Big Country – Driving To Damascus (1999)

frontcover1Driving to Damascus is the eighth studio album by Scottish rock band Big Country. It was released in 1999 as both a standard edition and a limited edition digipack, and with bonus tracks in 2002. In the U.S. it was released under a different name, John Wayne’s Dream. The limited edition version featured different cover artwork, and included two tracks by Stuart Adamson’s alt-country side project, The Raphaels (“Shattered Cross” and “Too Many Ghosts”, subsequently released on the 2001 album “Supernatural”), although there was no indication in the credits that these were not by Big Country. Driving to Damascus marks the band’s last studio album to feature vocalist Stuart Adamson (who would die in 2001) and bassist Tony Butler (who retired from the band in 2012), and the last studio album until The Journey was released in 2013 with The Alarm vocalist Mike Peters taking over for Adamson and Simple Minds bassists Derek Forbes replacing Butler. (by wikipedia)

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Frontcover of the US version of this album called “John Wayne´s Dream”

Big Country’s 1995 album, Why the Long Face, was a very tough act to follow. But they succeeded brilliantly with their first full-length studio album, Driving to Damascus. This is one of their finest moments, full of trademark Big Country sounds (the guitar, the heavy beat, and Adamson’s fantastic vocals). What sets this CD apart from their other releases is the strong use of melody tied together with heartbreaking stories and well-constructed arrangements. Listening to the harmony vocals melt with the guitars in “Fragile Thing,” it’s difficult not to be moved. Adamson has never sounded better, and the band is tighter than ever before. Hearing this album, it is hard to believe that the band was celebrating their 20-year anniversary and still sounding so fresh and excited. This is a group who have not mellowed out, but are able to structure melodic, driving songs. There are a couple of interesting points with this album. First, Ray Davies (of the Kinks) co-wrote two songs with Adamson (the brilliant “Somebody Else,” and the wonderful “Devil in the Eye”). To hear these, one would never guess that there was any involvement from Davies. The songs fit for Big Country, but would be out of place on a Davies’ or Kinks’ album. Also, the CD appears on the Track Records label (famous for Hendrix and the Who, to name two). It seems fitting that Big Country is signed to the resurrected label — it just fits. It is the mixture of old and new that helps Big Country form their own distinct (and brilliant) sound. This album is highly recommended. (by Aaron Badgley)

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Personnel:
Stuart Adamson (guitar, vocals, mandolin, slide-guitar, synthesizer)
Mark Brzezicki (drums, vocals)
Tony Butler (bass, vocals, vibraphone)
Bruce Watson (guitar, mandolin, sitar, slide-guitar)
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Josh Phillips (keyboards)
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background vocals:
Eddi Reader – Kirsten Adamson – Rafe McKenna

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Tracklist:
01. Driving To Damascus  (Adamson/Brzezicki/Watson) 3.58
02. Dive In To Me (Adamson/Brzezicki/Butler/Watson) 5.02
03. See You (Adamson) 3.50
04. Perfect World (Adamson/Brzezicki/Butler/Watson) 4.02
05. Somebody Else (Adamson/Davies) 4.04
06. Fragile Thing (Adamson/Watson) 4.33
07. The President Slipped And Fell (Adamson/Brzezicki/Butler/Watson) 2.57
08. Devil In The Eye (Adamson/Davies) 4.15
09. Trouble The Waters (Adamson/Brzezicki/Watson) 4.10
10. Bella (Adamson) 3.34
11. Your Spirit To Me (Adamson) 5.13
12. Grace (Adamson/Brzezicki/Butler/Watson) 5.10
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The John Wayne’s Dream extra tracks:
13. Loserville (Adamson/Brzezicki/Butler) 5.18
14. This Blood’s For You (Adamson) 3.43
15. I Get Hurt (Adamson) 4.30
16. John Wayne’s Dream (Adamson/Brzezicki/Butler) 4.58

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Giora Feidman – Viva El Klezmer (1991)

frontcover1Giora Feidman (Hebrew: גיורא פיידמן; born March 26, 1936) is an Argentine-born Israeli clarinetist who specializes in klezmer music.

Giora Feidman was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where his Bessarabian Jewish parents immigrated to escape persecution. Feidman comes from a family of klezmer musicians. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather made music for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and holiday celebrations in the shtetls of Eastern Europe. Feidman married Ora Bat-Chaim, his personal manager, in 1975.

Feidman began his career in Buenos Aires as a member of the Teatro Colón Symphony Orchestra. Two years later he immigrated to Israel to become the youngest clarinetist ever to play with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a member of the orchestra for over 20 years.[2] In the early 1970s he began his solo career. He has performed with the Berliner Symphoniker, the Kronos Quartet, the Polish Chamber Philarmonic, the Munich Chamber Philarmonic Orchestra, and the Munich Radio Orchestra. In 1974 the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned composer Misha Segal to write a concerto for clarinet and orchestra for Giora Feidman. The one movement piece, which was based on an original Nigun, premiered that same year.

giorafeidman01Giora Feidman in 2006

Movie director Steven Spielberg invited him to play the clarinet solos for the soundtrack of Schindler’s List, which won seven Academy Awards.

Feidman founded the “Clarinet and Klezmer in the Galilee” seminar and master class program, which takes place every year in Safed, Israel.(by wikipedia)

And this is another album in the long career of Giora Feidman … listen, discover and enjoy the magic of Klezmer music … a real treasure !

This is the German edition … so, the booklet is written in German.

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Alternate frontcovers

Personnel:
Giora Feidman (clarinet)
Ami Frenkel (bass)
Shmuel Hershko (tuba)
Ofer Shalhin (drums, percussion)
Oscar Sher (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. To My Friend Michale (Liberman) 2.59
02. Let’s Dance: Ancient Melody / Sherele (Ne’eman/Traditional) 2.53
03. The Sounds Of Safed (O. Sher) 2.58
04. Silk Night Gown (Traditional) 2.06
05. Rozhinkes mit Mandeln (Goldfaden) 2.49
06. Bublitschki (Traditional) 2.36
07. Vehaeir Eineinu (Karlibach) 3.36
08. The Old Klezmer Band (Traditional) 2.49
09. Let’s Sing (Traditional) 2:39
10. To Giora – The Klezmer (O. Sher) 2.31
11. Desert Dawn (Katz) 4.21
12. Come In Peace (Katz) 2.44
13. Bouncing (Niturim) (O. Sher) 1.55
14. The New Freilach (Alstein) 2.30

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Dana Gillespie – Methods Of Release (1993)

frontcover1Dana Gillespie (born Richenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie, 30 March 1949) is an English actress, singer and songwriter.[3] Originally performing and recording in her teens, over the years Gillespie has been involved in the recording of over 45 albums, and appeared in stage productions (Jesus Christ Superstar) and several films. Her musical output has progressed from teen pop and folk in the early part of her career, to rock in the 1970s and, more latterly, the blues.

Gillespie was born in Woking, Surrey. She was the British Junior Water Skiing Champion for four years, in 1962.

She recorded initially in the folk genre in the mid-1960s. Some of her recordings as a teenager fell into the teen pop category, such as her 1965 single “Thank You Boy”, written by John Carter and Ken Lewis and produced by Jimmy Page. Her acting career got under way shortly afterwards, and it overshadowed her musical career in the late 1960s and 1970s. After performing backing vocals on the track “It Ain’t Easy” from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, she recorded an album produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson in 1973, Weren’t Born a Man. Subsequent recordings have been in the blues genre, appearing with the London Blues Band. She is also notable for being the original Mary Magdalene in the first London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar, which opened at the Palace Theatre in 1972. She also appeared on the Original London Cast album. During the 1980s Gillespie was a member of the Austrian Mojo Blues Band.
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She is a follower of the Indian spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba. She performed at his Indian ashram on various occasions, and has also recorded thirteen bhajan-based albums in Sanskrit.

Gillespie is the organiser of the annual Blues festival at Basil’s Bar on Mustique in the Caribbean, for fifteen days at the end of January and it is now in its eighteenth year.[1] The house band is the London Blues Band, which consists of Dino Baptiste (piano), Jake Zaitz (guitar), Mike Paice (saxophone), Jeff Walker (bass), and Evan Jenkins (drums) but there are also many other acts. In 2005, Mick Jagger appeared as a guest and sang songs such as: “Honky Tonk Women”, “Dust My Broom” and “Goin’ Down” but also many other Blues artists have appeared there through the years, such as Big Joe Louis, Joe Louis Walker, Billy Branch, Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Wood, Donald Fagen, Rolf Harris, Ian Siegal, Larry Garner, Eugene Bridges, Big Jay McNeeley, Earl Green, and Zach Prather. (by wikipedia)

And here is the other side of Dana Gillespie … not a blues, but a rock album … And maybe all the blues fans of her may be disappointed … but … it´s time to give this album a chance, because it´s a real good and intensive album !

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Personel:
Mel Collins (saxophone)
Tim Cross (keyboards)
Pandit Dinesh (percussion)
Gordon Gaynor (guitar)
Mel Gaynor (drums)
Dana Gillespie (vocals)
Rolf Harris (digeridoo)
Charlie Hart (fiddle)
Nick Hoghart (keyboards, strings, drums)
David Malin (drums)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
Bill Sharpe (piano)
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background vocals:
Rolf Harris – Durga McBroom – Laura Pallas – Andy Kaine – David Malin

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Tracklist:
01. The Politics Of Ecstasy (Malin) 4.25
02. Overseas Male (Gillespie) 3.28
03. Oh What A Night (Gillespie) 3.31
04. Your Love Is In Me (Gillespie) 4.37
05. Method Of Release (Gillespie/Malin) 4.09
06. Love Is A Strange Thing (Gillespie) 3.51
07. Sun Arise (Harris) 4.00
08. Let’s Get Wet (Gillespie/Abu) 3.36
09. Divine Romance (Gillespie) 3.37
10. Still Around (Gillespie/Malin) 3.55
11. Circle Is Complete (Malin) 4.54

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Hubert Sumlin – Hubert’s American Blues! (1969)

frontcover1Hubert Charles Sumlin (November 16, 1931 – December 4, 2011) was a Chicago blues guitarist and singer, best known for his “wrenched, shattering bursts of notes, sudden cliff-hanger silences and daring rhythmic suspensions” as a member of Howlin’ Wolf’s band. He was ranked number 43 in Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. (by wikipedia)

Quiet and extremely unassuming off the bandstand, Hubert Sumlin played a style of guitar incendiary enough to stand tall beside the immortal Howlin’ Wolf. The Wolf was Sumlin’s imposing mentor for more than two decades, and it proved a mutually beneficial relationship; Sumlin’s twisting, darting, unpredictable lead guitar constantly energized the Wolf’s 1960s Chess sides, even when the songs themselves (check out “Do the Do” or “Mama’s Baby” for conclusive proof) were less than stellar.
Sumlin started out twanging the proverbial broom wire nailed to the wall before he got his mitts on a real guitar. He grew up near West Memphis, AR, briefly hooking up with another young lion with a rosy future, harpist James Cotton, before receiving a summons from the mighty Wolf to join him in Chicago in 1954.

hubertsumlin01aSumlin learned his craft nightly on the bandstand behind Wolf, his confidence growing as he graduated from rhythm guitar duties to lead. By the dawn of the ’60s, Sumlin’s slashing axe was a prominent component on the great majority of Wolf’s waxings, including “Wang Dang Doodle,” “Shake for Me,” “Hidden Charms” (boasting perhaps Sumlin’s greatest recorded solo), “Three Hundred Pounds of Joy,” and “Killing Floor.”
Although they had a somewhat tempestuous relationship, Sumlin remained loyal to Wolf until the big man’s 1976 death. But there were a handful of solo sessions for Sumlin before that, beginning with a most unusual 1964 date in East Berlin that was produced by Horst Lippmann during a European tour under the auspices of the American Folk Blues Festival (the behind-the-Iron Curtain session also featured pianist Sunnyland Slim and bassist Willie Dixon).
Only in the last few years has Sumlin allowed his vocal talents to shine. He’s recorded solo sets for Black Top and Blind Pig that show him to be an understated but effective singer — and his guitar continues to communicate most forcefully.
This is the 1st solo lp from Hubert recorded in 1964 and released on the Scout label in Germany in 1969. Backing him are Willie Dixon, Clifton James and Sunnyland Slim.
This is perhaps one of the worst covers I’ve seen for a blues lp and the rest of the Scout releases aren’t much better if you ask me. (by coblues.com)

Scout Records has been Horst Lippmann’s and Fritz Rau’s label preceeding L + R Records, you know, the guys who brought the American Folk & Blues Festivals to Europe …

Recorded November 1, 1964 at Amiga-Studios in East-Berlin/GDR

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Hubert Sumlin (left) and Howlin´ Wolf at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, England (1964)

Personnel:
Willie Dixon (bass, vocals)
Clifton James (drums)
Sunnyland Slim (piano, vocals)
Hubert Sumlin (guitar, vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. My Babe (Dixon) 3.06
02. Hubert’s Blues (Sumlin) 3.46
03. We Gonna Jump (Luandrew) 3.50
04. Too Late For Me To Pray (Luandrew) 3.45
05. I Love (Sumlin) 3.06
06. It’s You My Baby (Luandrew) 2.29
07. Love You,Woman (Sumlin) 3.08
08. Every Time I Get To Drinking (Luandrew) 3.02
09. When I Feel Better (Sumlin) 3.42
10. Blues Any Time (Dixon) 5.15

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Alternate front+backcover from a re-release in 1980

Vangelis – El Greco (A Tribute To El Greco) (1995 – 1998)

frontcover1El Greco is a 1998 classical album by Greek electronic composer and artist Vangelis (born March 29, 1943). The title is a reference to the man who inspired the composition, Dominikos Theotokópoulos (known as El Greco, “The Greek”; 1541–1614), the painter and sculptor of the Spanish Renaissance. It consists of ten long movements performed on electronic instruments.

This album is an expansion of an earlier album by Vangelis, Foros Timis Ston Greco. That album had been released in 1995, in a limited edition. For this general release, the track order was rearranged, three new tracks were added, and the album title was changed.

Vangelis composed and arranged the album, and performed all the instruments, accompanied by a choir conducted by Ivan Cassar. The music is in a Byzantine style yet sounding contemporary due to his use of synthesizers. Soprano Montserrat Caballé and tenor Konstantinos Paliatsaras make guest appearances on one movement each.

The album reached #66 in France and #74 in Germany. At the Billboard New Age Albums chart peaked at #9 position.

The image on the album is “The Knight with His Hand on His Breast” by El Greco.

(Not to be confused with El Greco Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, a 2007 album also by Vangelis)

This 1998 album expands the original ‘Tribute To El Greco’ (released semi-privately in Athens in 1995) to a full-length CD by adding three tracks (Movements III, V and VII) to the original ones, which have not been tampered with for this international release, only reordered slightly. The lavishly packaged 1995 release was limited to 3000 signed copies and officially obtainable only through the National Gallery museum in Athens which used the money thus generated to help acquire an El Greco painting (called ‘Saint Peter’) for its collection, although various copies have been bought by determined fans through different channels. I’ve always found the reasoning behind this restricted release a bit suspect – if you really want to generate a sizeable sum of money then why not create a great album and make it an international (or certainly internationally obtainable) release, perhaps upping the price a bit to account for its charity purpose. Anyway, a great album it was so this re-release has been much welcomed by fans unable to get hold of the original. The project shows Vangelis at his most inspired by the almost exclusively religious paintings from Domenikos Theotokopoulos (to give El Greco his full name) and his general artistic outlook. This becomes apparent from a rare personal note by Vangelis in the booklet, which is basically the mystic statement that, in order to be a truly creative artist, one must be true to one’s own nature and thus to Cosmic nature in general, as they are identical. The music’s flavour is very Byzantine, using Greek orthodox harmonies, church-bells, choir-sounds and more. It’s got a faint religious touch and is both austere and rich at the same time – austere because of the generally sparse orchestration, rich because of its deeply felt emotions. One of Vangelis’ main musical strengths, which is the use of rubato (the slight quickening up or slowing down of the tempo of the music to create those subtle effects), is very much in evidence throughout. Two singers from the classical world also make a contribution – a great aria by Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballe accompanied on piano and on another track tenor Konstantinos Paliatsaras. The album’s promotion (what little there has been) occurred mainly through classical channels and although it’s hard to think of a classical composer creating music equivalent in nature to ‘El Greco’ still anyone who likes classical music (for instance Wagner – similar use of rubato, or perhaps Eastern European religious music) will in all probability like this music as well. (by .vangelismovements.com)

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Doménikos Theotokópoulos (Greek: Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος [ðoˈminikos θeotoˈkopulos]; 1541 – 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco (pronounced: [el ˈgɾeko]; Spanish for “The Greek”), was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. The nickname “El Greco” refers both to his Greek origin and Spanish citizenship. The artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος (Doménikos Theotokópoulos), often adding the word Κρής (Krēs, “Cretan”).

view-of-toledoView of Toledo (c. 1596–1600, oil on canvas, 47.75 × 42.75 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) is one of the two surviving landscapes of Toledo painted by El Greco.

El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and the center of Post-Byzantine art. He trained and became a master within that tradition before traveling at age 26 to Venice, as other Greek artists had done. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577, he moved to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo, El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best-known paintings.

El Greco’s dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western painting (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Vangelis (synthesizer)
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Montserrat Caballé (soprano)
Konstantinos Paliatsaras (tenor)
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Choir conducted by Ivan Cassar

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Tracklist:
01. Movement I (Movement I) 10.04
02. Movement II (Movement II) 5.18
03. Movement III (new) 6.48
04. Movement IV (Movement III) 6.21
05. Movement V (new) 4.30
06. Movement VI (Movement V) 7. 52
07. Movement VII (new) – 3:18
08. Movement VIII (Movement IV) 9.43
09. Movement IX (Movement VI) 12.00
10. Movement X (Epilogue) (Movement VII) 6.21

In parenthesis, correspondence to the track listing of Foros Timis Ston Greco.

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The Vision of Saint John
(El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (1541–1614)

Embryo with Charlie Mariano and the Karnataka College of Percussion – Life (1980)

lpfrontcover1Embryo is a musical collective from Munich which has been active since 1969, although its story started in the mid-1950s in Hof where Christian Burchard and Dieter Serfas met for the first time at the age of 10. It was one of the most important German jazz-rock bands during the 1970s and has also been described as “the most eclectic of the Krautrock bands.

As far as EMBRYO live albums go, each one that I’ve heard so far, seems to have their own individual direction and sound. The “BREMEN 1971” radio broadcast is typical Krautrock from their early period, then INVISIBLE DOCUMENTS seems to start the crossover from Krautrock, into freejazz, and worldmusic. With “LIFE” I think that Embryo really took their adventurous nature with world music to the extreme, for maybe the first time. Much of this CD sounds like it was recorded by Indian musicians, rather than some jazzfusion Germans. Although the famous Jazz sax player Charlie Mariano is sitting in on this set, you also have the “Karnataka College of Percussion” providing a thick bed of Indian percussion. Since EMBRYO, like MAGMA, is a band lead by a jazz drummer that went rock in the 1970s, this thick percussion sound works with the EMBRYO band concept. I would not buy this, expecting anything like the EMBRYO you might know from OPAL, or FATHER SON AND HOLY GHOST, or even APO-CALYPSO. Instead, this is the band, as explorers of world music, with Jazz icing on the cake. As far as the sound goes, it’s fantastic. The recording is clean and sharp, and the orchestrated plethoria of drums represents itself well. My only criticism of the CD, is that EMBRYO seems dominated and overwhelmed by the Karnataka College of Music’s percussion. Still, it’s enjoyable listen that sets the stage for their double live CD, LA BLAMA SPAROZZI, which documents their Indian-Middle Eastern touring from the end of the 70s and into the early 80s. I personally love Indian music, and enjoy the jazz sax solos, and vibraphone playing, mingled into it. I believe that Embryo’s more extreme, purist world musical experiments ended up influencing a lot more followers of this genre than they are given credit for. (by W.T.Hoffman)

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This record has a surprisingly low average rating, most probably because hardly anyone understands it. The Karnataka College of Percussion is an Indian school where you can be taught the Indian art of drumming. It is a highly sophisticated art, and it is all the more difficult to play live. Embryo prove that they have learned their lessons well, and Charlie Mariano was trained in Indian music too, so he definitely is an asset. It is, however, NOT an album of traditional Indian music, played by a jazz rock band plus extension, it is a collaboration and definitely a fusion of Western and Indian music. One of the tracks on the album even is in 6/8, a meter Indian musicians don’t play in at all. Since I am a drummer and can appreciate the complicated patterns played here I will give the album five stars.
(by baldfriede)

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Personnel:
Christian Burchard (vibraphone, marimba on 01., 02. + 04.)
Edgar Hofmann (saxophone on 01., 02. + 04.)
Friedo Josch (flute on 01., 02. + 04.)
Uwe Müllrich (bass on 01., 02. + 04.)
Michi Wehmeyer (harmonium on 01., 02. + 04.)
Jay Zier (guitar on 01., 02. + 04.)
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T.N. Ashok (vocals)
B.N. Chandramouli (kanjira)
V.R. Chandrasekhar (mridangam)
N.N. Dinesh (dholak)
M. Gururaja (jew´s harp)
Principle T.A.S. Mani (mridangam)
M.R. Mohankumar (drums)
M. Raghavendra (vocals)
R.A. Rajagopal (dholak)
T.N. Ramesh (ghatam)
T.N. Shashikumar (dholak)
S. Srishyla (mridangam)
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Charlie Mariano (saxophone on 01. + 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Cello Cello (Burchard/Mariano/Hofmann/Josch/Wehmeyer/Müllrich) 15.27
02. Telisirama (Burchard/Mariano/Hofmann/Josch/Wehmeyer/Müllrich) 7.16
03. Talatarangini (Traditional) 14.44
04. Marokkanische Seerauber (Moroccan Pirates) (Burchard/Mariano/Hofmann/Josch/Wehmeyer/Müllrich) 11.35

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Dholak

Kay McCarthy – Rianta (2003)

frontcover1Irish born, Italian by adoption, for over twenty years now, Kay McCarthy has been bringing Irish traditional music and culture to Italy. Well-known and highly considered here in Italy, she is appreciated and respected abroad too. Her style is unequivocally her own: unique, refined, communicative it defies all labels and fads and is quite alien to fashion and defies the dictates of the market. An able entertainer, Kay McCarthy draws inspiration from the cultural heritage of her native land which she ably and artistically moulds to give expression to her very own view of the world. Her approach to music and stagecraft is deceivingly simple and magical; in Italy she is seen as one of the most interesting Irish artists upon the international scene. Kay McCarthy

Her repertoire ranges from traditional melodies to songs and instrumental tunes written by herself and her Italian musicians. She began performing in Rome in the seventies when the city’s mythical Folkstudio hosted her on a regular basis and produced her first LP “Roisín Dubh” for the Fonit Cetra Record Company in 1978. Soon after that came her triumphal tour with the Chieftains in 1982 and a new LP “Stormy Lullaby” on RCA International label. The following years were devoted almost exclusively to live performances and to perfecting her performing and stage technique. In 1995 this long experience was channelled into her first CD “Arís” published by an independent Roman label, Helikonia. In 1996 followed “Níl Sé ‘na Lá” again on a Helikonia label. This second album, distributed with one of Italy’s foremost weeklies, Avvenimenti, was acclaimed by critics and the public alike, selling 80,000 copies in one week.

kay-mccarthy01The third CD entitled “Fadó, fadó…” saw the light in 1998 once more for Helikonia and contains finely chiselled interpretations of both traditional and original tunes. Here the exquisite musicianship of her fine Italian classical musicians blend perfectly with her enchanting voice communicating a kaleidoscope of sensations from simple sweetness and to stimulating foot-tapping enthusiasm to the listener.
The Irish artist is supported by a group of first-class Italian classical musicians perfectly capable of rendering both the pathos of the more melancholy songs and the contagious rhythm of the dance tunes.

In August 2000, Kay and the group were hosted by Lorient’s prestigious InterCeltic Festival, there winning the hearts and the applause of the international audiences who flocked to their concerts. For the occasion Helikonia issued a Limitied Edition CD called “Crosaire”. In November 2000 Helikonia released Kay’s new CD called “AM”, distributed by Storiedinote a splendid album containing mostly compositions by Kay and her musicians.
In January 2003, the prestigious Italian musical magazine World Music made a gift of a re-edition of “Stormy Lullaby” on CD to its readers.

Autumn 2003 marked the release of “Rìanta”, tracks, pathways, traces….. by Helikonia, containing thirteen original compositions by Kay and her musicians.

In Summer 2005 the CD “Kay McCarthy live in Rome, Villa Ada”, a limited edition, saw the light. November 2006, Kay and the group joined forces with Chieti’s Marrucino Theatre in writing, producing and staging “RIANTA”, a Musical directed by Kico Fusco. This opera-ballet opened the theatre’s 2006/7 Opera Season.

In 2010 Kay and the Ensemble  released on the Helikonia, Rome label,  a new CD/DVD “Quintessence” containing the best of their songs and tunes.

2013:  the issue of Kay’s first album sung in Italian: “L’AMORE TACE”  a joint Storie di Note- Helikonia publication. (officil biography, take from her website)

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And this her 5th album called “Rianta”:

Kay McCarthy’s new album is called Rianta. In Irish Gaelic this word is charged with connotations; the plural of Rian, it means tracks, traces, marks, signs, ciphers, pathways, routes, footsteps. . .

This record assumes particular significance within the 25-year-long career of this Dublin-born artist, Italian by adoption. Here Kay retraces her artistic footsteps, revealing the traces traditional Irish music has indelibly left in her soul, while clearly indicating the signposts leading to pathways as yet to be explored. . . Rianta, in fact!

Kay McCarthy is a musician of absolute value, a powerful communicator, as those of us who attend her band’s performances can easily testify, but she is also – and above all – an artist endowed with an immense creative talent. Rather than build upon the reassuringly tranquil bases of a traditional Irish musical repertoire (in which – obviously – Kay also excels) this record features almost exclusively new compositions. Its spirit remains strongly anchored in the Irish tradition, but it also shows that Kay wishes to reach beyond it. The Dublin-born singer has long assimilated the “signs” of the traditional culture of her native island, shaping them to meet her ends and vehicle her particular view of music and reality. (by Alfredo De Pietra)

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For a quarter of a century, Kay McCarthy, born in Dublin and bred in County Westmeath in central Ireland, has been hailed as the spokesperson, if not “ambassadress” of Irish music and culture to Italy, her elective homeland. Critics have long praised her skillful harp-playing and her enthralling interpretation of Irish ballads, rendered mostly in the Gaelic tongue. Lately, McCarthy has even taken to her new role as songwriter and as such has now released a new album, “Rianta”. For this full-length CD, the balladeer has written no less than 14 out of 16 pieces, again most of them in Irish. On “Rianta”, MacCarthy emphasizes her reputat987ion as an outstanding musician and singer, and if her presence on the album is only half as gripping as her widely-acclaimed live appearances, then her concerts must be practically out of this world. (Erik Margraf)

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Personnel:
Christiano Brunella (violin)
Guiliano Guerrini (piano, accordeon)
Kay McCarthy (vocals)
Luigi Pignatiello (guitar, vocals on 10.)
Piere Riccardi (bodhran)
Susanna Valloni (flute recorder, tin-whistle)
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Fabrizio Bono (violin on 05.)
Stefano Diotallevi (piano on 05. + 06.)
Kico Fusco (vocals on 16.)
Ugo Dorato (piano on 09. + 11)
Silvan0 Presciuttini (keyboards on 09. + 14.)
Annie Robert (vocals on 07.+ 16.)
Matteo de Rossi (guitar on 16.)
Carlo Stoppolini (vocals on 16.)

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Tracklist:
01. Dailriada (McCarthy/Presciuttini) 3.14
02. Do Chaledonia (McCarthy) 9.56
03. The Captain’s Wife (McCarthy/Pignattello) 3.21
04.Is Ail Liom E (McCarthy/Presciuttini) 2.28
05. Noralai (McCarthy/Pignattello) 6.03
06. Se’n Trua Gan Me (McCarthy/Diotallevi) 3.32
07.Ag Sugradh Leis Am Ngaoth,
08. Pleascain Glice (McCarthy/Stoppolini) 4.28
09. Do Chaledonia (McCarthy) 0.55
10. Should We Two Meet Again (McCarthy/Pignattello) 4.05
11. Mo Ghile Mear (Traditional) 4.25
12. Nothing At All (McCarthy/Presciuttini) 4.57
13. An Druimeann Donn Dilis (Traditional) 1.45
14. Oi Keltoi (McCarthy/Presciuttini) 4.50
15. Do Chaledonia (McCarthy) 0.55
16. Gentle Little Lady (McCarthy/Stoppolini) 4.02

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