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On Seven Winds

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Album Review

Kornog's second album features a broad range of material, from the lovely set of Breton gavottes that opens the program to the Bulgarian ratchenitza that ends it in a lightning-fast 7/16 dance meter. The combination of French and East European dance steps with a Celtic instrumentation (flute, guitar, fiddle, bouzouki) and playing style is part of what distinguishes the music of Brittany from other, more familiar Celtic traditions. The angular, modal melodies are also distinctive, as demonstrated on tunes like the almost medieval-sounding "Toniou Bale" and the stark and lovely "Dans Plinn." In a somewhat strange juxtaposition with the rest of the program, bandleader Jamie McMenemy sings "The Shuttle Rins," a 19th-century Scottish song written by Henry Syme "for the encouragement of the working classes." "Sweetly may the shuttle rin/That wins the bairnie's bread," goes part of the chorus, and the melancholy image of a young mother toiling at a loom to feed her baby contrasts heartbreakingly with the song's sweet and gentle melody. This is a lovely record.


Formed: 1981

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s

The music of Brittany was introduced to much of the world through the playing of Kornog. During the six years that they were initially together (1981 to 1987), the group toured nearly non-stop and released four memorable albums. More than a decade since they went their separate ways, the members of Kornog have reunited. Despite the lengthy sabbatical, the group's mixture of Scottish ballads and original instrumentals sound as exciting as ever. Kornog represented the combined vision of four highly-talented...
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On Seven Winds, Kornog
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