Bart Vanoutrive, new folk sounds, Pays-Bas (2018) — Trad.Attack!

Bart Vanoutrive, new folk sounds, Pays-Bas (2018)

When this trio decided to attack Estonian traditional music three years ago, at first the members of the band thought of it as a fun experiment for themselves. They didn’t want to be held back by anything. But their recipe turned out to be so delicious that they’ve now come out with two records. Sizzling and invigorating Estonian sounds that stitch together modern electronic music and old traditions with the energy of a dozen musicians – this is their motto.

They take scratchy old recordings of long-forgotten villagers and make their own pulsating, resounding rhythms. The music is made with a 12-string guitar (Jalmar Vabarna), drums (Tõnu Tubli, who also plays the zither and bells), a set of whistles, the mouth harp, and of course Estonian bagpipes, which Sandra Vabarna undeniably plays very well.

Vocals are present, of course, because the trio mostly works from the carefully documented old song texts (also translated into English in the liner notes), which they perform with respect to the traditions of their homeland. Among others, they showcase runo-songs – such as the uptempo ‘Working Bee’ – and polyphonic singing.

Their version of the children’s song ‘Ride’ sounds hypersonic, and gives the impression of a danger-riddled chase. Love and all the tragedies it brings are a favoured subject, used to create more intimate emotions. The band also plays some instrumental pieces that make for great dance music, such as ‘Polka Now’ (for those who are light on their feet). Bears (‘Mõmm’) and wolves (‘Golden Kings of the Woods’) serve as source of inspiration and admiration. Finally – the titular song ‘Shimmer Gold’ is a reworking of an 1889 chorus; a solid tongue twister.