eclipsed, saksamaa (2017) — Trad.Attack!

eclipsed, saksamaa (2017)

Recalling old music traditions is in fashion. This young Estonian trio, whose music builds on long-forgotten village singers and other archive materials, is undoubtedly golden in their homeland. Sandra Vabarna plays the bagpipes, shaping the group’s sound along with a twelve-string guitar, a zither and a plethora of percussion instruments, all of which make for a wonderful combination of their homeland’s song traditions with modern pulsating rhythms. You may be looking for something familiar, but what you get is better. The fast-paced “Talgo/Working Bee” surprises with its flash of energy, which is more rock and metal than folk. The Jew’s harp becomes the main instrument, and the bagpipes turn into an electric guitar. The use of voice is excellent, conveying not only archaic singing techniques, but also imitating metal growls and providing structure with repetition. Mediaeval folk rock is of course tight with the hurdy-gurdy. Classic folk only emerges in ballads (“Unelaul/Lullaby”) and in many instances, it becomes psychedelic pop (e.g. in “Kabala”). The titular song, the grandiose ambient long track ties everything together with a bow.

Top track: “Kullakarva/Shimmer Gold”