…Drifting away in Driftwood

Every year at the end of November the young kids in Holland get all excited. Saint Nicolas, (Or Sinterklaas as we Dutch call him), comes all the way from Spain to celebrate his birthday with us here in the Netherlands. He arrives two weeks before his birthday on a steamboat, loaded with presents for the young kids. The evening before his birthday, the 5th of December, he and his helpers travel the rooftops of the Dutch houses and throw presents down the chimneys of those who have been good that year. As Sinterklaas is an old man by now, he travels the rooftops on his trusty companion, the white stallion Amerigo.
The Dutch kids, knowing that Sinterklaas may come, will put their shoe next to the stove, hoping that they will find a present in it the next morning. Some of them will put small notes in those shoes for Sinterklaas. It could be a list with presents; a nice drawing for Sinterklaas to put on the wall, or a carrot for his horse Amerigo, or a bit of hay. You just never know if this could persuade Sinterklaas to give a bigger present.

That is where The Carrots come in. They mailed us their EP Driftwood as a surprise on December the 5th, even adding some marzipan Carrots with it, just as the Dutch children would do on the nights before December the 5th. Well I can tell you, we loved this surprise and I’m very happy that I can introduce this fun trio to you all. Something tells me this won’t be the last time we hear something from this fun trio. The Carrots just ooze out talent. But for now, we will focus on their 2020 EP Driftwood. Here is the link so you can read more about them.

Xuntas, introducing the music of Sangre de Muerdago

Comprado en uno de los conciertos más mágicos a los que he asistido.‘ (Bought at one of the most magical concerts I have ever attended.)
Those were the first words I heard about Sangre de Muerdago. These words came from Dani Iturriaga, singer and multi-instrumentalist of Vael, but also the founder of Hierbo Loba, a site in Spanish informing the public about folk music, just as we do with CeltCast.
Dani is just as much a music fan as he is a musician and that becomes clear when you visit his website. It also became clear when we were talking about Sangre de Muerdago. It turned out Dani has been a fan of this Galician band for quite some time. This is what he had to say about Sangre de Muerdago:
-‘I have to admit that it makes me a bit dizzy that you mention Vael so much as a reference in the Xuntas review, because I don’t think we deserve it. For us, Sangre de Muerdago is one of our main references, and we have only just started. The truth is that if there is a group that I would like to be like, it would be them. You know, all bands start out playing covers of their favorite artists. We started by covering Faun and Sangre de Muerdago.’

I can’t think of a better way to introduce Sangre de Muerdago to you all. Xuntas, and all the other (split) albums Sangre made over the years can be found on Bandcamp. So I hope this review will make you discover a wonderful new band, or that it will reacquaint you with an old friend.

– Cliff

-picture by Josanne van der Heijden

PS. Don’t forget, next week it is the first Friday of the month again, the day that Bandcamp waves away their share of the revenue to support the musicians in these odd Corona times.

Meet Quentin Maltrud: Le Garçon de l’Automne

While doing my review of the Castlefest Collective album, there was one name that I didn’t know: Le Garçon de l’Automne. A bit of internet research told me that Le Garçon de l’Automne is a pagan folk project by the starting French musician Quentin Maltrud. After listening to Eluveitie, Quentin started to play the hurdy-gurdy five years ago. And while Quentin was discovering more and more European folk bands he also acquired more and more folk instruments, working out himself how to play and use them.
Two years ago he started recording the first songs for what would become his debut album Leaves Are Falling. This album came out in October of last year and it is, as to be expected, a journey through European folk music. I really enjoyed listening to it. Sure there are some ‘moments’, but in general, Quentin can be proud of this first CD. It shows a musician that is passionate, who dares to try out things, and who has fresh and original ideas. Besides that, he is eager to learn. So my first impression of Le Garçon de l’Automne is a real positive one. And I’m convinced that in the years to come Quentin will grow into a really interesting, surprising artist. He has all the potential for it.
Want to know more? Here is the link.

Wednesday reviewday…., featuring Trolska Polska

So what Am I supposed to say about Trolska Polska‘s latest album that I didn’t already say in the review? That it is a great album? That the band worked out the Troll concept to perfection? That I love the artwork? That it is a must-buy for e-v-e-r-y (bal)folk enthousiast? That it is in my top 3 list of favorite folk albums of all time!? Well…., I mentioned ALL of that already!

So it has finally come to this! I am out of words! And it are Trolska Polska that are to blame. I guess there is only one thing I can do now. insert the link here, and lead you to what made me speechless.
It’s something called: EUFoRI!

Bandcamp friday

Today it’s the 3rd of February, which means the first Friday of the month is fast approaching. And since the start of the corona pandemic,that has become a special day on Bandcamp. Why? Well, every first Friday of the month Bandcamp wave away their share of the revenue of the music you purchase from their site, giving the artists that extra boost to help them through these rough times. Ever since we got wind of this initiative, I tried to review an album that is only available on Bandcamp in the week before Bandcamp Friday. Well, this time we didn’t find one album, we found three!
Två Fisk Och En Fläsk was a young Swedish folk band that released three records between 1998 and 2016. Starting out playing ‘classic’ medieval folk, the bandmember’s diverse musical backgrounds surfaced and the sound quickly turned towards alternative prog-folk. We managed to contact Jan Liljekvist, one of the former violinists of the band, and he was quite willing to tell Två Fisk’s story. And here it is.






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