Dust off your dancing shoes and jig along to a class collection of English folk. Or sink back and clink cocktails with a friend whilst absorbing cool Brazilian café grooves. In fact, do both! Snap up two contrasting albums that are matched in excellent quality.
Like the broad tree on the cover of this Rough Guide, the roots of folk music run deep underneath the mud, soil and earth of English culture. Over the last decade the folk scene has fizzed with fresh life. The Rough Guide to English Folk showcases some of the best new talent whilst balancing out the load with a helping of more traditional folky goodness.
Bellowhead open the album with their jaunty track, ‘Yarmouth Town’. It is a jolly whistling tune with sweet strings, plump brass, a smooth sax solo and jaunty lyrics. Other new-folk contemporaries The Imagined Village re-pipe the song, ‘My Son John’. Famed for up-dating folk to reflect modern multi-cultural Britain, on this track sitar, strings, dhol drumming and electronics roll along underneath Martin Carthy’s wry lyrical observations of current military realities. On ‘Byker Hill’ 1970s folk veteran Pete Coe explores a more gentle story-telling approach with vocals that sound like they are sung through a smile. Emily Portman’s song, ‘Tongue-Tied’ illuminates the dark hues of English folk. Morose strings sweep broadly below breath-tone vocals that loop round and round in creeping canon. Bob and Ron Copper harmonize on the classic pastoral tune, ‘Sweet Primoses’. Recorded in the 1950s this rendition is unadorned folk at its best. The bonus CD by Coope, Boyes & Simpson deserves special mention as a set of excellently catchy a capella songs sung in charming close harmony.
Featuring a bonus cd by Coope, Boyes & Simpson.
The Rough Guide to Brazilian Café is best listened to on the beach, shades on and cocktail in hand. But rest assured, if this isn’t entirely possible right this minute, this grooving collection of cool tunes will have you kicked back with eyes half open and mind drifting off to elsewhere in no time at all. From the ubiquitous samba and bossa rhythms to regional styles such as forró, gaúcho and carimbó,Brazil’s musical heritage is rich and complex. A new generation of musicians are modernizing such classic styles and creating sounds that spin-off from tradition in dynamic directions.
One highlight of the album is track, ‘Comadi’ by Ceú. A jutting reggae beat, simple horn riffs, jazzy guitar lines and smooth vocals slink together stylishly. Wilson Simoninha introduces a funk flavour on ‘Eta É Brasileira’. Here a clap-along chorus flirts with a retro disco sound and the totally tight rhythm section pull in all the right places to make this an attitude soaked track that is cool to the core. London based and Brasilian born Cibelle’s electro-Brasil sound is at its best on the track ‘Train’. The melody slips chromatically downwards, lazy sounding guitars hang heavy in the air and zooming sound effects plunge across the texture. Cibelle intones an otherworldly lullaby that soothes listeners into submission. Pick up The Rough Guide to Brazilian Café for a quality selection of laid back vibes.
Featuring a bonus CD by Vitor Ramil & Marcos Suzano.