CD review by Hugh Worrall
TN2419-87 – $25
TN155 Apr 23
There is something very dignified about this collection of songs.
Pol Huellou is a mature folk musician who has released lots of music.
The website, Overblog, says he’s an “artist, musician, lyricist and travelling singer with his base in Plougasnou” (translated from French by Google!).
He seems like an interesting guy who you’d like to hang out with in a French bar or at a small music festival in Brittany.
Listening to this music gives me the idea that Pol Huellou is someone who values the local and live, and the interaction with his musician colleagues.
He includes a lot of people on this album.
Pol Huellou is from Brittany in France and there are some French and Breton language songs on the album.
He also sings some songs in English with a strong French accent.
Pol clearly has an affection with various celtic peoples and musics.
He plays Irish songs and uses Irish, Scottish and French celtic sounds.
We hear a range of different acoustic, folk instruments that we don’t normally hear together.
Pol Huellou plays tin whistle, recorder, harmonic flute, sanza (kalimba) and shakuhachi.
Other musicians on the album play guitar, bass clarinet, bodhran, accordion, celtic harp, keyboards and banjo.
It’s an eclectic collection of music.
While the instrumentation strongly features the acoustic instruments, most of the music has a kind of ‘cool’ sound, relaxed and controlled.
Some tracks have a nice groove, particularly track 10 ‘The Tube’, which is basically a jam with ‘harmonic flute’ (made of PVC tube?), bass and snare drum.
While a lot of the album is instrumental, I must say that Pol Huellou’s singing isn’t my favourite part of the music.
He does have a distinctive vocal style, a bit like a soft, French Tom Waits.
He shares the vocals with Michele Kerhoas, who sings in French.
I’m not familiar with his back story but online sources say he is a “political activist” and has been involved with the peace movement.
It’s interesting that there’s not much online about him and there’s no website information included on the CD.
I don’t think he’s that kind of guy.
This is an enjoyable album with lots of different sounds on it.
This album would work as something interesting you can have on in the background or you can listen carefully for all the different influences in the music.
I think it would be very enjoyable if you understand French and can listen without having to think about translating.