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WÖR - Sssht

WÖR - Sssht
Appel Rekords APR1374

It’s taken me nearly 60 years to realise that Baa Baa Black Sheep is really Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star with variations. Yet here it is stealing quietly into a fascinating CD of tunes collected from town musicians located in north-eastern Belgium, from almost 300 years back. The tune, Gedachten, is introduced on fiddle with drone, and joined after a moment by the full band playing baritone sax, accordion, guitar and bagpipes (sounding occasionally like a hurdy-gurdy). A joyous and fulsome sound. Hot on its heels in Peeken follows a tune I know as the northern-Scottish variant of Buttered Peas (is nothing sacred?).

Since visiting the St.Chartier pipers’ festival nearly 20 years ago, my mind has been blown away with the thrill which the pipes can bring to dance music. Then add a funky sax or two and you’ve got an idea of the fun which emanates from this band. The recording is crisp, clean and devoid of any irritating studio effects. Some arrangements are reminiscent of Playford with rose-tinted specs, then suddenly we have a plaintive air on musette, Aimable.

This is not David Munrow, nor The Academy of Ancient Music, it is a collation of sounds, textures and refreshing ideas, of its time. There is a small number of bands from across Northern Europe who over the past 25 years or so have produced sounds reminiscent of what WÖR play on this CD. This is a worthwhile addition if you wish to grow that collection. It is a pleasurable listening, in that context.

C. John Edwards

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.