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recording of traditional-style solo joik or expanded with instruments and technology it’s bound up with the place and the people.


Norwegian musician Andreas Fliflet, brother of quirky Bergen accordeonist Gabriel Fliflet, lives in the port of Hammerfest in Norway’s extreme northerly county of Finnmark. He’s not Sámi himself, but has long worked with Sámi music and culture, and cre- ated the band Jienat, whose debut album Daja was released ten years ago. Its successor Mira, comprising a 5.1 SACD audio disc and the same tracks on a Blu-Ray audio DVD, is composed and meticulously crafted by Fliflet, principally using a 5-microphone surround- sound array in various places including the streets of Bahia, Brazil, a stone church in the Gulf of Bothnia’s Åland islands and Fliflet’s Hammerfest recording room in between plane take-offs and the engine sounds of nearby Russian trawlers.


At its heart are joik vocals from Fliflet – in one case slightly barmy multi-tracked dog- imitations, in another transferring a joik melody to musical saw – and others including Sámi Marit Hætta Øverli, surrounded by var- ied percussion, mainly from Fliflet and Fredric Gille but also from Mory Kante’s nephew and balafon player Adama Conde and Väsen’s André Ferrari. The track Gille is built around the ten drummers of Bahia’s Swing Do Pelo.


Not being equipped with sofa-envelop- ing surround-sound I can’t comment on that aspect – but the album’s unreverbed, airy sounds and syncopated rhythms work fine in plain stereo.


www.jienat.com Andrew Cronshaw


ANGLES Angles own label 5051078 917825 [bar code]


Three highly-regarded musicians combine their considerable talents to bring us their own tunes, composed new music and dance to fit in with European traditions. They all bring their excellent musical pedigrees to this new unit.


The majority of the compositions are by their hurdy-gurdy player Cliff Stapleton who has played with top bands since the 1980s including Blowzabella and The Drones. Piper Chris Walshaw worked with Cliff in The Duel- lists, but has also worked in English-style dance bands including Stocai, Meridian and The Climax Ceilidh Band. Richard Jones’ early background was in top rock and blues bands, but his playing is now firmly at the centre of a number of dance bands including The Climax Ceilidh Band and Meridian.


So these three have worked together in various combinations before but this sounds like it is going to be a rather special unit. They seem to have hit that very happy com- bination of making their music very listen- able and played to the very highest stan- dards whilst retaining its essential danceable quality. They inform us that most of the album is recorded “as live” with a just a few overdubs and this makes the way their arrangements change and develop the musi- cal texture even more admirable.


The tunes are very interesting, very melodic and at times they seem apparently simple but in fact deceptively complex. I am not sure how they have managed to achieve quite unusual key changes on instruments like pipes and hurdy-gurdy; a favourite would be Richard’s lovely last waltz, Cherries.


It is doubtful that there will be a debut album by an English band that is as exciting as this, this year.


www.anglesmusic.co.uk Vic Smith


The Road To Marazion into a folk anthem based on bodhran and electric harmonica, refrains and all. It’s an approach also taken by Shannon, who finds and plays on the tradi- tional roots of Derroll Adams’s Love Song.


The A Lords And Mark Fry do a lovely


take on Steve Tilston’s It’s Not My Place To Fail, with twin guitars in the true VT spirit – but Katie Rose pretty well scoops the jackpot with Dave Evans’s Grey Lady Morning. The original is special, but Rose’s stretched, wavering vocal over sparse tampuri drone is an eye (and ear) opener.


All round a damn good advertisement for Rif Mountain and a fine set of arrange- ments and approaches. Crikey!


www.rifmountain.com Ian Kearey


CATRIONA MCKAY & CHRIS STOUT


Katie Rose: Echoing Mountaineer VARIOUS ARTISTS


Echoes From The Mountain Rif Mountain RM-008


Crikey! This is either the fastest or the slowest tribute album ever: fastest in that it’s a response to


Ghosts From The Basement, the Village Thing compilation reviewed but a couple of issues back, slowest because the tracks on said com- pilation came out nearly 40 years ago.


Now, tribute albums are difficult beasts for an artist – do you make your piece close to the original in sound and intention, which is one form of appreciation, or do you kick out the jams (correct period-speak) and make something new of the song, which is an equally valid alternative? On this CD, the balance is about half and half, which makes for a varied listen.


Two of the original artists feature here:


Steve Tilston and Wizz Jones each play a song by the other writer, a nice touch, and their interpretations of, respectively, Night Ferry and Sometimes In This Life have all the VT characteristics of fluid guitar work and light vocals. Those two are also covered: Tilston by Pamela Wyn Shannon, whose Simplicity is just that, with a harmonium complementing the excellent guitar; and Wizz Jones first by Adam Leonard, whose singing on See How The Time Is Flying is fine but whose strum- ming loses the delicacy of the original, and then by the Memory Band’s Stephen Crack- nell, who sounds like Tucker Zimmerman with a great mbira part on the resigned When I Cease To Care. Other ‘straight-ish’ renditions include The Owl Service’s rich version of Ian A. Anderson’s The Time Is Ripe (with uncanni- ly faithful vocals) and The Straw Bear Band on Chris Thompson’s Song Of Wandering Aengus. Dave Evans’s Rosie is tailor-made for Jason Steel’s rough-edged guitar and idiosyn- cratic approach.


Things get twisted from the opening track, where Starless & Bible Black treat Hunt & Turner’s Silver Lady to a healthy dose of swimmy psychedelia, and the far-out quota continues. The Sun Also Rises were pretty much there anyway, but Jane Weaver’s Death brings in drone notes and scratchy sounds effectively (and it’s a long, long way from the Pace Jubilee Singers’ version). Acoustic weird- ness comes with the Lemez Duo Featuring Ben Mandelson, who channel the spirit of the late Al Jones into their version of his Island, with Patrick Wolf-ish vocals over archaic banjo, trumpet, whistling and harmonica. In contrast Corncrow brilliantly turn this Jones’s


White Nights McKay Stout Music MSM001CD


McKay and Stout have been performing together for 15 years. As well as their work with the award-winning Fiddlers’ Bid, their previous album as a duo (Laebrack, 2005) and their work with the Chris Stout Band (First O’ The Darkenin’, 2004; Devil’s Advocate, 2007) have expanded the boundaries of experimen- tation with traditional Scottish musical idioms. So White Nights builds on what is already a ground-breaking body of recordings and is as gloriously unclassifiable and genre- defying as we’ve come to hope and expect.


This instrumental collection is a show- case in technical mastery of fiddle and harp, and a tour-de-force of compositional flair that draws on classical, jazz and traditional Scottish/ Scandinavian influences. The pieces on this album were composed 50/50 between McKay and Stout, and they include sound- track accompaniments to a Shetland crime thriller and a Norwegian silent film screened at the Norwegian International film Festival.


McKay’s Missing You opens with solo fid- dle playing a shivery, wailing Scandinavian- sounding tune that prickles the hairs on the back of your neck. The harp comes in and the piece deepens into an exquisite soundscape of love and longing. The title track has a hel- ter-skelter complex brilliance of composition and playing that is as crisp, tangy, bracing and awesome as the North Sea itself. The album closes with Stout’s deeply moving slow air Michaelswood, named after the forest of remembrance planted in memory of Michael Ferrie, a founder member of Fiddlers’ Bid.


Like the landscape that inspires it, this music is breathtaking.


Distributed by Proper/Highlander. www.catrionamckay.co.uk www.chrisstout.co.uk


Paul Matheson


BALUJI SHRIVASTAV Goddess Arc Music EUCD 2283


Long ago the multi-instrumentalist Baluji Shrivastav added the resources and possibili- ties of the recording studio as another instrument to his extensive jalsaghar or ‘music room’ of Indian instruments. Goddess is both a further manifestation of that premise and a manifestation of the goddess principle. He has taken as his inspiration seven ‘examples’ of female divinity. He starts with Three Goddesses focusing on three Hindu goddesses. Parvati, here represented by Raag Shivranjani, is often called the supreme Divine Mother. The Goddess Saraswati, represented by Raag Saraswat, is emblematic of knowledge or learning, music


Photo: Ian Anderson


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