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Banda Do Casaco - Contos Da Barbearia CD (album) cover


Banda Do Casaco

Prog Folk

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars Looks like there’d been a few lineup changes in the band since their first album a few years prior, the most noticeable being the absence of female vocalists Judi Brennan and Helena Afonso. There’s still a woman singing (Rita Rodrigues) but she’s listed as a guest musician.

The sound is mostly the same, although there are several ethnic inflections that are more prominent than on the band’s debut. There is what appears to be a bit of a Moroccan or Algerian leaning with some of the acoustic percussion, particularly on the opening track and the oddly-formed rhythms of “A Noite Passada em Caminha”. The Celtic influence is quite strong throughout with multiple flautists, and the alternating irregular tempos and chanting that is often heard in ethnic Asturian music of the Iberian peninsula’s folk musicians. Not sure if that’s where these guys hail from, but the indications are there in the music. The more notable representative works of this sound include the idyllic “La Pastorica”; the more upbeat “O Enterro do Tostão”; and the surprisingly peppy “Zás Pás”, which could have passed for a pop tune in the early eighties.

The almost lumbering cadences of heavier folk bands like Jethro Tull and even Amazing Blondel surface at times, especially in the almost martial beat of “O Diabo da Velha”, and on the medieval-sounding “Godofredo Cheio de Medo”. That last one also has the only overt use of horns, although they can be heard faintly on several other tracks.

The only time this really manages to sound like a Latin album is with the intricate and beautiful Spanish guitar solo on “Amo Tracinho te”, a short that also makes great use of the cello to cement the mournful and languid mood of the piece.

This is clearly a folk work of the highest order, and frankly could be considered a world music piece for all the ethnic influences it showcases. The vocals are pretty much all Portuguese, so the meaning of most of the songs is left to the imagination of non native speakers. But overall this is a very pleasant albeit rather short album (barely over half an hour). I can’t say that it is essential, and perhaps it doesn’t quite qualify as excellent either. But there are no filler tracks and the musicianship is top-notch. So as a prog-folk work I think four stars is a fair assessment. Well recommended to prog-folk fans as well as those who are interested in Celtic flavored music of the Iberian variety.


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Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink

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