MODAL Pleinjeu (France)
Buff'Grol manages to shock and delight. This quartet from Pitou, France has taken the themes of French work songs and children's music and developed a set of recordings that is at once charming and bizarre. The band uses a lot of reeds (clarinet, saxophones, cornmuse, ivy leaves) along with violin, accordion and raucous vocals. The reeds give a community dance band sound to the tunes at one moment, but can also propel them into avant garde jazz or sparse pop settings of the same folk melodies at another. It is these conflicts that give Tarale its greatest strength; they move from solo fiddle tune to driving ensemble, from gravelly work song to jazz improvisation with a perverse logic. So many bands see their task as taking a crude folk melody and polishing it until it's smooth and shiny. Buff'Grol revel in the sharp edges and find beauty in the rough. - CF
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