HADDO – New album

HaddoBORDERLANDS

RELEASED: Monday, May 19, 2014

WILL AND NICKY POUND BRIDGE THE BORDER WITH VIBRANT ANGLO-SCOTS SECOND ALBUM

Hot on the heels of his 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Musician of the Year nomination and acclaimed solo debut album, harmonica wizard Will Pound is back.

But this time the winner of the 2013 FATEA Instrumentalist of the Year Award mostly forsakes the harmonica and instead lets rip on the melodeon, joining forces with his talented viola and fiddle playing wife Nicky for a vibrant second release from the duo Haddo (named after a Scottish estate). Continue reading HADDO – New album

DAN CLEWS – Tourist In My Own Backyard (Self Released)

dan clewsAs one-time Dexys member Andy Leek will tell you, being hailed as a future star by George Martin can come back to bite you. In 1988, Martin declared that Leek had three potential number 1’s in his songbook and agreed to produce his debut album. Despite receiving critical acclaim it sank without trace and it’s unlikely most people today will know his name. Enter Kent singer-songwriter Clews, declared by Martin to be “too great a talent to ignore” and signed to his publishing company. Hopefully, George’s prediction proves a little more accurate this time, because Clews certainly has something that makes you take notice. Continue reading DAN CLEWS – Tourist In My Own Backyard (Self Released)

RAINBOW CHASERS – Chimes At Midnight (Talking Elephant TECD255)

Chimes@MidnightRainbow Chasers are a band that promised much and delivered relatively little – sad but true. The band that Ashley Hutchings put together in 2004 made two studio albums, the second, Fortune Never Sleeps, being particularly good, and released a Best Of set, a move that might be considered a bit premature. They’re still going, albeit without Mark Hutchinson, but it seems like a struggle.

Chimes At Midnight is another compilation album although there are seven previously unreleased tracks including a cover of Pete Seeger’s ‘Big Muddy’. If you’re familiar only with Hutchings’ projects this might come as something of a surprise. Firstly, there are big string arrangements by Ruth Angell and Jo Hamilton, exemplified by ‘The River’s Tale’ and secondly there are glorious harmonies built around five voices. They are not homogeneous, however. ‘Looking For A Change’ is reminiscent of the While/Matthews Albion Band line-up; ‘Gypsy Jigg’ takes off into flights of fiddle fancy and ‘First Europeans’ is one of Ashley’s historical studies. Continue reading RAINBOW CHASERS – Chimes At Midnight (Talking Elephant TECD255)

Moulettes – Constellations (Navigator NAVIGATOR090)

Constellations

This third outing for the Moulettes is a perfect showcase for their pleasing pop/rock-folk fusion style. Full of intricately layered songs laced with intelligent lyrics, sumptuous melodies and catchy riffs. From the first to the last, this album grabs your attention and never lets up.

The opening song, ‘Glorious Years’ is glorious by name and glorious in nature. The swaying strings and joyful vocals lift your spirits. This is one for the sun shining and the windows open. This is followed by the title track ‘Constellations’. A percussive intro followed by a staccato delivery of the lyrics. Then the harmonies kick in and the fragmented feel becomes whole. The heavy synth of ‘Lady Vengeance’ and dramatic chorus edges into progressive-folk rock territory. This one features the legendary Arthur Brown. Continue reading Moulettes – Constellations (Navigator NAVIGATOR090)

THE GRAND SLAMBOVIANS – The Brasenose, Cropredy (6th May 2014)

Slam 1

They seem to have settled on The Grand Slambovians now so no more Gandalf Murphy, no more Slambovian Circus Of Dreams for now at least. A few things have changed but their gigs remain poised tantalisingly on the brink of chaos with set-lists attending in an advisory capacity and requests and changes of mind and mood creating almost terminal indecision. They busked bits of The Beatles and Pink Floyd just because they felt like it. There’s always big fun at a Slambovian night out.

JoziahSo what is new? Well, Joziah Longo sported a rather splendid straw top hat; ‘Very Happy Now’ is now in a medley with The Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ (there was supposed to be some Donovan in there but it passed me by) and Tink played theramin on ‘Flapjacks From The Sky’ – which is very difficult to do while wearing an accordion ready for the next bit of the song. The band were promoting a compilation album, A Box Of Everything, which is “all the greatest hits that most people have never heard” so the backbone of the show was Sharkey that selection starting with ‘The Grand Slambovians’ with Sharkey playing the traditional Slambovian bottle-neck mandolin followed by ‘Sunday In The Rain’ and ‘A Very Unusual Head’.

I say “promoting” but they subverted themselves by making greater efforts to sell the unofficial CD, Folk!, credited to The Slambovian Folk Society. Joziah was into an ongoing theme of how they made a lot of money in the States by posing as a folk band and how the only person to figure them out was Pete Seeger. Joziah’s stories start out as unlikely and move towards improbable but it would be ungracious to doubt any part of his long tale of a meeting with Peter Seeger which lead to them playing at Seeger’s memorial – held at the Town Crier folk club – as his introduction to ‘Suzanne’.

The Brasenose isn’t a large venue, Joziah described it as “like a hug” and compared it to playing in his dad’s basement as a teenager, in fact the basement was probably larger. Half the audience were die-hard fans, the rest curious walk-ups many of whom went home clutching CDs and probably swearing undying fealty. The Slambovians wrapped up with ‘Talking To The Buddah’ and ‘The Trans-Slambovian Bi-Polar Express’ and encored with ‘Invisible’ and ‘Alligators’. They played for over two hours to a fairly small audience but in their inimitable way they made a lot of new friends.

Dai Jeffries

‘A BOX OF EVERYTHING’ is The Slambovian Circus of Dreams’ first new release with the Sony RED distributed Red River Entertainment. 

Released April 1st, this is a compilation of ‘the greatest Slambovian hits you’ve never heard’ newly remastered, with three new studio cuts – the upbeat title track ‘A Box of EveryThing’, Syd Barrett-inspired ‘A Very Unusual Head’ and the anthemic ‘Alligators’ that justifies the Pink Floyd-esque descriptions of the band.

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website: http://slambovia.com/

Folking welcomes in the May 2014 at Butser Ancient Farm

To celebrate the May (or Beltane) this year, folking took ourselves down to Butser Ancient Farm which nestles into the rolling hills of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire, England.

Beltain (as the organisers spelt it – still trying to find out the differences between the two variations if anyone knows) is one of the most popular events in the Butser Ancient Farm diary. The gathering marks the start of summer by burning a 30ft-high Wicker Man at sunset. 

The ancient farm site (usually just contained to the ongoing constructions of Iron Age buildings, a Roman villa and the rare breeds animal pens), was skillfully extended for the festival to include craft, birds of prey and weaponry displays, hot food stalls and a central live music stage area.
ancient_music_musicians_2014.JPGThe artists performing were: Feckless, local singer-songwriter Aimee. The Pandemonium Drummers (who played at the opening of the Olympic Games) and the Ancient music musicians (shown in the photo on the right).

They had a great pint of BowmansSwift one” ale on tap and as the day rolled on, I could have done with a “take your time” one as they seemed to be going down far to easily…

It was time to make a wish and enter the raffle to light the wicker man. The 30 ft high Butser Man was fenced off until 6.00 pm. After six, each hand written, rolled up wish (fastened by string) could be placed within the wicker frame of the man or his boar.

By eight, unfortunately most the excellent food had run out, two pigs had been spit roasted, the paella stall had been decimated and all the veggie curry had been consumed. I had convinced myself that somewhere was selling mead, but alas… that was to be a figment of my imagination so I charged my glass with red wine in preparation to celebrated the changing of the season.

The lighting of the Wicker Man took an age as the chap picking out the raffle ticket winner was only audible to the people directly in front of him. However, a winner finally came forward and they were sent off up the field to light the feet to chants of “burn him” from the waiting crowd.

It felt that you were part of something ancient, wishing fertility on the land for a good harvest and prosperity in the coming season.

Was that a face that appeared above briefly within in the flames?

Or the passing of Winter as the flames from the darker nights escape?

Or perhaps it was just a burning Wicker Man, too many “swift ones” and too much Game of Thrones. To find out more about the excellent Butser Ancient Farm visit – http://www.butserancientfarm.co.uk/

folkmaster May 2014

Gjallarhorn SjofnThe Scandinavian band Gjallarhorn’s song Suvetar has always been my cinematic backdrop to welcoming in the May.

I love the light and dark imagery and themes of the piece. The daughters of the earth: Suvetar the corn golden goddess, Manutar on the surface pulling and pushing up the roots and the underground crone shaking herself from the dark winter months and turning over the peat and forcing the seeds from the dark depths of the earth.

New beginnings and ends to the circle of life that effects us daily, some too painful to talk about and other so joyous that they have to be shared. As different and as changeable as the seasons themselves.

Gjallarhorn’s music finds its roots in the Swedish folk music of Finland. The material (especially the album Sjofn)  features a layered style of mythical medieval ballads, whirling minuets, prayers in runo-metric chants and Icelandic rimur epics. There are some moments of sheer improvisation and others that are “composed” and influenced in the classic Indian style.

Suvetar, fine matron
Arise to see the seeds
Raise the matron´s corn
So that we may be spared pain

Manutar, matron of the earth
Lift up the shoots from the ground
New shoots from the stumps
So that we may be spared pain

Feed us with honey-hearts
Give us honey-drink
Delicious honey-grass
On a blossoming knoll

Suvetar, fine matron
Arise to see the seeds
Raise the matron´s corn
So that we may be spared pain

Manutar, matron of the earth
Lift up the shoots from the ground
New shoots from the stumps
So that we may be spared pain

Feed us with honey-hearts
Give us honey-drink
Delicious honey-grass
On a blossoming knoll

You have shining silver
You have glistening gold
You have shining silver
You have glistening gold

Suvetar, fine matron
Arise to see the seeds
Raise the matron´s corn
So that we may be spared pain

Manutar, matron of the earth
Lift up the shoots from the ground
New shoots from the stumps
So that we may be spared pain

Feed us with honey-hearts
Give us honey-drink
Delicious honey-grass
On a blossoming knoll

You have shining silver
You have glistening gold
You have shining silver
You have glistening gold

Rise up, O maiden black from the soil
Rise up, O maiden black from the soil

Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature´s daughters
Make the peat shoot forth
And the ground turn over

Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature´s daughters
Lift up a thousand seedlings
To reward my efforts

Suvetar, fine matron
Arise to see the seeds
Raise the matron´s corn
So that we may be spared pain

Manutar, matron of the earth
Lift up the shoots from the ground
New shoots from the stumps
So that we may be spared pain

Feed us with honey-hearts
Give us honey-drink
Delicious honey-grass
On a blossoming knoll

You have shining silver
You have glistening gold
You have shining silver
You have glistening gold

Rise up, O maiden black from the soil
Rise up, O maiden black from the soil

Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature´s daughters
Make the peat shoot forth
And the ground turn over

Underground crone
Most ancient of Nature´s daughters
Lift up a thousand seedlings
To reward my efforts

Twin fiddles or fiddle and viola add depth and variation and a wonderful slide-didge creates a shamanistic pulse that underpins many of the compositions. Jews Harp is also used to produce really interesting effects and Afro-Cuban, Indian and Middle-Eastern percussion heightens the dance as the drum beats out a trance-like rhythm.

Gjallarhorn are: Jenny Wilhelms (Vocals, fiddle), Christopher Ohman (Viola, mandola, vocals, Kalimba), Tommy Mansikka-Aho (Didgeridoo, slideridoo, jews harp, udu, djembe), David Lillkvist (Percussion, Kalimba).

If you never had the pleasure of getting your hands on the album then you can order it form the Amazon link below.

folkmaster – Welcoming in the May 2013

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.