Artist/ Band: Didier Francois
Title: Nyckelharpa Solo
Label: HomeRecords
Year of Release: 2011
Offical Artist/ Band Link

The Review:

Since the early days of Genesis, I began exploring the many styles that they, among other favorite progressive rock bands were dipping their cups in, to come up with this incredible stuff. Some of those bands such as Genesis, Strawbs, Jethro Tull, and a couple dozen other bands I had been turned on to, were using heavy doses of traditional folk as inspiration and sometimes main base. I soon became aware of bands like Bothy Band, The Chieftains, Steeleye Span, Clannad, Planxty, Battlefield Band, and a good deal of others that were more grounded in this huge cornucopia of folk all over the world. With all of these came Alan Stivell’s “Renaissance of the Celtic Harp” that really captured my ears and soul. So through the years I continues to explore the various folk bands and until this day, I love a great Celtic, or other folk based music. This brings me to the newest Didier Francois CD called “Nyckelharpa Solo”. I love all the other recordings I have by him, especially “Falling Tree”, which has some sweet female vocals on it.

If you have never bothered to get into this folk genre, you’re missing out on some of the most incredible music ever made. This particular CD is a solo work on the complex instrument called the ‘Nyckelharpa’ (yes, so clear in the name of the CD). Okay so this is often referred to as a “Key Harp” or ‘Keyed Fiddle’ , it is a traditional Swedish musical instrument much like a very complex violin but with many more strings and capabilities. So I leave the rest to the curious George to check out and find their new listening experience. If you have never sat through a classical concert or opera, then let this be your practice CD at home.

Yes, it takes patience, and a love for music in general. I only wish there were more people wanting this type beauty in the time we live in, but the fast food attention problem generation just might be the death of this, and many other types of slow and gorgeous arts that have been classical for more decades than McDonald’s can claim a billion cheese burgers for.

If you ever felt you wanted to expand your musical horizons, then give this a chance. It’s full of emotion and utopian performance on this ancient exotic instrument. Didier takes on a mountain and makes new skies happen with this work. One must allow it to enter and absorb to truly enjoy this as it was meant. Rarely will you ever get something this special again. It’s a chance of a lifetime to either already partake of this rare wine, or at least get a taste of it. Otherwise, you might just have to settle for more crappy cheeseburgers that make you fat, not relaxed via soul.

The compositions are smart, mostly quick and all said. I found no voids, no boring seconds, no fluff, and no bullshit whatsoever. You have to understand Didier Francois has been in the music world a long time and yet, he stays fresh and enigmatic in his delivery of this series of pieces for solo. Moments of this sound a good deal like the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack to the Cohen Brothers masterpiece film, Fargo. Sixteen tracks that are lovely and gorgeous, and evict the heartless moments of your life. So that gives you a soft place to begin your journey if you have never listened to the many traditional folk music from all over the world. I can’t imagine anyone not liking this at least for a little while. The world is a better place because of music like this. Enjoy for all you long time hikers into the wide world of music, and may some new listeners give it a try. I think after some time, you’ll see the connections this makes to some of your favorite progressive rock bands. I LOVE IT, I want another recording ASAP from Didier Francois!

Reviewed by Lee Henderson on November 17th, 2011


01. Nine
02. Gnossienne n°3
03. Sonata n°2 BWV 1003
04. Sama'i nahawand
05. Shall I weep or shall I sing
06. Polonës
07. Mo
08. Sonata n°2 Malinconia
09. Luiza
10. Partita n°1 BWV 1002
11. Arpeggien
12. Crystal bells
13. Boabdil
14. Cent onze
15. Sa démarche chaloupée et provocante
16. Inpermanenza

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