Listening Diary for May 30 – June 5, 2022: Liam O’Flynn, M G Boulter, Boxing Banjo, Faun

Not too many albums this time, been busy doing other things, but at least this much…

The late master piper Liam O’Flynn’s 🇮🇪 two albums, The Green Note (1995) and The Piper’s Call (1998) were a great pleasure. Wonderful playing, excellent tunes, and the way he integrated electric instruments into the fabric reminds me of Alasdair Fraser’s Skyedance band’s three albums (two studio, one live) which is a big plus in my books. Utterly charming music from someone who looked beyond his own musical culture. Timeless stuff.

The singer-songwriter M G Boulter 🇬🇧 has been very much up and coming over the past few years and his third full album, Clifftown (2021) is my first contact with his music. Fab stuff; the comparisons with Paul Simon are not far off as his voice, lyrics and band arrangements bear a certain familiarity with Mr Simon – even if in an interview he said he’s never owned a single Paul Simon album! In any case, it’s a strong and fascinating album, with brilliant lyrics and strong atmosphere.

The second album from Boxing Banjo 🇮🇪, aptly titled Round Two, was a fun listen but, to me, a bit uneven. The instrumental tunes are fine and they must be a great live band, but the songs didn’t really catch my attention too much. But that may be just a matter of personal taste in this case. Fine playing throughout, in any case.

And, finally, a step outside the CeltBrit genre – I just have to mention this because I really got into this instantly. I had never heard of a German ”Pagan Folk” (that’s what they call it) band Faun until Deezer, the streaming platform of my choice (they pay a lot more ta artists than Spotify or Apple) recommended them. It seems they are very popular, judging by the huge number of followers on Deezer and Facebook, so I must have just missed them before. I randomly chose an album called Luna (2014) and it was an instant hit in this house. The cover art suggested a cheapo pseudo-mediaeval band (with lots of synths and metal guitars) but it turned out to be acoustic, very rich and pulsating, as their chosen genre tag promises. Very well made and played, and even the German language didn’t bother me this time 😉 I need to look deeper into their catalogue, there’s a pile of albums they’ve put out. I’m heavily into Medieval and Renaissance music anyway so this one was a direct hit. Nice!

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