Wednesday, December 10, 2014

CD Review: The Grass Harp's 2-CD Self-Release

The Grass Harp
The Grass Harp [2-CD]
Sketis Music

The folk music of Western Russia is diverse from a vocal and instrumental perspective. The Grass Harp proves music is a thing of beauty with the release of their new double-CD, self-titled album. There are Finno-Ugric leanings to to the music, as well as musical styles from Moldavian, German, Russian, and West African regions. Stefan Charisius is a teacher and composer with playing abilities on the kora, as well as Maria Korepanova on vocals, Matthia Schneider-Hollek on computer programming, Andrej Mikhajlov on percussion and wind instruments, Leonid Immenich on accordion, and Sergej Misjurev on other instruments. The blend of delicate rhythms, melodies, and instrumental interactions are beautiful, improvisational, and historic. It seems as if the music from centuries ago comes alive throughout both album discs in a very organic and trouble-free manner. There are metallic sounds, crystalline noises, and animal-like sounds that emanate from the various instruments. The vocal traditions are definitely of the folk music variety with various chants and tunes presented in a rather abrupt and solid way. Fans of Russian folk, Finno-Ugric musical styles, vocal traditions, shamanic styles, and music with a sort of fusion backbone will love The Grass Harp. ~ Matthew Forss

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