There is no denying it, Rob van Barschot is, as the Dutch would say, a musical centipede. He studied music at the Fontys Art School , graduating in improvisation, jazz, latin and afro. He played drums and percussion in a jazz choir; a Foo Fighters tribute band and, of course, his former band Omnia . He was musical leader in jazz jam sessions and worked together with Fieke van der Hurk on the 2018 Wickerman ritual on Castlefest , leading the percussion section. He gives well-received drum/percussion workshops. He makes dance music with his friend and partner in crime Daphyd Sens under the name ThunderCrow . And now his first solo album Home is out through Bandcamp featuring the GUDA drum. Rob wrote most of the music himself or co-wrote it, adding the words 'solo-artist' and 'composer' to his already impressive CV.
Rob explained to me that the idea for this solo album started during the recording of the first ThunderCrow CD Drop It
. - '2 years ago, with ThunderCrow, we decided we would like to add a 'handpan' sound to the recordings of Drop It . I found a second hand GUDA drum on the internet with Omnia logos on it. I thought that was funny, so I bought that one. When the developers of the GUDA drum found out I bought a drum with my own logos on it, they also thought it was funny, and gave me a second drum for free! That’s how my collaboration with GUDA DRUM by ZEN PERCUSSION started. 2 years later I have several GUDAs at home for teaching private and group lessons, all in their own size and scale.'
So, what is a GUDA drum? It is a hybrid between a tongue drum and a handpan. A tongue drum would be a drum originally made from propan tanks with tongues cut out that give the drum its tone. Handpans are drums where two metal shells are glued together and fields -I would call them dents- are worked into the instrument which produce several harmonious tones when hit.
A GUDA drum is also made of two half shells glued together, but has tongues cut out instead of the 'dents' that you can see on a handpan. It is usually played with the fingers by tapping the tongues and creating a melody like that. Despite being a 'steel' drum I find the sound of the GUDA drum warm, mellow… Read More
Just a few days ago I wrote a review about the new Pyrolysis CD and I concluded that the album was the biggest surprise of the year. A remark I thought would stand for a few months. Not so! We are one week further and PerKelt gives me the next 'biggest' surprise! Who would have thought that I would listen to the first track of a PerKelt album and that my notes would say: -ballad!-, -spoken word-, -male lead vocals!!!- and -reminds me of the 60's folk singer-songwriter Donovan!!?-. The second song I hear, Morana , is PerKelt the way I know it, fast and furious pagan speed folk, so my surprised feeling starts to fade slightly. But then Štěpán starts reciting a poem and again the comparison with Donovan is there, specifically with the song Atlantis , one of Donovan's classic hits. What about track 4, Air And Fire then? Surely Perkelt will now go into a speed folk frenzy? No! Another gentle acoustic guitar motif, almost Spanish sounding, flowing into a midtempo flute solo with gentle guitar and violin chords... and still no lead vocals from Paya in sight! At this point I seriously grabbed the previous album Dancer In The Wind , and listened to it, just to check if my memory could be that wrong. PerKelt were that ultra fast pagan folk band just one album ago, weren't they!? Yep, they were. Even more intrigued I returned to Air And Fire . Track 5, Waterflies left me even more bewildered, hearing a Brisinga type chant ! Who,...why....what happened???! Don't get me wrong, I love what I'm hearing 'till now, but it is so different. Where did this surprising music come from????
I just had to know, so I did something I had never done before. I spontaneously called Štěpán, to ask him all those questions I had running through my head, totally forgetting that my normal 9 to 5 timetable and that of a musician performing at night totally do not match. And even more so forgetting that there is a one hour time difference between Holland and Great Britain, whoops! So Monday morning 08:15 sharp, Štěpán Honc, guitar player and (at least for this album) lead vocalist of Perkelt, had an overexcited reviewer from the Netherlands on the phone, asking him too many questions in too short a space of time to properly answer. (Deeply sorry about that Štěpán.) luckily… Read More
One of the coolest things for us at CeltCast is that we have seen several new bands grow from small beginnings to big shows at Castlefest. A good example is the band Sunfire, who we saw opening as a singer-songwriter act for ThunderCrow and is now a 5-piece band opening this year's Castlefest with only The Sidh above them on the bill. Another one is Emian, an Italian band we had not previously heard of and whose CD Alex Sealgaire obtained and passed on to Castlefest. They became one of the most poular acts in no time. The last example has to be SeeD, whom I saw playing long ago at a gothic and fantasy fair. They went on to debut at Castlefest together with L.E.A.F. and have become a crowd favourite among the Castlefest audience in the last few years. We at CeltCast think we found another band that could make that journey. A band that has been growing steadily since their debut album in 2012. A band that makes good energetic Celtic folk, has heaps of talent, know exactly where they wanna go and are charming nice people to top it all off. That promising band is Pyrolysis, and they just released their newest album Daylight Is Fading. UNIQUE SELLING POINTS
Every good band needs a unique selling point. Something that makes them stand out from the crowd. Ye Banished Privateers
have that 'it' with their stageshow and their theatre style, Sunfire have 'it' with their western folk sound, The Sidh have their unique mix between dance and folk, Coppelius
have 'it' with their unique verson of acoustic metal. And now Pyrolysis has 'IT' too. They found an unique sound and style that makes the difference between a nice album and a -what-the-f [censored]
-just-happened!- CD. Well done you lot, well done!!!! For me the surprise of the year. Pyrolysis started out in 2012 as a folk metal band, but several years, a different line-up and three albums later the sound had developed into acoustic Celtic folk. In 2017 it earned them a nomination for the title best album at the Dutch Bastaard Awards
for their third release called Edges Of The Day
But Stan Eimers (vocals, bodhrán, mandolin), Tim Elfring (vocals, bouzouki), Laurens Krah, (accordion), Rikke Linssen (vocals, violin, tin whistle) and new band member Joshua Kuijpers (bass guitar) were not satisfied yet, as Rikke told me.… Read More
The year is 1973, Woodstock, the festival that gave a voice and its name to a whole generation, is already 4 years gone. Three of its most famous children, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix already passed away, the darker side of a free lifestyle. The biggest story in the news is that a peace treaty finally ends the Vietnam war, giving the 60's peace protesters their big victory. In the wake of the 60's protests, a local protest against underground atom bomb trails in Amchitka, Alaska is turning into a nature protection group called Greenpeace . In the Middle East the conflict between Egypt, Syria and Israel escalates into the Yom Kippur war. The Egyptian-Syrian coalition is supported by some North African countries, Israel by the West. As a result the main oil-producing countries call out an oil embargo against the US, The Netherlands, Canada, the UK and Japan. Which means oil shortages. In Holland cars are not allowed to drive on Sundays. Can you imagine? 1973, just another year in a crazy world that is changing fast.
In the folk world things are also changing. In America the revival of folk music, that started as acoustic protest songs from artists like Woody Gutrie, Simon and Garfunkel,
or Joan Baez
and her protégé Bob Dylan
, is starting to grow into folk rock, with The Grateful Dead
, Buffalo Springfield
and of course Neil Young
being a few of the great names in that scene. In England bands like Fairport convention
and Steeleye Span
are doing the same thing and are laying the foundations for what will become the Celtic rock. In France Alan Stivell
is modernising and popularising traditional folk music from Brittany, an influence that can still be felt to this day. (Think of Manau's
big 90's hit La Tribu de dana
of the 90's or more recently the lovely pop folk CD Bretagne
by famous French singer Nolwenn Leroy
Right amongst all these changes, two things happen that will be significant for the future. One a bit more significant than the other. First of all a little babyboy called Alexander Sealgaire is born May 1973. A small footnote for mankind, a huge step for CeltCast, because he is one of the two founding fathers of this station. Secondly a young Irish band releases their first album, challenging the general opinion that music should be in English, rather… Read More