Prog River Records is releasing some very obscure, but absolutely crucial, progressive rock gems from all over the world. This particular release comes to us from Belarus, where the group, the legendary Pesniary, melded folk-rock with prog-rock weirdness and a tinge of psychedelic rock, sounding something like early Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention at times.
Their popularity was so strong in the former Soviet Union that they were granted a shot at touring in the United States in 1976, proving to audiences that Soviet Rock was something to take seriously.
The lyrics are based on the works of Russian and Belarusian poets, including Yanka Kupala. This is quite a charming work.
Saulius Petreikis is the lynchpin of the Lithuanian ethno-folk music scene. This is a good survey of ethnic music preserved and reinterpreted from the villages of the country. For Saulius’ Bandcamp site:
Unheard Lithuania – is a collection of musical sounds that were heard long before we were born and will exist long after we are gone. It gathers hundred-years-old stories about our ancestors and the forests and fields they used to live in. Acquaintance with this music began one spring morning in Barstyčiai, Lithuania. I was still a little boy (four years old or so), when my grandfather made me my first flute. Its’ sound still haunts me to this day.
Unheard Lithuania is the melodies and stories rooted deep into our very being. It is young shepherds playing molinukai and skudučiai flutes. It is a child with a jaw harp between his lips and an old man in the field, mourning for his loved one. It is the sound of a horn at the edge of a forest announcing the arrival of the herd. It is a little girl talking to the birds with her lumzdelis flute.
Special website with videos (in english and lithuanian languages) – www.ltinstrumentai.lt
Tijana Stanković is a composer from Serbia who offers a work played on a prepared violin and vocals. From her Bandcamp site on LOM Records out of Slovakia:
Freezer is an album of raw and emotive improvisations by Serbian violinist-vocalist Tijana Stanković. Her chosen theme, the proverbial ‘freezer’, makes for a stark setting, serving as both a musical metaphor and literally the echoey meat freezer in Bratislava where the music was created and recorded. “Freezer is a place of cruelty and hope,” Stanković says. “It is a metaphor – an inner place where thoughts and feelings wait to be addressed.”
Though a dedicated free improviser, Stanković’s background in folk and Ethnomusicology puts her in touch with an ancient emotional syntax. Her key tools – violin and vocals – both yearn with an organic and creaking fragility, tied irrevocably to old cultures. As a means to express, they offer boundless possibilities (something Stanković has long explored in a vast array of collaborative groups, ensembles, and projects), but locker herself in the Freezer, on these recordings Stanković gains access to some potent introverted sonic realms, putting them in stasis to keep them at their most genuine, honest, and revealing. “To freeze,” she explains, ”is to preserve.”
Each of the four lengthy improvisations captured on Freezer takes its aesthetic to a logical endpoint. For example, ‘From dust and shine’ is a trip into gentle bow strokes over jarring and fragile violin strings, droning and grating between ethereal half-melodies and gentle moans. Stanković’s violin can at times evoke a creaky wheel as much as a musical instrument.
Though very much locked away in her own world of free and idiosyncratic music, the melodic character, stark sentiments, and heterophony of Balkan folk also play an important role. Closing track, “salty words” has Stanković meditate loudly on a trembling violin string repetition, wordlessly vocalizing a vast spectrum of inner angst.
Freezer is the culmination of Stanković’s abilities as both instrumentalist and improvising, coalescing her experience into a uniquely personal statement, aptly captured to tape in a freezer. Living until recently in Budapest, Stanković is now based in Belgrade.
“I would like to dedicate this release to my dearest friends who were there for me when I needed them the most.”
Be patient with this release. It will grow on you.
1969 Song of the Day is- “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel. Written by Paul Simon it was the lead single from their final album Bridge Over Troubled Water which came out in 1970- The Boxer was released on April 21, 1969- way ahead of the album. The Boxer went to #7 on the Billboard […]
via 1969 SONG OF THE DAY- ‘THE BOXER’- SIMON AND GARFUNKEL — slicethelife
Johnny Cash covering Leonard Cohen. There isn’t anything much better than this.
Slovakia is producing wonderful music, but has almost no exposure in the world stage, which is maddening. Quality musicianship in genres as disparate as World Music, experimental and classical has been frankly astounding.
The folk scene is especially healthy, given the energetic, bouncy and rhythmic performances given by Hrdza. There is a fire under these musicians, who possess a sort of sunny optimism, that is absolutely refreshing to hear. Those of you who enjoy Celtic music might well find something worth grooving to with these guys. It’s really that lively.
To get a taste of their sound, check out the Spotify link listed above and give a visit to their website (unfortunately in Slovak only, I’m afraid) to find out a bit more.
Aloha Got Soul’s latest release is a reissue of a rare psychedelic Christian folk record by a Hawaiian project called ʻĀina, which, according to their Bandcamp album site, “means land or earth in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language.”
It’s definitely a product of the 1970s, full of hippy vibes, a naïve sense of idealism, and themes which would be recognizable to people who go to Pentecostal Churches. There was nothing bad about this release at all. It was a smooth, mellow and enjoyable listen.
Sub Rosa Records issues a magnificent collection of recordings done in Sanaa and Aden, Yemen’s first and second cities. The album was recorded in 1973 by Ragnar Johnson and Jessica Mayer, who did a stellar job making the original recordings sound so warm.
As beautiful as Carol Of The Bells is, it comes from a Ukrainian folk carol called Shchedryk. May you enjoy this version by the Bel Canto Choir Vilnius and enjoy a relaxing Christmas Night!
Lisa Knapp is, at least for me, a new and rather pleasant voice in English folk music. She makes a huge impression with this traditional tune by pairing up with David Tibet of Current 93 fame.