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fRoots 69 : free album!


Our pick of the very best new stuff. Download it to play on your device or burn it to CD. Go get it!


H


ere’s the latest in our long series of carefully crafted and sought-after compilations that are designed to let you hear the best music –mostly on


small independent labels – that our writers get enthusiastic about in the pages of fRoots. Listen, then buy the original CDs!


There’s no trace of Ma Polaine in Wikipedia, so it’s unclear whether her situa- tion involved health or verbs. But one thing’s for certain, Beth Packer and Clinton Hough, aka Ma Polaine’s Great Decline, are a duo to watch and their atmospheric new album is a killer.


The title of Andy Irvine’s new CD Pre-


cious Heroes with Luke Plumb fits him more than most. Remarkably prolific and with his unmistakeable veteran skills seem- ingly untouched by the passage of time, if the folk scene is another country then Irvine is a national treasure.


Approximately 50 years behind Andy, Greek/French singer Dafné Kritharas is just starting out with her special mixture of Greek and Judeo-Spanish songs and a superb band of musicians. Her debut album Djoyas De Mar has ‘artist to watch’ figura- tively written all over it.


Out of the massed ranks of the Demon Barbers (and long ago a Witch Of Elswick alongside Fay Hield), Bryony Griffith has popped up with a second solo album, this time a collection of English fiddle tunes – just her violin and a bit of help from Ian Stephenson on guitar and (this track) bass.


If you saw them at Womad 2015 or on other sadly rare UK dates, you won’t need us to tell you that Swiss-based, internation- ally populated conglomerate Orchestre


Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp are one of the most exciting (and downright fun) live bands out there. Great on CD too.


Bird In The Belly (it says here) “is a col- lective made up of solo artist Jinnwoo, folk duo Hickory Signals, visual artist Epha Roe, and instrumentalist Tom Pryor.” They’ve been doing their folk homework and have weaved it into a thoroughly intriguing debut CD. More to watch…


What else is there to say about Norma


Waterson, Eliza Carthy & The Gift Band other than that we’re all thrilled they got to make a second album – produced by Neill MacColl & Kate St. John – and that it’s every bit as wonderful as you might dare expect. More OBEs all round!


Award-winning Canadian quartet The


Fretless – three fiddles and a cello – have been turning heads (and ears) on their UK visits. Their superb new album focuses on traditional Irish tunes and – this might sur- prise you to know –was recorded live and direct in front of an audience.


Last issue, Chris Nickson described Finnish fiddle-singer Päivi Hirvonen’s debut CD as “a real gem – beautiful; some- times gliding, sometimes raw and roaring, mostly her own compositions, with breath- taking, utterly committed performances, assured yet intensely emotional.” Yup!


Long London-resident Eugenia


Georgieva – best known from her work with Perunika Trio – is totally immersed in the traditional music of her native Bulgaria, but not afraid to innovate. Her solo debut has strong echoes of those classic Balkanton recordings which first drew us all in.


Norwich-based trio Alden, Patterson & Dashwood’s debut CD was fRoots Edi-


tor’s Choice of 2016, since when they gone on to strut their charming stuff nationally: catch them at a lot of festivals this summer. Their second release is a most successful ‘onwards and upwards’.


Sousou & Maher Cissoko combine the talents of a Senegalese kora player with an illustrious pedigree – he’s related to Sekou Keita – with those of his partner, a skilful Swedish singer/guitarist. Their biog lists touring from the USA to Bali: it’s about time somebody brought them here!


It’s a completely baffling thing how one


of Britain’s best interpreters of traditional songs, Alasdair Roberts, hasn’t been more adopted by the UK folk scene. His typically great new CD has Amble Skuse on elec- tronics and multi-instrumentalist David McGuinness on piano on this track.


Will Pound is perhaps better known as a harmonica player, but on his new album project Through The Seasons: A Year In Morris And Folk Dance, his melodeon play- ing is showcased as he explores the UK’s folk dance traditions alongside – on this track – Benji Kirkpatrick and fiddler Ross Grant.


Now completely established as a solo performer after his time in the Carolina Chocolate Drops, “The American Songster” Dom Flemons triumphs with his first album for venerable Smithsonian Folkways, an engaging and detailed project exploring the music of “black cowboys”.


And Tal National. As our review said,


“Whiplash sharp, distorted electric guitars riffing like their lives depend on it, bounc- ing bass, layers of ferociously hit percus- sion, propulsive keyboards and manic shouty singing. It takes you by an arm and swings you around its head.” Quite!


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