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Maja de Rado & Porodicna Manufaktura Crnog Hleba - Stvaranje CD (album) cover


Maja de Rado & Porodicna Manufaktura Crnog Hleba


Prog Folk

2.64 | 7 ratings

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2 stars Sometimes it can be fun to listen to something completely foreign to your musical paradigm – literally in this case. This is some sort of folk band from the former Yugoslavia, circa early seventies. The female vocalist is quite charming with a clear Sandy Denny kind of earthy and pure-sounding high alto that can’t help but come off as slightly psych considering the timeframe, the accompanying woodwinds, and the abundance of acoustic guitar. So acid folk I guess, although I really never understood what that term was supposed to mean.

This is folk for sure though, lots of ethnic instrumentation that most Western people have probably never heard of, except that I’ve listened to Third Ear Band, Amazing Blondel, and even the Decemberists, so now I know what a tambouritza is when I hear one. Points for that little bit of cosmopolitan knowledge.

This isn’t very complex music, and the production quality ranges from okay to truly horrible, but for some reason Atlantide re-released this a few years back and cleaned the tracks up a bit, so I suppose this is the best quality one can expect from Yugoslavia nearly a third of a century ago. Most of the tracks feature the tambouritza rather prominently, either setting the tone for the (mostly acoustic) guitar, or replacing it altogether. The drums are mostly hand drums – bongos I think, and the bass is an upright. There are some keyboards that sort of support the acid tag on this music, but really these are mostly just a series of what seem to be folk tunes, maybe traditional, spruced up just a bit with drums and a little guitar, but largely just unambitious folk.

There are a couple of songs that I’m quite sure I’ve heard somewhere before but can’t figure out where, and the liner notes are pretty much non-existent here. “Bez zbogom” is the most notable, and I’m quite sure this is a traditional arrangement, even if the composition and lyrics are not. The music consists basically of a couple of picked scales on the tambouritza, faint snare drums, heavy flute, and acoustic guitar. In other words, this is some kind of tale of a foolish villager, or a legend or something, but I can’t for the life of me place the arrangement.

“Pa sto” is similar except quite a bit slower, with mournful female vocals and a latin- sounding acoustic guitar being strummed behind the sad voice of the singer. Very pretty, too bad I’ve no idea what they are singing about. Could be something like “so the sun set behind the hill and we overthrew the capitalist American pigs and fed their carcasses to the communal village swine” for all I know. I’d be the tourist sitting in the audience giving a clueless thumbs-up.

I’d be curious to hear from someone who knows this band to find out if they are supposed to be anything special. Speaking purely on the merits of a few listens and with nothing else to draw from, I would say this is a decent semi-modern eastern European folk album with very weak production quality and little complexity in the arrangements. In other words, about 2.5 stars, but certainly not three, so we’ll make it two.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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