SIMONE ALVES & YANN GOURVIL Astrakan Project Carga 015
Sometimes I get hoist by my own prejudices and preconceived ideas. So it was that I glanced at the back of this album, noted the legend “A colourful and delicate oriental shine over wild Celtic music”, and the dread vision of Loreeena Newage materialised. And so it festered unplayed in the ‘oh f*** do I really have to listen to this?’ pile on my desk for several weeks, until we were just about to go press with this issue.
Don’t do that at home. Should a copy of this CD appear in your letterbox, hopefully because this review may have alerted you to it, seize it and put it in your player straight away. You will not be disappointed.
For ‘Celtic’, do not read ‘wifty-wafty-synthy-twee’, but instead gloriously full-throated, truly inspiring Breton singing and melodies from Simone Alves. For ‘a colourful and delicate oriental shine’, read ‘roaring, intricate, fiery, imaginative accompaniments’ from multi-instrumentalist Yann Gourvil on oud, electric saz (or baglama as the Turks call it), violin and programmed percussion.
Indeed, for ‘oriental’, don’t read ‘Far East’ as we Brits tend to use it, but ‘from the Eastern reaches of the Mediterranean’. It’s the sort of production that wouldn’t sound out of place on the better contemporary Turkish roots records – it turns out that they’ve lived and studied in Istanbul for the past few years – and it’s obviously a close relative to what Kristi Stassinopoulou & Stathis Kalyviotis did with Greekadelia. In fact I’d christen it Breton-Turkadelia if I hadn’t run out of credit in the ‘name a genre a day’ fund.
When I hit them up for a copy of the biog that this maltreated review copy had obviously got separated from, I found that they were involved in one of the sainted Erik Marchand’s inspiring projects that included Ross Daly, Thierry ‘Titi’ Robin and Keyvan Chemirani. That makes complete sense, and they are justifiably spoken of in the same breath as those iconic names. And if that doesn’t get you people who know about that sort of thing reaching for your credit cards, I don’t know what will.
A truly fabulous, spirit-raising album.
• astrakanproject.comIan Anderson
We’ve been hardly focusing on music recently, due to all the events that are happening right now in Turkey. We’ll try to tell you soon a few personal feelings from “the inside”. In the meantime, we are proud, really really proud to read this review about our album in fRoots current issue.
Really, if you hadn’t heard about our music already, doesn’t it feel like you would love to straight away?