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Stara Lipa
Orange World (

cd cover Stara Lipa are interested in the medieval traditions of Europe. Using mostly female vocals and a variety of instruments (ocarina, flutes, violins, guitar, saz, mandolin, psaltery, hurdy-gurdy, banjo, jew's harp, bendir, dol, darrabukka and tintinnabula) they create a unique but utterly convincing sound. The quality of the musicianship is very high, especially taking into consideration the young age of the band members. What they may lack in experience they more than make up for with talent and passion. This is really music that draws you in, something very important for what could be seen as rather academic material.

They interweave their own tunes with versions of traditional pieces, both secular and religious, in a feisty and interesting whole. Stara Lipa creates an homogeneous sound from disparate sources, including pieces from Sweden, Flanders, France, Spain and Brittany as well as a number of different Polish regions. The results remind one of a number of different bands, yet it retains a power all its own. They may remind the listener of Galinverna or Etnie but also of more classical interpretations, such as Anonymous 4, pointing to the persistence of the medieval roots of the music. Although initially they sound quite similar to label mates Kapela Ze Wsi Warszawa, they hold their own ground. While KZWW sound more modern and aggressive, Stara Lipa appear more Celtic and more at peace.

Standout tracks are the original "Hamlet's Fool," and the slightly sinister yet beguiling "The Fire Burns." This is followed by "The Prayer of a Glow-worm," which exhibits some oriental elements that seem to add to the character of this thirteenth century Spanish piece (with the Moors right next door), while the choreographed "Dance of a Bear" has a slightly Celtic character. The final lullaby ("Lindenwood Cradle") slows things down again, restoring the inner peace that was previously upset.

The liner notes are bilingual and the whole record exudes the same high quality production that Orange World has consistently delivered. This is another great find for anyone seeking unique Celtic, medieval or Nordic musical traditions. - Nondas Kitsos

Available at cdRoots

Audio (p) and (c)2002 Orange World, Poland. Used with their permission

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