Kadril & Alumea - La Paloma Negra
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Kadril & Alumea
La Paloma Negra
Wild Boar (www.wildboarmusic.com)

cd cover This two-disc set is a studio version of a concert program produced jointly by Galician family combo Alumea and Flemish folk-rock band Kadril, inspired by Flemish pilgrims in Galicia. The results are peculiar but satisfying. I find all the tracks well-performed and produced, but emerge wondering at the strategy behind La Paloma Negra, the Black Dove. Most of the tracks are clearly either Alumea or Kadril songs, very distinct in sound and style, the whole more a compilation than a collaboration. But where the bands do work together on the same song, the results are smooth and often integrated in novel ways, showing considerable musical sympathy. On many of the Galician numbers, I was sure I heard a zanfona, or hurdy-gurdy, though none is mentioned in the credits; my best guess is that this ecological niche was filled nicely by the nyckelharpa of Kadril's Bart De Cock.

Listen!
Disc 1 begins with "Danza de Touton," featuring Alumea, a staggered two-step with pandereita percussion, gaita, and female vocals, alternating in solo and group unison, gaining force with drums and violin, acoustic guitar strum, with a distorted electric guitar entering at the end. "Couragie" is a bouncy 18th century Flemish march, with military drums, booming bass, lively bagpipe and nyckelharpa leads with pandereita percussion. "Romance" kicks off on an ominous, distorted Ry Cooder-style slide guitar over a skip-beat rhythm, a single Alumea voice intoning the sad tale over a low drone, a single verse repeating hypnotically and cumulatively. It is paired with "Rozemarjin," a pretty, slow folky piece where Kadril's Eva de Roovere's whispery voice is backed by a mixed chorus, a violin break on the melody line, with clarinet entering on the verse after the break, then the male chorus taking a dramatic a cappella verse late in the track. "Maneo e Muiñeira de Silván" offers pure Alumea, with high-energy pandereita and piercing female vocals shifting to a quick waltz in the center.

Disc 2 begins with a medley. "Uterus Hodie" presents a lone female vocal in Latin over a low drone, eventually joined by another voice in lower harmony; followed by a gaita tune, "Marcha de San Benito," somewhere between liturgical and a Scottish slow air. It ends on a quick waltz, "Fandango Muradano," on gaita with military percussion. The Separdic classic "Los Bilbilicos" is rendered with a direct folk-rock beat built on a bouzouki strum, the female vocal, violin, and an effective accordion and gaita break. "Een Ridder en een Meysken Jonc" could almost be a Flemish analog to a Childe ballad modernized by Steeleye Span.

Lyrics are provided in their respective languages, Galician or Flemish, with brief explanatory notes in French and English as well. La Paloma Negra provides an intriguing mix of styles. - Jim Foley

Kadril's web site: www.kadril.be

CD available from cdRoots


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