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EN PUBLIC

Malicorne

Prog Folk


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andrea
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album was recorded live in Montreal in 1978 ("El Casino" - 2/12/1978 and 3/12/1978) when Malicorne were probably at their best. If you're not familiar with this band I think that "En public" could be a very good introduction to their music.

The first track "La semaine" (also known as "Couché tard levé matin", originally released on Malicorne IV) describes the hard week of a farmer and is played in medley with two traditional dances featuring the violin in the forefront.

"Le mariage anglais" is a beautiful ballad with an elaborated arrangement that tells the story of a French king's daughter compelled to marry an Englishman because of "political reasons".

"Le prince d'Orange" is a traditional song arranged "à cappella" with beautiful harmony vocals. It is a song against war and tells the story of a French prince wounded to death by the English army.

"L'écolier assassin" is a beautiful and melancholic long ballad that tells the story of a man that, following the wicked advice of his mother, kills his sweetheart. Sad and "noir", this is one of my favourite Malicorne's song (the original version is on "Almanach").

"Pierre de Grenoble" is another sad love ballad. It is played in medley with "Schiarazzula marazzula" (also known as Schiarazula marazula or Schiarazzola marazzola), a composition of Giorgio Mainerio from Aquileia (1535-1582) that is part of the repertory of the Benandanti, an heterodox sect strongly influenced by the Jewish- Christian culture that had in the sacred dance one of the most typical features: the «schiarazz» and the «marazz» were respectively the reed and the fennel used by them during their night rites... By the way, if you like this genre. A version of "Schiarazula marazula" with lyrics in Italian was released in 1978 by Angelo Branduardi as "Ballo in fa diesis minore". Branduardi released also an English version of this song with lyrics written by Peter Sinfield and a French one with lyrics by Etienne Roda-Gil. Another Branduardi's version of this piece is on the album "Futuro antico II (Sulle orme dei Patriarchi)".

The dark "La danse des damnés" tells the story of four boys and four girls condemned to dance until they die. It is a good introduction to some reels and to the following instrumental "Suite de branles", a medley of traditional dances featuring as a special guest Brian Gulland (Gryphon) on bassoon and flute, where the members of the band show their great musicianship and energy.

The final track "C'est le mai" is another short arrangement "à cappella" where the band ask the public to join them in their amazing harmony vocals.

In the whole "En public" is an excellent album. If you like The Pentangle, Fairport Convention and Gryphon and if you are interested in the French language and culture I'm sure that you'll fall in love with it.

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Send comments to andrea (BETA) | Report this review (#77343)
Posted Saturday, May 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
4 stars Malicorne have been my favourite folk-related band ever since I got to know them from this album. They played traditional French folk and did usually not stray too far from the lyrical content of the originals. But they had a number of qualities that made them stand out in the scene.

First of all I would mention their intense performance that is soaked in melancholy. The Lebanese/French singer Gabriel Yacoub is the central point. His slightly nasal plaintive voice, his rich guitar chords, and the harmonies delivered by the entire band are Malicorne's main point of attraction.

Secondly they have always applied very inspired and lush arrangements that were really innovative at their time and still sound fresh today: acoustic and non-distorted electric guitar, violin, percussion, background synthesisers for texture and a battery of traditional instruments and even a few self-invented ones. They almost never use a rock drum kit so don't expect the Fairport Convention approach. Malicorne sounds entirely different: mainly acoustic, melancholic and French of course.

En Public is one of Malicorne's finest moments. The live performances of Ecolier Assassin and Pierre de Grenoble are simply stunning. Due to a whole suite of French/Canadian dances and reels, this album is more folksy then most of their studio albums.

Given the popularity of The Decemberist these days, it might be a good time to explore this influential band that revitalised folk music in the 70's and made it compelling for rock audiences. Depending on your receptiveness towards acoustic folk, you either might want to start here or with their best studio album Almenach.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#249794)
Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | Review Permalink

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