Silex - France, via Harmonia Mundi-US

Compagnie Chez Bousca Here is an excursion into the traditional routes of French folk via an extremely modern interpretive vehicle. This quintet blends the earlier centuries of violins, diatonic accordion, woodwinds and country vocal styles with highly contemporary portions of electronics, processed marimba, strings and percussion. The resulting mix is truly a work worthy of the title, as it is a brash painting on a crude wall, strokes of folk imagery with a modern message. This is almost something of a genre in the new European folk scene, with notable recordings from bands like Ritmia, Filarfolket, and two recent Corsican fusions (David Reuff's Tra Ochu E Mare and Hector Zazou's Les Nouvelles Polyphonie Corses).

All of these bands share a similar attitude, to mark the passage of time with a celebratory spirit, to revel in the ancient sounds, the primal memories, without ever becoming enslaved by convention. Compagnie Chez Bousca joins this core group of innovative revivalists. This work is primitive-modern in the best sense. The accordions and violins give it locale, the synths and woodwinds an international attitude. But what really attracts me about this music is its inherent swing, a Celtic swing to be sure, but one that also harkens to the Hot Club and The Onyx Club. "Pakkos Cafe" could easily be in homage to O'Carolan or Django, the fusion is that smooth and intertwined at times. Other cuts share the same ability to fuse and confuse, without ever getting away from the fluidity that defines this recording. - CF

See also: FreeReeds, France, Europe

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