Posts Tagged ‘lau’

Top of the World albums: Songlines #129 (July 2017)

Posted on June 12th, 2017 in Features, Recent posts by .

Here is our selection of the top ten new releases reviewed in the July issue of Songlines. Tracks from each of these albums are included on the free cover-CD with issue #129.

To buy the new issue or to find out more about subscribing to Songlines, please visit:



Dona Onete
Mais um Discos
The Grande Dame is back with another dose of salubrious grooves from the north of Brazil. Despite being almost 80 years old, Onete is not slowing down. Find yourself some wiggle room.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Trio Tekke & Dave de Rose
Trio Tekke
This new collaboration with drummer Dave de Rose produces a more electric take on Trio Tekke’s funky reinvention of Greek traditional music.
Amazon | iTunes



Kronos Quartet
Folk Songs
A journey into the Appalachian tradition, combining classical elegance and avant-garde subversion. As magnificent as you would expect from Kronos.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Zabad, Twilight Tide
Harmonia Mundi
A stunningly hypnotic track from an excellent third album. While maintaining respect for the maqam tradition, intimate dialogue between instrumentalists allows the music to breathe and shine.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Vieux Farka Touré
Six Degrees Records
West Africa’s star guitarist does not disappoint with this masterful album, which was recorded in front of a small live audience.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Decade: The Best of Lau 2007-2017
Lau Scotland 
A magnificent compilation showcasing ten years of musical excellence.
Amazon | iTunes



Kondi Band
Strut Records
This pairing of thumb-piano and vocals with electronic textures makes for what is perhaps one of the most intriguing African albums so far this year.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Various artists  
Zaire 74: The African Artists
Wrasse Records
Global star Miriam Makeba performs with her Guinean Ensemble, recorded at the three-day music festival held in 1974 to coincide with the Rumble in the Jungle boxing match.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Maria Kalaniemi & Eero Grundström
Åkerö Records
Here accordionist Maria Kalaniemi and harmonium player Eero Grundström take us on a musical journey deep into the majestic Finnish forests.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify



Jayme Stone
Jayme Stone’s Folklife
Borealis Records
This rousing Caribbean dance tune is but one offering in this treasure trove of songs mostly derived from the seemingly inexhaustible archives of folklorists John and Alan Lomax.
Amazon | iTunes | Spotify

Pick up the July issue of Songlines to enjoy our Top of the World cover-CD, which contains tracks from each of the albums above. To find out more about subscribing to Songlines, visit:

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Win tickets to Kronos Quartet at the Barbican on May 9

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 in News, Recent posts by .

Kronos photographed in San Francisco, CA March 26, 2013©Jay Blakesberg

Win three pairs of tickets to see the Kronos Quartet at London’s Barbican 

Grammy Award-winners Kronos Quartet start their first tour in the UK since 2014 at London’s Barbican Centre on May 9 with an exciting programme of new music. Performing unique arrangements of The Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’, works by Laurie Anderson and Komitas, and Terry Riley’s One Earth, One People, One Love. They will also be joined on stage by British folk trio Lau’s Martin Green, who will perform the world premiere of his new piece, Seiche.

We have three pairs of tickets to the exclusive event to give away. Simply click here for your chance to win.

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Lau-Land Bristol, May 29-31

Posted on May 1st, 2015 in Live, News, Recent posts by .


The experimental folk trio Lau have made a name for themselves by pushing the boundaries. Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke speak to Jo Frost about curating their own festival, Lau-Land

Read our review of The Bell That Never Rang

Anyone familiar with Lau will be aware that the trio love a bit of collaboration – whether it’s performing with the Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu, wigging out with Norwegian jazzer Bugge Wesseltoft or creating avant-garde contemporary music with the Elysian Quartet. So the idea of them curating their own festival in order to perform with some of their favourite musicians seems like a no-brainer. The impetus behind Lau-Land is simple: “To present music that we find inspiring is our remit, which covers quite a lot of music,” Green explains. “And to try and get as much interaction as possible. It has always been good for us as musicians in such a small unit to take inspiration from outside sources.”

It undoubtedly helps that all three are voracious listeners of music. “I don’t think all bands love sitting around listening to music, but we genuinely do,” Green says. “There is always music in the van. It’s the perfect opportunity to listen to music.”

O’Rourke elaborates on the philosophy behind Lau-Land: “The whole ethos of collaboration is strong. It’s the theme that we wanted to run through them all; encourage as much collaboration onstage and offstage as possible. It’s a bit like ‘musical shepherding,’” O’Rourke laughs, “get them in an enclosure together and see what happens!”

There’s a clear pride in their folk origins that certainly influences the programming. “We’re really proud of our folkie thing,” Green acknowledges. One aspect of this is the traditional music session. “It’s a kind of social phenomenon,” explains Green, “how we can introduce this thing that we love to other people?”

Among the names on the Bristol Lau-Land programme are Tinariwen and Omar Souleyman. “There’s something about Tinariwen’s sound and their landscape which you can completely connect with, which has always interested me,” O’Rourke says. “As far as music is concerned, the music we write as a band, it’s all about places and landscapes – this is so obvious and beautiful in Tinariwen’s music.”

There are less obvious connections with the Syrian wedding singer, Omar Souleyman. At the time of speaking it’s not clear whether there will be a collaborative element to Souleyman’s set but O’Rourke confesses that he’d love to see a piper onstage with the singer: “I can just totally hear traditional Scottish Highland bagpipes with this music!”

There are plenty of other aspects to give the event its USP: the Lau-Lab, ‘a platform for traditional and experimental musicians to meet and learn from each other,’ and the Collaboration Station, which involves some jazzers, a few folkies and electronic musicians spending a day together, culminating in a free public performance on the Friday night. Then there’s the Emerging Music Platform, a stage for up-and-coming acts, selected by Lau.

Audience participation has become very much a part of Lau-Land. “Folkies go to festivals and expect to play in sessions and do workshops. That exists much less outside the folk world but there’s no real reason why it should not exist,” says Green. So there will be a range of workshops, including Sam Lee doing a song collecting workshop and Hacker Farm doing one about instrument-making. After London, Gateshead, Edinburgh and Bristol, where next? “We like the idea it’s a moveable festival,” explains O’Rourke, “we could do it anywhere, anytime… we’ve even talked about doing one in Tokyo.” It looks like Lau’s musical utopian vision is about to go global.

DATES The next Lau-Land takes place at Colston Hall in Bristol from May 29-31. Songlines Magazine is an official media partner. Buy tickets.

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Album Review | Top of the World | Lau – The Bell That Never Rang

Posted on May 1st, 2015 in Recent posts, Reviews by .


_TOTWLau_NEW_frontThis time the innovative trio have called in a Police Woman 

Captivating, exquisite, stunning. The excitable flurry of deserving superlatives that followed Lau’s live performances with the Elysian Quartet were even longer than Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke’s collection of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Featured as the album’s 17-minute centrepiece, the Elysian collaboration was originally commissioned for the first New Music Biennial in early 2014. Alongside five other tracks, Lau have somehow succeeded in adding even more colours to their already expansive palette. Returning to Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland, the Scottish trio’s self-proclaimed spiritual home, The Bell That Never Rang was produced by Joan Wasser (Joan as Police Woman), who has given Lau a fresh outlook and removed any notion of insularity that can affect even the most open-minded of musicians. The Bell That Never Rang is less concerned with instrumental structures and individualism, and more with lush, flowing textures that Lau allow to evolve naturally through experimentation.

As a result this record is rich with emotional warmth and euphoric refrain in equal measure. It’s also an intimate affair, driven by Drever’s honeyed lilt and by lyrical themes of home and displacement, most poignantly observed on closer ‘Ghosts’, a welcomed re-recording from 2011. The distinct personalities of all three shine, yet their synergy is Lau’s strongest hand. It might be premature to call this the trio’s crowning glory, for Lau have improved with every subsequent release and I don’t believe that this trend will end anytime soon.

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