Posts Tagged ‘garth cartwright’

Introducing… Tcha Limberger

Posted on March 22nd, 2014 in News, Recent posts by .


Garth Cartwright chats to the blind violinist about his Belgian roots and his continued fascination with Hungarian Gypsy music

When Tcha Limberger’s Budapest Gypsy Orchestra take to the UK for an extensive March tour, it will give music lovers an opportunity to hear a uniquely Hungarian music form. Limberger is from Belgium and toured the UK last November with his Kalotaszeg Trio (who play a specific form of Transylvanian folk music). He is a musical dynamo whose huge passion for music, especially those of Europe’s Romani people, has led him to seek out multiple musical genres. A slim man who has been blind since birth, Limberger speaks eight languages, plays guitar, clarinet and violin (“my main instrument, even though I did not begin playing it until I was 19”) and speaks with intelligence and eloquence.

“I was born in Bruges. My mother is Flemish and my father a Manouche Gypsy guitar player. Aged six I started learning how to play flamenco guitar. My father had been to the Gitan [Gypsy] Pilgrimage at Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer [in Provence] and returned with gramophone records so this is how I came to know this music. At the same time I got interested in music from all around the world: Bolivian Indian music and New Orleans jazz are two forms I learned to play. Aged 13 I joined my father’s brother’s band playing clarinet and we played Gypsy jazz and some Hungarian music too.”

Limberger describes various musicians he met as a teenager who helped him understand different music forms. “I’m not a purist but I’m not attracted by a lot of fusion. Rock is something that never attracted me – acoustic music is important to me. In my teens my father and I went to Budapest to play. It felt like sitting in a hot bath – it just felt so good! I knew then, at 19, this is what I wanted to do. The Budapest style of Hungarian music uses a classical basis, which is contrary to other Gypsy music styles.”

Transylvanian Folk Music

Limberger became so immersed in Hungarian music he decided to learn Hungarian. Having done so (via braille and a tutor provided by Brussels’ Hungarian embassy), he shifted to Budapest, “and I found out what I had been warned about – the music I wanted to play is dying out very quickly. Magyar nóta is Hungarian chanson music born at the end of the 1700s. It is derived from village music but more polished and got popular quickly. The dying out of Magyar nóta was due to people now thinking it was very cheesy.”

With his Budapest Gypsy Orchestra Limberger has stripped Magyar nóta back to its roots and their album Bura Termett Ido is a beautiful document.

“The repertoire I play is hugely complicated and difficult to play. I had to find my own style. That cost some years. Back in Belgium I got called one night to come and play with a local Hungarian band and I was like ‘wow, Hungarians want me to play!’ I played all night and it clicked!”

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Top of the World: The Hot 8 Brass Band – The Life & Times Of…

Posted on December 17th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words by Garth Cartwright

The Hot 8 Brass Band have every right to sing the blues. Forced to flee New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation this youthful ensemble has seen four members die before their time: three to the epidemic of violence that is a cancer on the Big Easy’s black community; one to hypertension – another ghetto disease. Trumpeter Terrell Batiste lost his legs in an automobile accident. Yet nothing in The Hot 8’s music suggests despair. Instead, the finest of the Big Easy’s young street brass bands make music that bursts with exuberance and joy. Their debut album Rock With The Hot 8 was released on Tru Thoughts, a Brighton-based label, in 2007 and made a strong impact. Five years on and The Hot 8 are back and sounding fabulously loose and greasy. 

The Hot 8’s members grew up as part of the rap generation and their sound has the unmistakeable swagger of hip-hop. The clatter of bass and snare drum mixed with horns that play beautifully sweet and sour patterns creates a big sound, sometimes instrumental, other times with an MC leading the band in a call-and-response manner. Tunes such as ‘New Orleans (After The City)’ and ‘Let Me Do My Thing’ brim with a raucous, sexy exuberance. The influence of having toured Britain is also evident – The Hot 8 cover Basement Jaxx’s ‘Bingo Bango’ and The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’. The latter is especially appropriate for New Orleans, yet The Hot 8 don’t attempt to emulate Jerry Dammers’ moody waltz tempo. Instead, they turn it into a big brass roar.

Superbly recorded so to keep all the excitement of a street performance and beautifully packaged with images Banksy left on the walls of post-Katrina New Orleans, The Life & Times Of… is one of 2012’s finest albums.

TRACK TO TRY: Ghost Town

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Top of the World Review: Tom Paley’s Old-Time Moonshine Revue – Roll On, Roll On

Posted on September 9th, 2012 in Recent posts, Reviews by .

Words by Garth Cartwright

84-year old US folk veteran returns with a fine album

Tom Paley is something of a living legend. One of the handful of musicians who kicked off the US folk revival in the late 1940s, he was a founder member of the New Lost City Ramblers, the remarkable trio who inspired Bob Dylan (amongst others). Paley has continued to play folk clubs and festivals in the UK, Sweden and the US over the decades and release the occasional album but Roll On, Roll On is something else indeed. The debut release from new London label Hornbeam, it finds Paley surrounded by a crack team of pickers and recorded in a relaxed atmosphere that brings the best of the music out.

The album opens with Paley’s ‘Roll On, Roll On’ – this in itself is fascinating to hear as Paley has always been more of an interpreter than a songwriter – and closes with Leadbelly’s anthemic ‘The Midnight Special’ (Paley knew Leadbelly back in the 1940s). In between, there are all kinds of traditional American songs including ‘The Mourning Blues’ by Uncle Dave Macon (an original inspiration for Paley), the wonderfully titled ‘Shove That Pig’s Foot A Little Further In The Fire’ and ‘The Whiskey Seller’, an old New Lost City Ramblers song. The band accompanying Paley play superbly and, while his voice is a little croaky at times, this only adds flavour to these songs that, in some cases, date back centuries. Beautifully packaged with excellent liner notes, Roll On, Roll On is a great celebration of a remarkable talent and a simply lovely album.

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The new July Songlines podcast is now available through iTunes

Posted on June 8th, 2012 in News, Recent posts by .

This podcast includes highlights from the July 2012 issue of Songlines (#85), opening with music by Feufollet as part of our cover feature on Cajun Country music. Songlines editor-in-chief Simon Broughton plays an excerpt by Los Van Van, a bonus track chosen by Roger Lloyd Pack as part of his playlist this issue. 

Features include: Garth Cartwright on Cajun music, Doug DeLoach with his Beginner’s Guide to Alison Krauss & Union Station and Russ Slater talks about the Ondatropica band from Colombia who will be playing at BT River of Music. Nathaniel Handy brings you the latest news with the Official UK World Music Album Chart and more. The podcast ends with music from Vinicio Caposella (Ponderosa).

You can listen to the podcast on iTunes here or subscribe to our podcasts via RSS feed here

The next Songlines podcast, featuring highlights from the August/September issue (#86), will be available from  July 20 2012.

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