenka and Tomáš, suggested I go out to a club called Stará Pekárna, a club where Tomáš works.  The owner of this fine establishment is a heavy blues aficionado who happens to book very impressive bands.  Imagine my surprise when I walk into the club into a lovely sound: The singer, Iva Marešová, had a wonderfully open voice, full of power and energy, and even though most in the club were sitting, you could see quite a large number of patrons fidgeting around wanting to dance.  I myself could feel my feet tapping around…

  • Music

    Breizh Napoli – Démo

    Two places I have been enamored with for at least half of my life are Brittany in France and Naples, perhaps my favorite Italian city.  Breizh Napoli, as the name clearly indicates, combines both Breton and Neapolitan music seamlessly.  This is a fine demo of choral music that brings out the best of both cultures, and it’s my hope that the band continues to mine this particular strain of folk music.

  • Music

    Circuit des Yeux – -io

    The name Circuit des Yeux has come across the laptop several times over the past year, and each review and interview (see this one at The Quietus) raved about her work, so I decided to give it a listen.  It was, undoubtedly, a rewarding experience. Haley Fohr is the singer and the Yeux in question.  With a four-octave voice and the most lush production values I’ve heard out of an album that isn’t ethereal or prog rock, I have to say that this left me floored.  It is as if Fohr has the husky, dusky voice of a female Scott…

  • Music - Music Articles

    The Chieftains – Full of Joy / Paddy Moloney RIP

    The legendary uilleann piper and leader of The Chieftains, Paddy Moloney, is no more.  He passed away yesterday at the age of 83.  This is a big loss for the world of folk music. In his honor, we post a track that is near and dear to me.  The Chieftains toured China many years ago, and this is one of the tunes they brought back from the Middle Kingdom. May Paddy rest in peace.  You can read NPR’s obituary here. UPDATE: The Chinese title of this tune is “Xi Yang Yang” (喜洋洋) by Liu Mingyuan (刘明源, 1931-1996).

  • Music

    LeiLuo Studio (磊落声音艺术) – An Ancient Tune of Shanha

    LeiLuo Studio is a small record label based in my former home of Beijing, China.  The track reviewed today is a fusion of musics from Zhejiang from the She ethnic group.  The label/band’s Bandcamp site explains further below: This is a piece of new fusion single composed and arranged by the duo, Wang Lei and Yile, in February 2018. Aria of Yunhe is copyright Beijing Chuanzong Culture Development Ltd., Co. In mid January, the duo had participated in a field trip to Jingning County in Zhejiang Province, China. We were introduced to a type of local music that had existed…