Calum Graham – Thread Of Creation (2019)

FrontCover1An extraordinary guitar player:

Born in Fort St. John, British Columbia and currently residing in Victoria, Calum Graham has been building a name for himself across the globe for the last 12 years with his passionate solo acoustic guitar prowess and was named one of the World’s Top 30 Guitarists under 30 by Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

Calum plays the Acoustic, Baritone, and Harp Guitar in his live set and his original melodies embraces elements of folk, world, soul, blues and jazz – all built upon the foundation of the fingerstyle technique.

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Graham’s musical journey first took flight when he began playing the guitar at the age of 13. In the summer of 2010, Graham attended the Canadian Guitar Festival and entered the prestigious Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Competition. Impressed with his original compositions, the judges awarded Graham with a first place finish; a feat no other teenager has accomplished in the history of the festival. The clip of his winning performance has now generated over 1 million views on YouTube. Shortly afterwards, he was invited to play at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, and again 2 years later at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

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As Calum Graham’s name continued to grow in Alberta and across Canada for his guitar work and musicianship, Graham proved that his talent was not limited to his extraordinary ability to play the guitar. In 2011, Graham won the Canada’s Walk of Fame nationwide “A Song For Canada” contest based on his poetic acuteness. His winning poem was used in the song “I’m Here, (A Song For Canada)”. The song was performed by Chantal Kreviazuk and co-written by Graham, Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace) and Stephen Moccio (“I Believe”, 2010 Vancouver Olympics theme song/”Wrecking Ball” – Miley Cyrus)”.

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In the late winter of 2012, and with two albums already under his belt, Graham teamed up with iconic Fingerstyle Guitarist Don Ross. The result was an instrumental acoustic duet album titled, “12:34”. Recorded at famed ‘Metalworks Studios’ (Toronto, ON), and released through CandyRat Records, the album featured six originals by Graham, three by Ross, and a cover of the OutKast hit song, “Hey Ya!”.

Not long after the release of “12:34”, Graham saw a loyal following begin to grow and it wasn’t long before his unique sound started to find a wide and appreciative audience.

In November of 2013, Graham released a solo instrumental album titled “Phoenix Rising” (CandyRat Records). The title track has already generated over 4 million views on YouTube, with other songs also notching impressive numbers. The success of the album enabled Graham to expand his global fanbase and he soon began touring internationally, both on his own and with the likes of Don Ross and Andy McKee.

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With Graham bringing an innovative sound to the industry, it wasn’t long before Canada’s top booking agency, The Feldman Agency, also counted themselves a fan of Graham’s music. So much in fact, that in July 2014, they decided to partner Graham with renowned Canadian producer Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, Metric, The Tragically Hip) on his “Sessions X” series. The series was recorded at Toronto’s Five-Star “Noble Street Studios” and features Graham alongside a number of acclaimed musicians including; Tears For Fears, Feist, Three Days Grace, Metric, and Ron Sexsmith.

In September 2014, Graham teamed up with IMAX composer Steve Wood to write the musical score for ‘Humpbacks’, an underwater 3D adventure documentary for IMAX and other giant screen theatres. Narrated by acclaimed actor Ewan McGregor, the film is directed by Greg MacGillivray (“The Living Sea”, “Everest”), presented in association with Pacific Life and was released February 13, 2015 to IMAX theatres worldwide.

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In 2016, Graham released his fifth studio album ‘Tabula Rasa’ which was crowd funded by fans across the globe and produced by world renowned Acoustic Guitarist, Antoine Dufour. Adding an extra dimension to his compositions, the album introduces Graham’s soulful vocals to his audience for the first time. The album was released in March 2016 and features a combination of his exemplary instrumental guitar work punctuated throughout with elements of folk, blues, and pop in his vocal songs with guest performances by Antoine Dufour and Bass Guitar Extraordinaire, Michael Manring.

In 2019, Graham released his sixth studio album ‘Thread of Creation’ featuring instrumental compositions written for the Acoustic, Baritone and Harp Guitar also featuring guest performances by Antoine Dufour and Michael Manring. Each song on this album is very diverse yet very personal and shows a real maturity, depth, and development in Calum’s songwriting.

Calum continues to tour throughout Canada, the US, and Europe, and is currently in the studio recording his seventh studio album and planning to release the new works in the coming months. (taken from his website)

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And here´s his 6th solo-album:

Like all of us – including some great guitarists – Calum Graham boasts eight fingers and two thumbs on two hands. But it is his singular musical brain that governs it all. And when everything aligns cosmically the result is extraordinary. In fact it is quite magical, because when you put a guitar in his hands (he plays several kinds – acoustic, baritone and harp) the instrument sometimes becomes a chamber ensemble.

On Thread of Creation, his sixth album, Graham takes us right into the heart of his magical world that included the iconic Tabula Rasa. With Graham’s hands, the guitar reveals its huge vocabulary of sounds, which with minimalist electronic effects combine to make it sound as big as an ensemble. Graham brings his unique musical insight and musicianship to deploy all of the instrument’s capabilities effectively.

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From using harmonics and pizzicato to exotica such as “nut-side,” “nail-sizzle” and “bi-tone tapping,” to combining each with a battery of percussion. (Does his guitar have a drum-set attached, you would wonder.) Graham turns a simple one-to-five-minute song into a poetic miniature. His music is inspired, original and daring, and there are several examples of this on Thread of Creation – such as The Nomad and Ma Lumière – to name but two. Bassist Michael Manring makes In Lak’Ech truly atmospheric; Antoine Dufour does likewise on Absolution. Meanwhile Graham emerges as the pre-eminent artist-technician. (Raul da Gama)

In other words: A new guitar wizard !

Enjoy the magic of Calum Graham !

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Personnel:
Calum Graham (guitar)
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Antoine Dufour (guitar on 04.)
Michael Manring (bass on 01.

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Tracklist:
01. In Lak’Ech (Graham) 4.47
02. The Nomad (Harp Guitar Version) (Graham) 4.28
03. Grace (Graham) 5.04
04.Absolution (Graham) 1.43
05. Maelstrom (Graham) 3.46
06. Ma Lumière (Graham) 4.09
07. Song For Jordan (instrumental version) (Graham) 4.34
08. The Scientist (Buckland/Champion/Martin) 4.48
09. Yellow (Martin/Buckland/Berryman/Champion) 4.44
10. Farewell (Baritone version) (Graham) 4.32
11. +124 (Graham) 3.42

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“The most promising young guitarist I’ve seen. His command of the guitar is already really impressive!” (Andy McKee)

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“Calum’s entry resonated strongly among the judges. His poem celebrates the cultural mosaic that is Canada. He has captured the diversity of this country – something that we as a nation are renowned for and proud of.” (Stephan Moccio)

Live in 2022:
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The official website:
Website

Matt Simons – After The Landslide (2019)

FrontCover1Matt Simons (born February 20, 1987) is an American singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York City. Self-releasing his first EP Living Proof in 2012, he has since gone on to release two full-length albums globally, achieving chart success across Europe, South Africa, and the Americas.

Matt Simons was born and brought up in Palo Alto, Brooklyn . Hailing from a musical family, his grandparents were both opera singers in Los Angeles. Having played the saxophone from an early age, he got a degree in jazz saxophone performance at the Purchase College Conservatory, as well as learning to play on piano, switching to clarinet, guitar, and saxophone, eventually settling back on piano.

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He released his first EP Living Proof in 2010 and spent 2011 touring the United States and Europe, including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. He usually plays piano and keyboards while singing. He also plays the saxophone, included improvised solos on the track “Fall in Line” and in live performances of “I’m Already Over You”.

He released his debut album Pieces on 19 June 2012, “Gone” being his debut single. The 10-track album with 9 being his own compositions was produced by Nashville producer and sound engineer Stephen Goose by David.

Simons gained fame in the Netherlands after his rendition of “With You” taken from his album Pieces was picked as one of the theme songs on the Dutch soap television series Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden. The song reached No. 8 on the Dutch Single Top 100 chart and also peaked at No. 8 in the Dutch Top 40 chart. It was also picked as Mega Hit by the Dutch radio station 3FM in January 2013. As a result the album Pieces also appeared on the Dutch Albums Top 100 chart.

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His greatest commercial success came with “Catch & Release” title track from his similarly titled album Catch & Release, released in 2014. Originally it became a hit in the Netherlands and Spain as it appeared on the album, but the song saw even further success when it was remixed in 2015 by Dutch house duo producers Deepend, charting as “Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)” across Europe, reaching number 1 in Spain, Belgium, Germany and France, as well as reaching gold status Norway, Portugal, France, Canada, South Africa, and Austria, and platinum status in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

In 2018, he returned with the single “We Can Do Better”, released April 4, and announced more music and his third album to be released later in the year. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his third album:

After The Landslide’ is his biggest, most ambitious, most personal record yet. With nods to both Bon Iver, and Springsteen, it’s a record that approaches some of The Big Themes in our lives – love, loss, grief, and the power it takes to get through it all. Matt’s piano-rooted melodies ally themselves to lyrics that speak plainly, sometimes starkly, about important events in his life, and with these he crafts songs that make the personal ‘universal.’

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“I chose After The Landslide as the title track because for me, it encapsulates what the whole album is about more than any other. This record is about a quarter-life crisis. It’s about “blowing up your life,” starting over and all the cathartic yet terrifying things that go along with it. I wrote these songs at age 29 (in a much more settled place) but in order to do so, I had to dig deep into what I remember feeling in my early 20s. I didn’t have a lot of direction, I was just starting out in Brooklyn, fresh out of a big breakup and had no idea what I was doing with my life. As scary as that was it also came with a lot of freedom. I tried to capture those feelings and experiences on this album.” (Matt Simons; press release)

The New York singer-songwriter has seriously studied an instrument that is not necessarily popular in pop music: Matt Simons studied the saxophone at the Purchase Conservatory of Music. And Simons’ music sounds a bit like a sax solo, a bit uncool, a bit cheesy, but always very catchy.

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His hit “We Can Do Better” is prototypical for this, with trumpets in the chorus blowing up the good mood party. “After The Landslide”, Simons’ third album, is full of such radio-friendly and jittery pop songs, which are best listened to at sunset on the terrace with a good sip of wine.

Lyrically, it’s about the theme of all themes: love with all its ups and downs. So it’s the rather quiet songs like “It’s you” that come along with a slightly jazzy smooth feeling and laconic lines like “It takes two to fall in love. It only takes one to fuck it up” and show that Simons is actually a clever poseur.

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Another example is the touching “Amy’s Song”, which is about his co-author Amy Kuney and their lesbian relationship. Her partner’s parents are extremely religious, and the track deals with this difficult constellation with gospel-like vocals, which are forcefully repeated at the end in the lines “Does your god really give a damn?”.

But most of the other tracks are too reminiscent of the inevitable Ed Sheeran, a penetrating feel-good sound almost clings to the whole record. And so, on the whole, “After The Landslide” mainly delivers material for the merciless playlists of summer format radio, which already make you long for winter again. (Kerstin Kratochwill)

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Personnel:
Jason Blynn (guitar, vocals)
Serge Bredewold (bass)
Tyler Chester (organ)
Jonathan Dinklage (violin, viola)
Jopushua Epstein (whistle)
Peter Harper (bass, vocals)
Jamie Hartman (all instruments on 11.)
Christopher Gabriel (ukulele)
Gordon Groothedde (strings, keyboars, percussion)
Amy Kuney (vocals)
Daniel Nigro (guiar, bass, piano, drums, programming, background vocals)
Yves Rothman (percussion, drum programming, synthesizer)
Erick Serna (guitar)
Matt Simons (vocals, piano)
Garrison Starr (vocals)
Adele Stein (cello)
Mark Stepro (drums)
Mike Tuccilo (bass)
Betty Who (vocals)
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background vocals:
Kate Brady – Chelsea Lankes
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horn section

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Tracklist:
01. Made It Out Alright (Simons/Nigro/Dabbs) 3.03
02. Open Up (Simons/Warren/Harris/Romer) 2.49
03. Summer With You (Simons/Groothedde) 3.52
04. It’s You (Simons) 4.29
05. Not Falling Apart (Simons/Nigro) 4.06
06. Amy’s Song (Simons/Kuney/Rahmani) 3.35
07. Last To Know (Simons/Karlsson) 3.45
08. We Can Do Better (Simons/Warren/Harris/Romer) 3.00
09. Dust (feat. Betty Who) (Simons/Nigro) 3.21
10. Champagne Tears (Simons/Fisher/J.Deb/L.Deb/Segerstad) 3.24
11. After The Landslide (Simons/Hartman/Holden) 2.49
12. If I Was Your Man (Simons/Harper/Blynn) 3.58

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The official website:
Website

Road Me – Strings Out Of Control (2019)

FrontCover1A real fine street musician from the next generation:

I am a singer, guitarist and songwriter. I have been involved in music since I was about 14 years old, in 12 years of active work in the music industry I have been in 4 bands. Nowadays I am most devoted to solo performing only with acoustic guitar and looper, busking and composing and producing music. Since the year I completed my university studies (2019, CTU, FEE, field of Biomedical Engineering, Prague, Czech Republic), I have been devoting myself to music full-time.

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You will meet me in clubs, at parties, at weddings and on the streets all over the world. When I’m not traveling, I live in Prague, Czech Republic. My repertoire consists of imaginative acoustic cover versions of world-famous hits interspersed with my own songs. In the summer of 2019, I released my debut album Strings Out Of Control. (press release)

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And here´s their debut album …

The debut CD Strings Out Of Control brings a mix of specially crafted well-known pieces of world popular music as well as original songs. The album emphasizes colorful, unusual mostly acoustic arrangements, various percussion and beat-box. (press release)

Indeed, a great mixture between own songs (with some great flute sounds !) and cover versions of bands and musicians like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Mark Ronson, Daft Punk, The Rembrandts … and …

… Paul Simon !

Enjoy this rarity !

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Personnel:
Petr Kocis (vocals, guitar)
Jakub Mejstřík (drums, percussion)
Stepanka Moudra (vocals, flute)
Tomáš Tóth (violin, bass)

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Tracklist:
01. I´ll Be There For You (Skloff/Crane/Kauffman/Willis/Wilde/Sōlem) 2.55
02. Lada fährt so schnell (Kocis/Moudra) 2.15
03. Under The Bridge (Kiedis/Flea/Frusciante/Smith) 3.52
04. Uptown Funk (Ronson/Mars/Lawrence/Bhasker) 3.46
05. Zazpívej jak Bůh (Kocis/Moudra) 4.36
06. Bienvenidos (Kocis/Moudra) 2.51
07. Mrs. Robinson (Simon) 3.29
08. Slečna ze Smečna (Kocis/Moudra) 3.24
09. Get Lucky (de Homem-Christo/Williams) 3.42
10. Write The Answer Back (Kocis/Moudra) 3.35
11. God Damn (Kocis/Moudra) 3.08
12. Kvido (Kocis/Moudra) 4.38
13. Good Night My Baby (Kocis/Moudra) 4.26

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The official website:
Website

Osi And The Jupiter – Nordlige Rúnaskog (2019)

FrontCover1Osi and the Jupiter are a neo-folk band from Kent, Ohio, USA, consisting of multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Sean Kratz and celloist Kakaphonix. The band is named after Kratz’s two German Shepard dogs, Osiris and Jupiter. They formed in 2015 and have put out five releases including 2016’s Halls of the Wolf, 2020’s Appalachia and 2021’s Stave. They have released multiple records through German underground folk and metal label Eisenwald, including a collaboration album, Songs of Origin and Spirit, with other bands on the label.

Reviewers have described Osi and the Jupiter’s sound as “Paganistic folk with flourishes of orchestral splendour,” and “authentic, beautiful recordings that pay homage to traditional mysticism.” Kratz’ has said in interviews that just a couple of his musical influences are American singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, Italian progressive rock band Goblin and experimental Norwegian group Ulver. Thematically, Osi and the Jupiter records focus on “the spiritual journey of connecting to nature” and “folklore from around the world.”

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Earlier records from the duo were compared the Nordic-folk sounds of Wardruna and Heilung. However, after 2020’s Appalachia (named for the Appalachia region of the USA) they began to lean into more Anglo folk music traditions. “Appalachia, these hills, have a mythical and old calling to them,” said Kratz when asked about the album in an interview. In 2021, Osi and the Jupiter put out their fifth release – Stave. The album title was inspired by galdrastafir, or Icelandic magical staves. Reviewers called the album “reflective, sorrowful, sage and soothing” and “an emotive and intriguing listen. (wikipedia)

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And here´s their third album:

Hailing from the “wheat-and-rust landscape” of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, neofolk duo Osi and the Jupiter have accomplished a lot since starting in 2015. Comprised of mastermind Sean Kratz (Witchhelm, Burial Oath) and cellist Kakophonix, the group looks to the “worship of the old gods as a reflection of nature” for inspiration. Their first two LPs—2016’s Halls of the Wolf and 2017’s Uthuling Hyl—were highly immersive, tasteful, and profound sequences that earned comparisons to SUNN O))), Agalloch, Vàli, Warduna, and Ulver. Naturally, Nordlige Rúnaskog stays true to that aesthetic and solidifies how ambitious and capable the pair continues to be. That said, its overarching monotony and sameness sometimes deplete its power as a gorgeous, eloquent, and moving experience.
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Right away, the sublimely spectral easiness of Nordlige Rúnaskog reveals itself. Opener “Fjörgyn” glides in with the haunting sounds of nature aside ethereal tones and mournful cello chants. Deeper tones, scant drumming, and acoustic guitar arpeggios cascade beneath it as the cumulative earthly despair grows patiently, allowing the listener to feel fully immersed in its rustic regret. Halfway in, its pace picks up before dying back down; while it’s a relatively slow and simple composition, its strengths lie in its unfaltering focus on achieving a specific sensation by the end. The same can be said for later tracks of the same ilk, such as the more atmospheric and idyllic “Dødelig Fartoy,” the scaled-down acoustic and string lamentations of “Much Wisdom is Such Grief”, and the majorly classical “Nordlige Eik Tre.”

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Elsewhere, there’s more density and liveliness to be found. For instance, “Lœra∂r” is the sort of robust celebration you’d expect to accompany a ceremonial dance around a Maypole, with the occasional guttural verses adding a bit of ominous context about sacrifices and offerings. There are even more ritualistically demonic vocals on “Ettr Storman,” whose organic campfire essence is further permeated by booming cello and talharpa, not to mention cyclical percussion holding it all together. In contrast, “Grå Hest”—which came out earlier this year as a 7” with a beautiful B-side called “Autumn”—is more rhythmically engrossing, with multilayered singing and ghostly howls yielding arguably the most accessible and tightly constructed piece of them all. As Nordlige Rúnaskog wraps up, the penultimate “GaldrFöder” literally provides a prolonged rain dance prior to the lengthy finale, “The White Elk,” basically fusing the aforementioned elements into an all-encompassing hodgepodge. It’s a bit too uneventful for its duration, but there’s enough here to entrance you.

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On that note—and perhaps by default—many of the compositions outstay their welcome before they’re done. That’s not to say that any of them are bad (far from it), but rather that their spirits are often fully realized early on, so you’re essentially left knowing all that they have to offer by the midway point. In other words, there’s rarely enough happening to justify how long it takes to finish each journey, and as you could guess, it’s even hard to tell the tracks apart sometimes (despite repeated attempts). A few have their own identities, but others are too indistinguishable (to the point that it’s been difficult to pick them apart in this review).

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Even so, Osi and the Jupiter have something special at their core, and Nordlige Rúnaskog is likely the best example yet of that. Those looking for deep dives into Paganistic folk with flourishes of orchestral splendor will no doubt find it here; it’s just that those same listeners will also grow weary of almost every sonic ritual before it’s completed. Hopefully, the duo will be able to build off of what they have here and incorporate more textual and structural change-ups next time around so that each entry on that fourth LP will be sufficiently engaging, striving, and personal. (Jordan Blum)

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Personnel:
Christopher “Kakophonix” Brown (cello)
Sean Kratz (all other insruments)

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Tracklist:
01. Fjörgyn 5.556
02. Lœra∂r 4.38
03. Dødelig Fartoy 4.04
04. Much Wisdom Is Such Grief 3.36
05. Ettr Storman 4.20
06. Nordlige Eik Tre 8.28
07. Grå Hest 3.10
08. Det Hører Til Skogen 3.01
09. Galdrafö∂r 6.04
10. The White Elk 10.25
11. Fylgja I (Blood Of Yew) 4.55
12. Ymir 5.40
13. Fylgja II (To Tread The Path Of Fire) 5.24

Music composed by Christopher Brown & Sean Kratz

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The official website:
Website

Bruno Sanfilippo – Pianette (2019)

FrontCover1Bruno Sanfilippo is an Argentinian pianist, musician and composer.

Bruno Sanfilippo (born September 13, 1965) is a musician, pianist and contemporary classical music composer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. He currently resides in Barcelona, Spain. His sound has been described as an exploration of minimalist piano concepts and electroacoustic music. In 2015, he became one of the main exponents of the LIFEM 2015 festival, specializing in minimalist music.

The artist began playing the piano at a young age, starting with the Pleyel et Cie piano from his parents’ home[3] in Buenos Aires. Although Sanfilippo draws inspiration from various genres, in his early years, he was influenced by classical composers such as Satie, Debussy and Ravel. In 1988, Sanfilippo graduated from the Galvani Conservatory in Buenos Aires with a degree in Musical Composition.

In 2000, the artist left his native Argentina and began his life, and a new chapter of his career, in Barcelona, Spain.

In 1998, Sanfilippo started Ad21 music, a personal platform/label responsible for some of his albums except, The Poet, which was signed with 1631 Recordings and Decca Publishing in 2016, and Unity through the Russian label Dronarivm in 2018.

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Sanfilippo has participated in concerts and music festivals in both the national and international music scene. This includes performances at the Insolit Music Forum in Barcelona in 2007, the Stalker festival in Tallinn in 2012, the Antara Festival in London in 2013[6] and the LIFM festival in London in 2015.

The LIFEM 2015, or the London International Festival of Exploratory Music, was an opportunity for Sanfilippo to participate in the Minimalism Unwrapped series with fellow composers, Wim Mertens, Sylvain Chauveau and Greg Haines.

He has been lauded as an “exceptionally refined sound-sculptor” and his work has been compared to Max Richter, Arvo Pärt, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Harold Budd, and many more in the area of contemporary classical.

A sample of Sanfilippo’s “Ambessence Piano & Drones 1” was used in Canadian rapper Drake’s 2013 song “Started From The Bottom”.

Bruno Sanfilippo’s piano-based music continues to oscillate around melodic or atmospheric moods and with his new album released on New Years Day called ‘Pianette’, he returns back to the more melodic side of his compositions. (wikipedia)

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‘Pianette’, as an album, is the most structured and melodic of Bruno’s work for some time. There is a music box and ballet-like quality to the majority of the tracks and that’s clear from the opening title track. This is because the album itself is inspired in part by mechanical toys. It sets the tone of lush but dampened melodies, quietly beavering away under the surface. It also sets the pattern for the chords and notes being used as often at points during each track the music veers into a slight dissonance of chord change that makes you feel like something is beautiful – but not quite right. It’s a gentle curious mark that draws you into so many of the pieces such as ‘Paloma’ which revels in that state.

As the album moves forward we also start to dive inside the piano with its intimate microphone set up. ‘DOLL’ feels percussive with its stops, hammers and dampeners alluding to that mechanical toy feel. ‘Marionette’ sounds like there is a guitar playing too but its all in the pianos internals. It’s not quite like a prepared piano, but the softness of the sound really helps craft the tracks where this type of audio production is used.

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The album refuses to build up or slow down too much – it has an intensity to it that reminds me of old Europe and that comes home in the closing track ‘Goodness’ which is as close to a dramatic finale as the album gets.

Bruno Sanfilippo has made my favourite work of his with ‘Pianette’. It’s unashamedly new-classical in its composition, eerie with its tense production and melodic dissonance and oh so subtle in how it uses the piano to create mechanical life. The piano is easily one of the most expressive instruments on Earth, so playing these two ideas off against each other has created an inspired album of muted greatness. —higherplainmusic.com

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Personnel:
Bruno Sanfilippo (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Pianette 3.29
02. Doll 5.14
03. La Mariposa 2.48
04. Marionette 3.18
05. Paloma 3.57
06. Multicolor 2-52
07. Empty Circus 2.39
08. Tin Soldiers 3.32
09. Wooden Toys 3.52
10. Dreams Of An Elephant 3.01
11. ClarOscuro Solo Piano Version 4.43
12. Goodness 3.55

Composed by Bruno Sanfilippo

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His website:
website

Ally Venable – Texas Honey (2019)

FrontCover1Ally Marie Venable (born April 7, 1999) is an American blues rock guitar player, singer, and songwriter. She is the 2014, 2015 ETX Music awards female guitar player of the year, and she and her band were the ETX Music Awards 2015, 2016 blues band of the year.

Venable’s debut album, No Glass Shoes, with Connor Ray Music finished at number 16 in the RMR Electric Blues Charts for 2016. Venable is touted a must see act under 30-year olds by America’s Blue’s Scene. Her second album, Puppet Show, debuted at No. 7 in the Billboard Blues Albums Chart. The album Texas Honey was published in 2019.

She resides in Kilgore, Texas, United States. (by wikipedia)

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Once again, Ally Venable teams up with bassist Bobby Wallace and drummer Elijah Owings for a gritty and fierce third album, Texas Honey. At just 20 years old, Ally Venable, lead guitarist and vocalist, stuns listeners with her powerful voice and electrifying guitar solos. The trio are without a doubt a band that will continue to impress.

The album opens with “Nowhere To Hide”, a track with an addicting guitar melody and dynamic vocal line that instantly showcases Ally’s range. The following track, “Broken”, features a crunchy guitar sound and impressive solo. Despite the lyrics, the song is feisty and bold. It is really a fusion of the more high energy songs on the album with the more mellow ones like “Blind to Bad Love” and “One Sided Misunderstanding”. These songs reveal a more melancholy side to the band with their slower tempos and lower pitched drumlines.

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Until the very end, Texas Honey is full of surprises with “Love Struck Baby”, a retro-style track that makes you want to dance, and the final song on the album, “Careless Love” which is the perfect sing-along song for your next road trip.

With such variety, Texas Honey is an excellent demonstration of Ally Venable’s versatility and talent. Venable can take her music in so many different directions; it will be really exciting to see how her next release compares to this one. (by bluesrockreview.com)

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Personnel:
Ally Venable (guitar, vocals)
Elijah Owing (drums, background vocals on 04.)
Lewis Stephens (keyboards)
Bobby Wallace (bass, background vocals on 04.)
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Eric Gales (guitar, vocals on 05.)
Mike Zito (guitar, slide-guitar on 04., 07. + 11., background vocals on 04.)

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Tracklist:
01. Nowhere To Hide (Venable) 2.56
02. Broken (Venable) 3.34
03. Texas Honey (Venable) 2.28
04. Blind To Bad Love (Venable) 3.40
05. Come And Take It (Zito/Venable) 4.50
06. Love Struck Baby (Vaughan) 2.32
07. One Sided Misunderstanding (Venable) 3.59
08. White Flag (Venable) 2.49
09. Long Way Home (Venable) 3.16
10. Running After You (Venable) 3.55
11. Careless Love (Venable) 3.56

CD1

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Ximo Tebar – A-Free-Kan Jazz Dance Big Band (2019)

FrontCover1Ximo Tebar (March 30, 1963 in Valencia) is a Spanish jazz musician (guitar, composition).

Tebar started taking guitar lessons at the age of seven. His first music genre was flamenco. At the age of 15, he was attracted to Brazilian music. When he was 17, he decided to take up a career in the professional music and founded his own Jazz Group. He won with his group the international competition of the jazz festival Getxo in 1990. In 1989, he played as the representative of Spain in the big band of EBU.

Since then, Tebar made regularly international tours with his band or as a solo guitarist. Also, he performed with Lou Bennett in Europe in 1992. In 1995, he made a record contract with Warner Brothers. In 1997, he made a tour with Lou Donaldson, Lonnie Smith, Idris Muhammad and Billy Lewis Brooks. His album Goes Blue, which was published with his own label Omix, was praised as an excellent work by critics. In 2002, he appeared for the first time in the New York jazz club, Birdland. At the end of 2003, he moved to New York for working with Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra of Chico O’Farrill. he has produced also albums for Dave Schnitter and Ester Andujar. Besides, he has worked with Johnny Griffin, Benny Golson, Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Tete Montoliu, Anthony Jackson, Louie Bellson, Pedro Iturralde or Jan Akkerman.

Ximo-Tebar

With IVAM jazz ensemble, founded on the initiative of the Museum of Modern Art in Valencia, Tebar merged Erik Satie’s music with flamenco jazz. He has collaborated also with Joc Fora, Ricardo Belda, Lou Bennett (Now Hear My Meaning), Presuntos Implicados, Roque Martinez and David Pastor.

Tebar as a soloist and as a member of this group was awarded Muestra Nacional de Jazz by the ministry of Culture in 1989 and 1990. His group won the competition of Getxo in 1990. In 2001 and 2002, his band was awarded Premio Jazz Promusics as the best group. The album Homepage achieved this award again in 2001. In 2007, he was appreciated by the award for extraordinary performance in the field of jazz education of the International Association for Jazz Education. (by wikipedia)

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Curious and unusual instrumental composition with traditional African, classical and flamenco voices, instruments and dances led by jazz guitarist Ximo Tebar. Artistically, highlights the fusion of traditional African music and dance with the most modern jazz in a curious and unusual instrumental composition with voices, itraditional African instruments and dances, flamenco dance, classical and modern instruments; cello, percussion, guitar, bass and drums creating a curious combination of environments cello-kora (traditional African instrument), and the African voices playing original music or arrangements of renowned composers such as Wayne Shorter or Miriam Makeba. The collective improvisations between the instruments together with the percussionists and the dances, create a rhythmic, mysterious and magical spectacular environment. This project is a multicultural breakthrough in the fusion of World Music. (by bigbanddirectory.org)

Live

Personnel:
Andrés Belmonte (flute)
Mariano Díaz (piano)
Will Martz (keyboards)
Vinx, Kwamy Mensah (vocals)
Matthieu Saglio (cello)
Ximo Tébar (guitar)
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drums:
Héctor Gómez – Nathaniel Townsley – Vicente Climent – Donald Edwards
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percussion:
David Gadea – Mortalla Gueye – Dauda – Ibu – Aboo Zeze – Samuel – Harol Martínez
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bass:
Xavi Alaman – Nacho Mañó – Luis llario.
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saxophone:
José Luis Granell – Víctor Jiménez – Roque Martínez – Pepe Calatayud – Javi Forner – Lara Canet – Carmen Calatayud – Mari Cruz Lozano – Aure Company – Jaime Pérez
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trumpet:
David Pastor – Juan Luis Crespo – Ángel Girón – Lorenzo Atencia – Ferrán López – Voro López – Richar Aguado.
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trombone:
Ferrán Verdú – Israel Soriano – Frank Liza – Dimas Rubio – Salva Sánchez – Aron Beltrán

LineUp

Tracklist:
01. Peter Gunn (Mancini) 7.37
02. Caravan (Ellington) 7.37
03. Velours (live) (Anomalie) 4.08
04. Summertime (I.Gershwin/G.Gershwin) 7.22
05. Con Alma (Gillespie) 4.54
06. Always And Forever (Metheny) 5.28
07. Footprints (Shorter) 9.16
08. Pata Pata (Makeba) 6.01

XimoTebar01
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Martin Barre – MLB Celebrates 50 Years Of Jethro Tull (2019)

EPSON MFP imageAs the lead guitarist for Jethro Tull, Martin Barre has been joined at the hip to Ian Anderson since 1969, when he replaced Mick Abrahams in the group’s lineup. His playing has provided much of the energy that allows the band to soar on record and in concert amid the beauty of Anderson’s melodies and the complexity of his lyrics, and played no small part in helping the veteran band (some would say “dinosaur”) win the 1988 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Album for Crest of a Knave. Anderson himself has been quoted as saying, “Without Martin Barre, Jethro Tull could not exist.”

Barre’s solo work was confined to his home studio until he assembled a band to play some charity gigs in the early 1990s. Since then, he has recorded a pair of albums that allow him to stretch out in directions that Tull normally doesn’t permit, and to put his instrument into new sounds, genres, and musical contexts. (by Bruce Eder)

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Wot No flute? Well very little anyway.

What can I say about this, do we really need it, probably not, but news that he was releasing this certainly caught my interest and uncustomarily quite excited, momentarily anyway and touring this Celebration with additional members Clive Bunker and Dee Palmer in the band has certainly provided some long overdue publicity. Well the next question is is it any good?

SingleAlbum

Disc 1 Live at the Factory Underground (Studio?) is a band effort by that I mean Martin Barre, guitars, mandolin, mandola, flute and Hammond, Dan Crisp, vocals, guitar, Alan Thomson, previously with John Martyn on bass, Derby Todd, drums. Disc 2 are Studio tracks, tracks 1- 6 an Acoustic Set where his female backing singers Alex Hart and Becca Langford take centre stage on all tracks up to and including One White Duck and also Locomotive Breath, John Carter, Martins childhood friend with whom he made the Grand Union album takes on Waking Edge, Dan Crisp, Still Loving You Tonight and Slow Marching Band. Other participants are Paddy Blight, Double Bass, Josiah J, keyboards and Frank Mead, the albums flute solo on this disc on Home.

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Disc 1 the Live set has Mr. Barre in full hard rockin’ electric mode, of course initially it’s hard not to make comparisons with the originals in fact it’s impossible, Dan Crisp’s vocals have come in for some criticism, and on first play on disc this seem justified but Martin has stuck by him and having seen him live a few times and with a little mental readjustment, the initial concerns have diminished. It’s not that he is a bad vocalist I just think singing Tull songs is not his natural style and in any event is nigh on impossible to emulate Mr Anderson in his prime but ultimately this album is all about Martin Barre and his interpretation of these songs, putting his stamp on them and keeping them fresh of which I must say in this department is an unqualified success. Having seen him play these tracks live his enthusiasm is totally infectious, he seems to be having the time of his life, in fact he and the band are an absolute joy to watch. How he has narrowed it down to these 13 tracks who knows because if one looks at his set lists Setlist.fm this is a very small portion of what he has being playing live.

LangsfordHart

After a rather tentative start with a jazz flavoured My Sunday Feeling, things pick up with For a Thousand Mothers and it all becomes clear what a crucial element he was in Tull’s classic sound. Hymn 43 has that wonderful chugging riff and then we come to Love Story where Dan Crisp earns some plaudits, this rendition is a little slower and grittier than the original and candidate for best on this disc and so it continues with perhaps an unusual choice in Sealion, Song for Jeffrey is rather lumbering but inherits a couple of hard rock riffs and guitar solo. Back to the Family gets heavy. I could go on, but what’s the point suffice to say although the songs are familiar to all, these versions have balls, played at full volume, the guitar work exceptional.

CrispThomsonTodd

Disc 2, I was a little shocked when I heard the female vocals, but then again not, having seen them do the acoustic set, and they carry the songs effortlessly, with some wonderful accompaniment. Life’s a Long Song, Cheap Day Return, Under Wraps and One White Duck are standouts. I won’t say the quality dips hereafter but it’s a hard to follow on from those girls, suffice to say that they take it down a bit with the remainder including the mandolin driven Locomotive Breath where the girls come on board again

If this album does anything it shows what a creative writer Ian Anderson is or was depending on opinion and what a classic guitarist Martin Barre is.

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Of course if one is looking for reasons to knock this, one doesn’t have to look far, it would be easy to shred it for any number of reasons, it can’t match the originals, the vocals may not be to everyone’s taste (I suspect the most likely criticism), it’s a good but not great album, the anticipation was greater than the reality but taken for what it is, this Celebration of Tull as a rock band reignites music much of which the punters would never expect to hear live again, is reason enough to make this is a worthwhile exercise. If nothing else it’s an advert for people to go check out Mr Martin Lancelot Barre live. My only disappointment here is that there is no third disc. (by oldrock)

EPSON MFP image

Personnel:
Martin Barre (guitar, mandolin, mandola, flute, organ)
Paddy Blight (bass)
John Carter (vocals)
Dan Crisp (vocals, guitar)
Alex Hart (vocals)
Josiah J. (keyboards)
Becca Langsford (vocals)
Darby Todd (drums)
Alan Thomson (bass, vocals)
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Frank Mead (flute on CD 2/09.)

EPSON MFP image

Tracklist:

CD 1 – Live at Factory Underground:
01. My Sunday Feeling 3.32
02. For A Thousand Mothers 4.34
03. Hymn 43 3.31
04. Love Story 4.11
05. Sealion 4.07
06. Song For Jeffrey 3.42
07. Back To The Family 4.05
08. Nothing To Say 5.44
09. Hunting Girl 5.35
10. Teacher 5.53
11. Steel Monkey 3.46
12. Nothing Is Easy 4.58
13. New Day Yesterday 4.50

CD 2 – Studio Tracks:
01. Wond’ring Aloud 1.53
02. Someday The Sun Won’t Shine 2.02
03. Life Is A Long Song 3.29
04. Cheap Day Return 1.30
05. Under Wraps 3.06
06. One White Duck 2.20
07. Still Loving You Tonight 4.54
08. The Waking Edge 3.17
09. Home 3.16
10. Locomotive Breath 4.09
11. Slow Marching Band 3.28

All songs written by Ian Anderson

CDs

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Martin Barre talks about this album:

MartinBarre01

Jan Garbarek – Live in Matera (2019)

FrontCover1.jpgAs an improvising musician, Jan Garbarek has said that he seeks to make his playing “fit the tone, texture and temperament of the music. It’s about finding a common language.” The quest to explore that language has ranged widely across time and space, from the folk songs of his native Norway to improvisations around medieval polyphony and the music of the Indian subcontinent and Middle East, as well as jazz. In the course of these musical journeys, the intensely focused sounds of his tenor and soprano saxophones have become among the most instantly recognizable and haunting in contemporary music.

Garbarek was born in Mysen, Norway in 1947. His family later moved to Oslo and, at the age of 14, Garbarek first heard John Coltrane on the radio, which inspired him to take up the saxophone. Dexter Gordon, then a frequent visitor to Norway, also made a deep impression.

In 1962 Garbarek won a competition for amateur jazz players and for the rest of the decade worked regularly in Norway, usually as a leader, but he also spent four years with jazz composer and theorist George Russell, who would later describe him as “the JanGarbarek01.jpgmost original voice in European jazz since Django Reinhardt”. In 1969, ECM founder Manfred Eicher asked Garbarek to join the roster of his new record label. Garbarek’s first ECM album was Afric Pepperbird. “After we recorded it we knew we had something special,” Eicher remembered. It was to be the first step in one of ECM’s most distinguished recording careers.

Jan Garbarek rose to international fame in the mid-1970s playing with Keith Jarrett’s European Quartet, which released the albums Belonging, My Song and the live recordings Personal Mountains, Nude Ants, and Sleeper. Such collaborations, in the words of Jarrett’s biographer, Ian Carr, took “the art of classic jazz to its highest pinnacle”.

Triptykon (1972) was the first recording on which Garbarek used a Norwegian folk song in his playing, a direction in which he had been encouraged by American trumpeter Don Cherry. “Whether I like it or not,” Garbarek told one writer, “I am locked into a certain vocabulary or phraseology which is linked to Norwegian folk music.”

In 1979, Garbarek recorded Photo with Blue Sky, the first of a series of albums with the Jan Garbarek Group, a regular touring band whose line-up would evolve over the decades. It was not until 2007 that they recorded a live album, however, the double CD, Dresden. As the Guardian wrote of the group on their 2007 tour: “The contrast between an intense jamming sound and the songlike simplicity of the tunes is always Garbarek’s magic mix, but this version of the band has an exhilarating intensity.”

JanGarbarek02Officium, one of the most significant recordings of Garbarek’s career – and in the history of ECM – was made in 1993 in St Gerold monastery in Austria with the Hilliard Ensemble. Garbarek’s sax – a “fifth voice” – weaves soaring, swooping lines around the polyphony of the vocal quartet, creating effects that are as entrancing as they are unexpected. In 1999 came a sequel, Mnemosyne, which ranged further across time in its musical material, and Officum Novum explored the crossroads between east and west, with particular focus on the music of Armenia.

Garbarek’s restless musical imagination, so evident in his Hilliard collaborations and countless other projects over the years, keeps driving him forward. Of his musical journey he says: “It never really stands still. Not at any point in time can you say, ‘Now I reached something.’” (by ecm.com)

FestivalPoster1

And yes, Jan Gabarek ist still active … alive and well. So listen to his brilliant concert, recorded at the Gezziamoci Festival 2019 in Matera/Italy.

This show was broadcasted by an Italian TV-Station (this video is included in my file) and so we have a brilliant soundboard recording.

GarbarekMantera2019_02

In keeping with the theme of bringing cultures together, various concerts featuring international musicians will take place as part of the Materadio programming. An especial highlight promises to be the performance of Norwegian jazz saxophonist Jan Garbarek, who will be joined on stage by another world-class musician, Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu. (press release)

Indeed: another nearly perfect perfomance by one the greatest jazz musician of our time !

Enjoy this rarity !

GarbarekMantera2019_03A

Personnel:
Rainer Brüninghaus (keyboards)
Yuri Daniel (bass)
Jan Garbarek (saxophone, flute)
Trilok Gurtu (drums, percussion, tablas, vocals)

GarbarekMantera2019_01

Tracklist:
01. Opening (unknown) 2.32
02. Molde Canticle (Garbarek) 16.55
03. Untitled (unknown) 5.27
04. Hot Æ Dæ Fe Noko Vesolt Væ (Jutulen Og Stolt Øli) (Garbarek) 10.34
05. Matera Five (Brüninghaus/Daniel/Garvarek/Gurtu) 5.01
06 Matera Six (Brüninghaus/Daniel/Garvarek/Gurtu) 11.36
07 Matera Seven (Brüninghaus/Daniel/Garvarek/Gurtu) 7.20
08 Rainer Solo (Brüninghaus) 8.07
09 All Those Born With Wings (5th Piece) (Garbarek) 6.20
10.  Trilok Solo (Gurtu) 12.12
11. Improvisation (Brüninghaus/Daniel/Garvarek/Gurtu) 9.57
12. Had To Cry Today (Winwood) 7.10

GarbarekMantera2019_04

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GarbarekMantera2019_05.jpg

ConcertPoster2019

Kronos Quartett – Live At The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (2019)

FrontCover1.jpgFor 45 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet  has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually reimagine the string quartet experience. Pete Seeger, who would have turned 100 years old this May, lived through the tumultuous 20th century as a force for kindness, humility, and good. His pursuits reflected the complexity of the times through the lens of music. Kronos Quartet will create a multi-artist exploration of Seeger’s musical legacy. The group will collaborate with composers, guest vocalists and fellow musicians, to re-imagine the songs that Seeger popularized and celebrate his place in the landscape of American music. (by big-o magazine)

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What a great concert … a classical quartett plays all these folk classics … !

Thanks to UncleBoko for sharing the HDTV webcast at Dime.

Recorded live at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Music For Change: Pete Seeger @ 100. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA; October 4, 2019.
Very good audio (ripped from HDTV webcast).

HardlyStrictlyFestival

Personnel:
Hank Dutt (viola)
David Harrington (violin)
John Sherba (violin)
Sunny Yang (cello)
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Brian Carpenter (vocals on 04., 06. – 09.)
Lee Knight (vocals, banjo on 02., 06. – 09.)
Meklit (vocals on 05., 06. – 09.)

Aoife O’Donovan (vocals on 03., 06., 07., 08.
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San Francisco Girls Chorus (on 08. + 09.) directed by Valérie Sainte-Agathe

BackCover1

Tracklist:
01. Intro/The House Of The Rising Sun (Traditional) 5.18
02. Which Side Are You On? (Traditional/Reece) 3.38
03. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine (Newman/Seeger/Hays) 4.11
04. Deep In The Muddy Water (Seeger) 4.09
05. The President Sang Amazing Grace (Mulford) 6.31
06. Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) (Seeger) 4.11
07. If I Had A Hammer (Seeger/Hays) 2.54
08. Where Have All The Flowers Gone (Seeger/Hickerson) 6.32
09. We Shall Overcome (Tindley) 6.07

Pete Seeger

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