I saw Lura onstage for the first time when she was touring in support of her second album M'bem di Flora. My concert-going companion and I agreed that Lura's live performance had a magic that her studio recordings, good though they were, lacked. To me it was the almost entirely acoustic sound of her ensemble that accounted for the warmth, along with the fact of having the barefoot, utterly entrancing Lura there in person. Eclipse, the Portuguese-born Cape Verdean singer's latest, comes closest to capturing the intimacy she radiates live as well as being her most accomplished and varied work to date...
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Friday, October 09, 2009
John Jones, the inimitable lead singer of the Oysterband, launches his first solo outing with the superb album Rising Road. Members of the Oysterband have, over their thirty plus year history, been given the latitude to pursue other projects: guitarist Alan Prosser has released albums under his own name, and longtime drummer Lee Partis recently left to pursue his therapeutic counseling work in prisons. Jones had apparently felt the itch to make his own personal statement, and on Rising Road he is joined by some of the young luminaries of the contemporary U.K. folk scene, including Seth Lakeman and Benji Kirkpatrick, as well as his old friend Alan Prosser and the multi-talented skills of producer and musician Al Scott...
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Jāņi is an ancient pagan summer solstice ritual that is observed into the present day in Latvia.So it's a no-brainer that Latvia's premiere folk-rockers Iļģi would put out an album of songs celebrating the rite. Their last few albums have been ritual-themed, using Christmas and marriage as jumping-off points for their explorations of ancient Latvian songs. They get a little crunchier on Īsākās Nakts Dziesmas than in the past, with grinding fiddles, wailing pipes, more assertive drumming, and thrashier guitars. This is not to say that they've lost the ethereal side that made earlier releases so appealing; they've just upped the ante a bit on many tracks...