The Darkness Between The Leaves

  • Kod: TUGCD1113
  • Producent: Riverboat Records (UK)
  • Wykonawca: Alba Griot Ensemble
  • Nośnik: CD
  • Cena: 55,80 zł
  • Poleć produkt

African Folk / African Blues
premiera polska:
opakowanie: kartonowe etui

multikulti.com - ocena * * * * *:
Osadzona w bluesowej formule malijska muzyka, przesycona nutką sentymentalną muzyka szkocka i szczypta czupurnej psychodelik, wszystko to znajdziecie na dopiero co wydanej płycie Alba Griot Ensemble.
Było wiele projektów łączących muzykę celtycką z afrykańską. Bodaj najsłynniejsze to kolejne części Afro Celt Sound System, wydawane dla Real World Petera Gabriela. Mój początkowy entuzjazm do tych projektów, dość szybko osłabł, a to za sprawą elektronicznych beatów, które pozbawiły tych nagrań uniwersalnej ponadczasowości. Przez to muzyka afrykańskich griotów przestała znaczyć to, co znaczyć powinna.
Alba Griot Ensemble podąża zupełnie inną drogą. Żaden z muzyków tworzących zespół w swojej artystycznej pracy nie stawia cudzysłowów, nie zwodzi słuchacza, nie zdradza muzyki przodków.
Ich spotkanie, poprzedzone wspólnym muzykowaniem w Szkocji i Mali, ufundowane zostało na poczuciu odpowiedzialności za każdy dźwięk. Czwórka muzyków, Szkoci Mark Mulholland i Craig Ward (długoletni członek formacji dEUS), wirtuoz ngoni, czterostrunowego tradycyjnego instrumentu ludu Bambara - Malijczyk Yacouba Sissoko i belgijski kontrabasista Hannes d'Hoine stanowią trzon zespołu. Do tego usłyszymy legendarnych muzyków afrykańskich, Toumani Diabate to najwybitniejszy żyjący wirtuoz kory, harfy zachodnioafrykańskiej i perkusjonista Tony Allen. Ponadto na płycie gości Lassana Diabate, grający na balafonie i śpiewająca Pamela Badjogo.

Żaden z muzyków zgromadzonych w studio nie idealizuje swojej macierzystej kultury, nie żywi nostalgii za jej wielką przeszłością, nikt na siłę nie upiększa tego, co jest już piękne - akustyczne instrumenty strunowe, ngoni - lutnia ludu i kora, harfa zachodnioafrykańska poruszają wyobraźnię słuchaczy krystalicznym brzmieniem pustyni.

Alba Griot Ensemble to muzyka mówiąca o ważnych sprawach w bardzo mądry sposób, to głęboki, serdeczny dialog dojrzałych artystów, ceniących sobie otwartość i brak dystansu do innych kultur.
autor: Jacek Palczewski
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Editor's info:
Alba Griot Ensemble is a star-studded international acoustic ensemble who mix Celtic and Malian traditions with blues, jazz and ambient elements. Featuring guests including Tony Allen and Toumani Diabate, this is a seamless meeting of rich and diverse musical styles.

'like a Bambara-inflected Pentangle' Financial Times
'Stunning' PopMatters
'a charmingly fresh and bluesy fusion set' The Guardian
‘Hibernian psych-folk meets the Saharan desert blues’ Songlines

Best described as an acoustic folk band, Alba Griot Ensemble is made up of two Scottish guitarists, Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward, Belgian double bassist Hannes d’Hoine and Malian ngoni player and percussionist Yacouba Sissoko. Rooted in tradition, Alba Griot Ensemble’s unique approach to cross-cultural collaboration weaves together diverse musical strands to create something new, challenging and startingly beautiful. Recorded by the award-winning producer Dave Odlum, the album combines intricate, intermingled strings, complex melodies and rhythms, and strong vocal harmonies and features the extraordinary drumming of afrobeat legend Tony Allen as well as kora maestro Toumani Diabate.

The adventure began when guitarist and globetrotter Mark Mulholland moved to Mali in 2014. One of the first musicians that he bumped into was band member to be Yacouba, a polyvalent percussionist and master of the ngoni, the traditional lute of the Bambara people. They were soon gigging around the city and touring in the Malian provinces. The obvious next step was to make an album and consummate the unlikely union between Mark’s signature blend of rock, blues, jazz, psychedelic and Celtic folk with Yacouba’s Afro-Manding styles. Fellow guitarist and busking/drinking buddy Craig Ward added his acoustic flair to the line-up along with the classically trained double bassist Hannes d’Hoine, and the ensemble was born.

For all the musicians, it was important to record live together, and for the project to involve ‘home and away’ legs for the musicians based in Europe and in Africa. After the initial recording session at Craig Ward’s studio in a rain-soaked Scotland, and a debut gig at the local village hall, Mark & Yacouba took the tapes to Paris where the legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen added his inimitably funky shuffle to the mixes. A few weeks later, back in Mali, the newly-dubbed Alba Griot Ensemble played at the Festival Acoustic Bamako, sharing a stage with Damon Albarn, Tony Allen and Kora maestro Toumani Diabate, whose wizardry can be heard on the spellbindingly beautiful album title track ‘The Darkness Between The Leaves’.

The collaboration widened the horizons of all involved, and as Mark explains the musical meeting is less unusual when you look below the surface of the tradition, “On some levels, [Mali and Scotland] couldn’t be more different – a mountainous rainy country in northern Europe with long dark winters, and a hot dry dusty place on the southern end of the Sahara Desert. There are also some similarities. Both countries have long histories of which their people are proud, going back to ancient kingdoms, and musical and storytelling traditions that have been passed down through generations, but are alive today.” Alba Griot Ensemble shows The Darkness Between The Leaves to be a place where these different strands can be woven together to create something unique, challenging and startlingly beautiful.

popMATTERS - ocena 8/10:
In the gentle opening notes of Alba Griot Ensemble's debut The Darkness Between the Leaves, there is a chill. The melancholy guitar work of Scottish musicians Mark Mulholland and Craig Ward are quickly joined by the Malian ngoni of Yacouba Sissoko, who also serves as a percussionist. Belgian double bassist Hannes d'Hoine completes the unorthodox string quartet, lending a resonant back end to opening track "Melt My Blues Away", an ode to the increasing darkness inherent at the end of summer. The group sings of taking to whiskey to cope with the snow and silence before finding solace in a beloved. "I'm sitting by your fire / As you melt my blues away," rings the hopeful refrain. The sentiment is as old as music itself, but the way Alba Griot Ensemble delivers it – with tender twang and a seamless, international blend of musical styles – is what makes it stunning. Master drummer Tony Allen's distinctive drumbeats driving the second half of the song forward make for a perfect final touch.

While Ward and Mulholland have worked together before, on 2012 album Waiting for the Storm, Mulholland's 2014 move to Mali was, in many ways, the catalyst for Alba Griot Ensemble. The addition of ngoni master Yacouba Sissoko is key to the Ensemble's sound, the sounds of Afro-Manding blues a perfect complement to the Celtic folk sounds Mulholland and Ward provide. Meanwhile, d'Hoine is the perfect jazz bassist: flexible and always willing to step outside the box to do whatever suits the group as a whole. On "Shadow Queen", he is an absolute must, acting, alongside guest vocalist Pamela Badjogo, as a stable pulse when the rest of the ensemble takes a moment to explode into cathartic chaos.

Along with Allen and Badjogo, other guests add extra star power to The Darkness Between the Leaves. Toumani Diabate, one of the best-known contemporary kora players, adds a bright whirlwind of sound to the album's title track. Allen and balafon player Lassana Diabate lend rhythm and might to "Long Way Home", the album's most uptempo song and one heavy on harmonies.

Harmony, incidentally, is in heaping supply among Alba Griot Ensemble, both sonically and in terms of simply working together. Every band member gets a chance to sing at some point; Sissoko takes the lead on "Horonia". The core instruments come together so well that, while each guest adds something wonderful to the mix, it would be just as worthwhile to listen to the four main musicians as an unaccompanied unit all the way through, as they are on "Blurred Visions" and "Horonia", each as softly spectacular as anything featuring Tony Allen and Toumani Diabate.

At nine minutes long, "North Wind" closes the album with the help of Allen, Badjogo, kora player Madou Sidiki Diabate, and keyboardist Jean-Philippe Dary – a slow, smoky cross-continental jam session that builds to a low-key ferocity. It makes for a majestic conclusion in its deliberate understatement, and The Darkness Between the Leaves makes for a perfect way to say farewell to hot, sticky summer and usher in awe-inspiring autumn.
By Adriane Pontecorvo

Mark Mulholland is a Scottish singer-songwriter-guitarist who keeps his passport handy: he’s lived and worked in most of Western Europe, Haiti and now Bamako, Mali, where he connected with ngoni player Yacouba Sissoko of the Afrocubism project. They’ve taken Mulholland’s introspective songs in a British folk mode (think Nick Drake or Alasdair Roberts), added filigrees from the Mande tradition, and fleshed out the band with fellow free-thinking Scottish guitarist Craig Ward and jazzy Belgian bassist Hannes d’Hoine. The result is something like what The Pentangle would sound like today, after the world music revolution made African music widely available. The core quartet is augmented by a host of celebrity guests who really make the session cook. In particular, Fela Kuti’s drummer Tony Allen, terrific in just about any context, takes tracks 1, 5 and 8 to a higher plane. Also outstanding are balafonist Lassana Diabate (Trio Da Kali) on 2 and 5, and kora player Madou Sidike Diabate on 2 and 8. Madou’s older brother, the legendary Toumani Diabate, also sits in on the title track (4). This is a thoroughly impressive project, hopefully just a first installment.
by Bill Lupoletti

They say that in life – and in music – timing is everything, and within ‘The Darkness Between the Leaves’ comes the feeling that we’re leaving summer and entering into the changing season of autumn, which, as I write this, we are.

The album opens with the words “the nights are getting colder, the summer birds are gone, the days are getting shorter…” and this feeling of the passing of time runs throughout this wonderful album.

Alba Griot Ensemble (Alba being the Gaelic name for Scotland and Griot roughly meaning a storyteller, musician or poet) is a clever hybrid of Celtic folk and blues played with traditional instruments of the West African country of Mali and is difficult to categorise. Fans of World Music will no doubt have in their collection more difficult styles of music to pigeon hole but those who follow more commercial styles will struggle to pin it down.

This isn’t the heavy rhythmic music that Paul Simon or David Byrne used in the 80’s, these are finely layered pieces which take on both genres without sounding like either is unwelcome at the table. We have acoustic guitar and double bass from typical folk music sitting side by side with a stringed lute-like instrument called a Ngoni, African percussion and subtle vocals.

The ngoni has a reputation for being able to be played fast, it features heavily especially on the instrumental ‘Horonia’ and shows its speed on ‘Shadow Queen’, it sounds lovely here and bridges the gap between African and Celtic music and sounds at home when the band move into blues and jazz territory.

There is a variation in the music that is welcomed and shows the ability of the band to stretch its legs into other styles of music, this keeps the listener interested because each song delivers a new flavour. ‘Long Way Home’ is one of three songs I keep returning to, it’s possibly the most straight forward track on the album yet it has a percussion and rhythm that remains enjoyable and accessible, ‘Blurred Visions’ with a melody similar to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ flies by at 5mins long before we end the album with ‘North Wind’. A mighty nine minutes in length, it gives the band, in particular the rhythm section, the chance to jam and groove until the album comes to an end. This song closes the album like the sunset closes the day. Great stuff.
by T. Bebedor

Mark Mulholland: guitar, voice
Yacouba Sissoko: ngoni, percussion
Craig Ward: guitar
Hannes d’Hoine: double bass
Tony Allen: percussion
Toumani Diabate: kora
Madou Sidiki Diabate: kora
Pamela Badjogo: vocal
Lassana Diabate: balaphon
Baba Sissoko: percussion
Jean-Philippe Dary: keyboard

Dave Odlum: producer

1. Melt My Blues Away
2. Shadow Queen
3. Blurred Visions
4. The Darkness Between The Leaves
5. Long Way Home
6. Horonia
7. Labyrinth
8. North Wind

wydano: 2018-09-28
more info: www.worldmusic.net
more info2: www.albagriot.com

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