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Reviews Written by
Paul Matheson (Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom)

Page: 1
Chemins de Terre
Chemins de Terre
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.78

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the album which invented "folk-rock"., 5 May 2002
This review is from: Chemins de Terre (Audio CD)
In the sterility of today's music charts, it is astonishing to recall that this CD was voted "1974 album of the year" by the leading 1970s pop-music newspaper Melody Maker. But maybe it's not so surprising when you appreciate how little this record has dated. "Ian Morrison's Reel" remains a great dance track. "Suzy Macguire" and "Kimiad" are slow ballads of such mournful beauty that they make the "Titanic" film soundtrack sound crass and clumsy by comparison.
Alan Stivell is one of the very great impresarios of Celtic World music. This was the album that made him.

Songs of Central Brittany
Songs of Central Brittany
Price: £12.36

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Landmark collaboration by 2 of France's world music virtuosi, 5 May 2002
This album tears up the form book.
Prior to this release, the Ocora label had a reputation for being dry and academic. But brace yourself! The middle-eastern sounds of Robin's oud meets the ancient Celtic breton sound of Marchand's ballad-singing. The result is addictive. Lo and behold, the modality of Celtic music (which pre-dates Bach and the modern musical scale) has more in common with Islamic musical sensibilties than with the Western Classical tradition.
Never before in human history have these two sounds been joined: oud and Celtic voice. The marriage is perfection. If Berbers and Bretons had invented the Blues, this is what it would have sounded like.

Price: £13.87

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lean, muscular sound from an excellent Welsh folk band ., 30 April 2002
This review is from: Perllan (Audio CD)
Two guitarists, two fiddlers, a sublime female vocalist, and an ancient Welsh proto-violin, the crwth. The band create a sound which embraces strong, contempory songs, and courtly, elegant medieval tunes. Some tracks have a stark, ancient quality, assisted by the crwth which sounds, at times like an Indian tanpura.
The album's masterpiece is 'Hwiangerdd Gwenllian', a sweet, sad lullaby for a 13th century baby princess, robbed of her inheritance, and denied the chance to know even who she is or who her father was (Llywelyn the Last King of Wales).
The guitar accompaniment evokes the rocking of the cradle and the long flow of years: Ffion Haf's voice is simply spellbinding.

Hep Diskrog
Hep Diskrog
Price: £16.98

5.0 out of 5 stars State-of-the-art Breton pipe-band music, with a jazzy edge., 30 April 2002
This review is from: Hep Diskrog (Audio CD)
Stirring, skirling Celtic pipes and drums. Better than Scottish and Irish pipe bands, because the Bretons use a third group of instruments, the bombardes (a kind of shawm/clarinet), which lend a poignant expressiveness unique to Breton music.
This album is worth buying just for the last track: a colloboration with Johnny Clegg's South African roots-rock band, based on the tune of Mahatma Gandhi's favourite Hindu devotional song: a plea for universal religious tolerance.

Gun Sireadh Gun Iarraidh
Gun Sireadh Gun Iarraidh
Price: £9.90

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionate Gaelic love-songs, and songs of bitter grief., 30 April 2002
Christine's pure, high Isle-of-Lewis voice is accompanied by harp, fiddle, tin-whistle, pipes, concertina and guitar. The album grows in emotional and musical intensity as it progresses, like a concert. 'Granger's Farewell' contains a stunning duet between Christine's voice and the small pipes. "Don't you pity me" is a magnetic song of sexual betrayal, in which the tune reveals the singer's broken heart.
The CD concludes with another superb duet (with Simon Thoumire's concertina) which conjures a Hebridean denouement to 'Brief Encounter': "I turned my back on you, though I saw you were wreathed in tears".
If you believe that a truly satisfying CD should leave you without a dry tissue left in the house, then this one is for you.

Price: £13.86

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-quality traditional Scottish music, with a jazzy touch., 30 April 2002
This review is from: Skyran (Audio CD)
This album has syncopated rhythmic guitar chords, foot-tapping piano and jazzily creative fiddle-playing. ('Dingeshowe dancer' has a Louisiana feel, 'Stronsay Waltz' has a transatlantic flavour).
This album also has slow, melancholy airs.
Listen to 'Orca', in which delicate guitar arpeggios underpin a quiveringly emotional fiddle melody, building up to the astonishing climax, where the fiddle imitates the voice of the whale.


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sublime, haunting masterpiece by a diva of world music., 30 April 2002
This review is from: Kismet (Audio CD)
Produced by Nikola Parov of "Riverdance" fame, this virtuoso album has Marta singing in different languages and musical traditions. She splices together 'Derry Quay' with 'Eleni', alternating English & Greek verses. Equally astonishing is the Irish/Hungarian mix of 'Shores of Loch Brann with 'Hazafele'. She sings a Hindi lullaby beautifully. And the heartbreaking Bosnian song 'Gold, Silver or Love' has a breathtaking poignance that you will rarely if ever hear the equal of. This album displays why Marta is rightly regarded as one of the very greatest traditional singers in Europe today.

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