Kadril De Andere Kust
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De Andere Kust
ALEA / Wild Boar (www.wildboarmusic.com)

cd cover Flemish band Kadril gives us a history lesson on a disc with this multi-faceted release. The nineteen songs here loosely weave the story of emigration to America through the port of Antwerp during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They've invited a few friends along to help tell the story. English singer Heather Grabham, Flemish singer Mariken Boussemaere, and Hungarian singer Szilvia Bognar lend their voices to the tale. Adding touches such as clawhammer banjo, brass band, and spaghetti western guitars to the traditional buzzy, drony Flemish sound makes this one of the more variegated releases to come down the pike in a while.

Some tracks work better than others. Anything that Bognar lends her laser-like vocals to is worth a listening. Her short opening track, "A fényes nap immár elnyugodott... (The radiant sun has already gone down)" segues beautifuly into Boussemaere's warm "De Gespeelkens." Unfortunately, Grabham's cooing soprano has a cloying little hiccup to it that tends to trivialize her songs. Her bouncy version of "Matty Groves" makes one crave Fairport's darker rendition. "American Tune," one of Paul Simon's most poetic works, is not improved by her dispassionate read-through. Still, her contributions don't get in the way of the tale. The story arc begins in Europe, with European sounds such as bouzouki, nyckelharpa, and tapan. American tone colors such as clawhammer banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, and rock guitars work their way in as the journey approaches the "de andere kust (the other coast)." Gypsy dance music, English ballads, old-timey fiddle tunes, and brass band music all add color to the mix. It's artful storytelling, and the disparate threads of sound pull together to create a uniquely American quilt. - Peggy Latkovich

CD available from cdRoots

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