|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
Tapestries of Sound’s debut album Unsung Yarns draws on world and folk musical influences from the Subcontinent, the Celtic world and the Middle East as well as contemporary folk elements with a few twists (like dub and bluegrass!) to unearth tales of Afghani cameleers, Australia’s Gaelic connection and a diverse heritage hiding in the shadows of colonial Australia’s cultural fringe. Unsung Yarns was first done as a themed performance by the band at the National Folk Festival in 2008. The songs were then recorded in Sydney with Greg Le Couteur (Shadowsounds) from 2008-10 and mastered by William Bowden (King Willy Sound). The independent album features the talents of 8 musicians including the vocals, rhythm guitar and harmonium of Mahesh Radhakrishnan, banjo and lead guitar by Dave Carr (Lolo Lovina/Dave Carr’s Fabulous Contraption), double-bass by Robin Dixon (Derwent River Star), violins by Jess Randall (The Crooked Fiddle Band), Mirabai Peart (Joanna Newsom band) and Alison McAlpine, percussion and backing vocals by both Joe Gould (The Crooked Fiddle Band) and Vanessa Alia, who also performs one of her own songs on the album. “a seamless movement, imbibing all the different warps and wefts of traditions it comes across.. listening to them you might feel Celtic and Carnatic were just meant to be together” – Indian Link a “kaleidoscopic mix of Indian, Middle-Eastern and Celtic sounds mixed with a dash of Aussie ballads” – Illawarra Mercury
Tapestries of Sound – Unsung Yarns Review by Chris Spencer
Tapestries of Sound blend Indian ragas, Middle Eastern microtones and Celtic melodies in unconventional rhythms and a variety of languages – a quote from the band’s website. If you can get your head around that description and you’re prepared to be daring, your listening senses will be challenged. The lead off track “Camelei” is probably the best example of what the band is about. It’s a song about the importance camels had for opening up remote areas in central Australia. Yet the music is ‘world music’, utilising unusual Middle Eastern instruments and rhythms. “Southern Star” continues much the same format, except this time the song has a strong female voice. This song incorporates a reel providing a Celtic feel adding interest. The Celtic mood is continued on the next song, “Callin deas cruite na mbo” which is a traditional Irish song sung in Irish! It’s given a very slow tempo, almost dirge-like. “Silverton Picnic Train” is a song about a real event that occurred in Broken Hill in 1915, where 4 innocent people were killed. The music uses a variety of instruments and at times is a cacophony of noise as the song relates the story. “Billy Blue” begins with the steady beat of death drum with the words spoken over the top. Gradually the stringed instruments are added, and the words are sung more than spoken. It ends with a bluegrass jam! “Na Connerys” is another traditional Irish song sung in Irish, but arranged using the band’s unusual traditional Indian instruments. It’s a very slow tempo underpinned by the droning harmonium. As the band points out on their website, the only 3 English words in the song are New South Wales! Finally the last song is another paean to the camel (“Captain of the Desert”) and it’s another very slow dirge until about halfway through the rhythm picks up. This is an album that those of you who enjoy world music or music with unusual instruments and time signatures will enjoy. Others might fi nd the challenge too much: I fall into the second category, but there’s much to listen to on this album.
5 in stock (can be backordered)