Kissing Spell Rec. Eisthlinn (2001)**°
Singer Allison O'Donnell has now her residence in Kalmthout, Flanders, Belgium. Flemish folk is in a boom last years. Strangely enough (except for the electro dance music may be) this part of Belgium never experienced much progressive movements in any music genre. Also Flemish folk stayed rather traditional in style. Although many artists have the skill to open up in live explorations most recordings that make it onto CD are just ok, never fantastic. Almost all of them that I heard so far (with "Something Within" from Vera Coomans & Tom Theuns as one beautiful exception) on a pure musical inventive, personal, creative and renewing way for me don't have much interesting or original to offer for an historical international perspective on musicality. I don't understand why in studio most recordings are even more clean and simple. This item has luckily a good balanced production with technical abilities . It's mostly still rooted in what I now call old fashioned styles, played in a giggly jangling mode. This might be satisfying for lots of people, but in this way it's clear that also this item suffers from too obvious influences. In the selection of material there's some lack of imagination (3 songs are made famous by Sandy Denny), as well as in deeply interpreting the songs. The voice of Allison is pleasant but in fact doesn't reach too deep into the experience of the songs. The skilled musicians won't help this much either. "Banks of the Nile" for instance is unnecessarily rushed both in its vocal delivery and musical arrangement thus denying the song's sense of tragedy that the subject matter evokes. I liked very much the way the CD starts with an Indian tune, played almost on an Irish way, then perfectly inclined with two Irish tunes. Like most Flemish folk, all the music is played incredibly correct, and while in general this sounds rather fine, at the same time it lacks the excitement of a spontaneous spiritual nature, which progressive music had experienced so often in the seventies. Still I am sure this CD is pleasant enough for fitting into the ears of those who are already firmly fixed into what happened in general in Flemish folk music. If you look for a musically balanced CD and you like several of the traditional tunes when played very well with an added voice which sounds very pleasant you might like this CD very well.
Who cooperated here ? Philip Masure as guitarist participated with the new famous Belgian bands like Orion, Laïs, Ambrozijn. Wim Poessen, flute player, was influenced by the most traditional Irish folk bands (like Dubliners,..) and learned the Irish styled flute and pipes. Guido Picard,(together with Guido he is also a member of the traditional dance folk band "Limburgs Dansorkest") mandolins, cittern, mandola, bouzouki, played before in local folk and blues bands, specialised with his private recordings in Belgium folk music. He played with Orion, Laïs and many more. Janneke Donnersloot, is a Dutch violin player mostly for folk dance music.
Review by L.Woolfe ("Mark & the Woolfeman" -singer/songwriters radioshow-) and me, GeraldPsyche ("PVHF"-progressive crossovers radioshow) both producers on Radio Centraal, Antwerp