Cororchestra Cantarchevai - Nadāl Encara
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Cororchestra Cantarchevai
Nadāl Encara
FolkClub Ethnosuoni (

cd cover This collection of Christmas carols, mainly from around Italy but from other parts as well, is a true collaborative effort. Cororchestra Cantarchevai is a collective whose aim is to make a paradigm shift in the way music is produced and experienced. Part of the profits from this record go to a project that works with Palestinian farmers in order to promote the sustainable development of their lands. The whole project was also first released through Amandla, a fair trade organization, before coming under the wings of FolkClub Ethnosuoni in order to get a wider distribution.

Where Nadāl Encara succeeds is in creating an atmosphere of a true community gathering. The rather primitive recording and the audible coughs and children's cries once in a while help in that, as well, even though it is sometimes to the detriment of the modern listening experience.

Above and beyond the politics or the technical details of this record, there is the music, and this is where this record comes into its own and shows the high artistic cache of Cororchestra Cantarchevai. The voices of the choir are beautiful and very much in the Christmas mood. The arrangements of the songs are sparse, yet atmospheric, while the overall sentiment is one of calmness, union and excitement. There are some notable gems included: "No sé si serā el amor" (a Spanish carol), "Avant Minuit Sonnant" a French pastoral that dwells in the same musical sphere as the best moments of Enya and is just perfect for this festive season. "Betlehem, Betlehem" pairs a Kurdish instrumental with an Hungarian carol, while the self-penned "Esodi Biblici" matches the events described in the Christmas tradition to present-day immigration problems. The wonderful "Tema Navideņo," originally from Bolivia, adds a Latin spirit to this set.

Cantarchevai move between places and times, retaining a unified spirit which is characteristically their own but also typical of any choir singing Christmas carols at Christmastime, somewhere in Western Europe. Although they too, like SKRUK and Rim Banna, present a political collection that sides with those whom they consider the oppressed of today's world, Cororchestra Cantarchevai manage to transcend this level. They do mention in the liner notes that their music is directed towards people of all creeds and ages, believers or not, in order to facilitate understanding, express the interplay of light and darkness and help interweave the Western European musical traditions with other sonorities. They patently achieve this and one has to hope that a future studio recording of the same material will be able to deliver an experience of higher audio fidelity to truly match this well-thought out and well-executed program. - Nondas Kitsos

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