The Essential 10: Family Albums

Posted on May 23rd, 2014 in News, Recent posts by .


Words Simon Broughton, Jo Frost, Alexandra Petropoulos

There’s a clear familial intimacy in the music of Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté – and other bands of parents, children and siblings. Here’s our selection of top family bands.

Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson – Gift (Topic Records, 2010)
You can’t really talk about English folk music without mentioning Waterson: Carthy – the group comprising Martin Carthy and his wife Norma Waterson together with daughter Eliza. But this album marks the first time Eliza and Norma had recorded just as a duo (a Top of the World in #70). Not to be outdone, there’s a father-daughter release coming out in June – The Moral of the Elephant. JF

Gipsy Kings – Roots (Sony, 2004)
Consisting of the Reyes brothers and their cousins, the Baliardo brothers, the French kings of rumba flamenca are a family band to the max. This release, a Top of the World in #24, saw them return to their cante jondo flamenco roots and leave behind the gimmicky frills of their previous (and subsequent) recordings. AP

Joi – One and One is One (Real World Records, 1999)
Brothers Haroon and Farook Shamsher were pioneers of the UK’s 90s Asian Underground scene. This, their debut, was swiftly heralded as a classic but sadly Haroon died of a heart attack shortly after its release and just two weeks before the duo were set to play WOMAD. Farook continued and graced the cover of Songlines #8. JF

JPP – String Tease (Rockadillo, 1998)
The greatest of Finnish fiddle bands – and regulars at the Kaustinen festival. JPP is short for Järvelän Pikkupelimannit (Little Folk Musicians of Järvelä), which is both the village they hail from and the family name. The six-piece band includes father Mauno Järvelä, son Arto Järvelä and cousins as guests. This was their sixth album, and it also included Swedish band Väsen on two tracks. SB

Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni ba – Jama Ko (Out Here, 2012)
Bassekou’s Ngoni ba has always been a family affair, though the line-up has changed ever so slightly with each release. On his last effort, which won the Malian ngoni star one of this year’s Songlines Music Awards (see p28), Bassekou is joined by his two sons Madou and Moustafa, and as always, the powerful voice of his wife Amy Sacko. AP

The Savoy Family Band – Cajun Album (Arhoolie Records, 2003)
Widely considered as Cajun music royalty, the Savoy family are husband and wife Marc and Ann, joined here by their talented offspring Joel, Wilson and Sarah. If you want to delve into the roots of music from Louisiana, then this album of sweet, melodic waltzes and two-steps is a great place to start. JF 

Söndörgő – Tamburising: Lost Music of the Balkans (World Village, 2011)
Three brothers and a cousin from the Eredics family are included in Söndörgő, along with their unrelated bass player. They play the fiery and virtuoso tambura music of the southern Slav (Serbian and Croatian) communities in Hungary. They’re not just a family band, but the sons of a family band – their father was a founding member of Vujicsics. Tamburising was a Top of the World album in #78. SB

The Tau Moe Family with Bob Brozman – Remembering the Songs of Our Youth (Rounder, 1999)
This is a unique disc in which guitar player Bob Brozman joins veteran Hawaiian musicians Tau and Rose Moe in recreating songs they performed from 1927-34 in Madame Riviere’s Hawaiians. It was a period when Hawaiian music, with the acoustic steel guitar and falsetto vocals became hugely popular. When this record was made, Tau and Rose had been performing together for over 60 years. They are joined here by their children Lani and Dorian. SB

Trio Chemirani – Tchechmeh (Emouvance, 2004)
The name Chemirani has virtually become a synonym for Iranian percussion. Father Djamchid and sons Keyvan and Bijan Chemirani, based in France, are masters of the zarb or tombak, the Persian goblet drum. They are all involved in other projects, but as a trio they come together as a formidable percussive force – not loud, but wonderfully intricate. SB

Le Trio Joubran – AsFâr (World Village, 2011)
Brothers Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran have made their name as one of the most innovative groups to have come out of the Middle East. Despite side solo projects, it is here together on AsFâr that the Palestinian brothers best showcase their talents. The impressive emotional range displayed here prove that they are indeed the ultimate masters of the oud ensemble. AP

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