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Yaga Sunet: A Cut Through The Heart

Jack Gold-Molina By

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Yaga Sunet are a duo from North Somerset, England, whose music is rooted in traditional English folklore and heavy psychedelia. Featuring vocalist Zoie Green and guitarist Ben Balsom, this album is powerful and moving through to its transcendent final chord.

From the opening of the first track "Long Gone," as Green sings, "The sun sets in the mind, can't you feel me sinking, another place, another time," the listener is transported to an earlier age. Balsom accompanying her cello-like with an ebow, the music is vivid in its imagery. Balsom's acoustic guitar playing is at times simple and at times dark and complex, following Green through chasms and currents as though transitioning through underground streams. During "The Sun Moves," Alan Davey, Green's band mate in the stalwart space rock quartet Eclectic Devils, joins the duo playing bass on this track only. As Green sings, "The sun moves through the flowers, like blades in the sky...down from the ocean, down from the sea," the imagery feels cold, as though viewing a late autumn or winter's moon.

"Reeds" begins with Balsom's slow finger picking. As his picking gets stronger and increases in tempo, Green vocalizes, singing almost outside of time, "Where are you now, where have you been? The rain pours hard and you know that he won't rest...a child is alone in the night...." On "Grass," she sings, "Kneeling in the grass there were five, blades in their hands, held up to the sky, they're friends of mine with blazing eyes...I know you're not dreaming, you're not seeing what you look for, it's a shame." Lyrically, Green seems at home in her natural place in the world. At the same time, she sounds furious at what has become of her native land. Green doesn't yell or scream, she states her point elegantly and poetically, vibrant with spirituality, conveying her message of beauty and inner strength.

The fable written in the booklet tells of a young girl who leaves her village to be on her own in another land, one that she was warned in stories passed down by her ancestors not to venture to. The people of this land, when confronted by those who seek to take everything from them, perform a ritual that gives them immortality. The wind begins to blow, shaking her newly found home, and the people of this land as well as those seeking to do them injustice, become like sand and are carried away.

This is a beautiful story, and it feels as timeless as the folklore that it is rooted in. Green's singing is as natural as the wind that carries the spirits of her ancestors, and Balsom's guitar playing is like the rain that gives their songs life. Music that is performed with this kind of honesty and emotion is rare, and it is one of the intangible things that truly matters in this world.

Track Listing: Long Gone; The Sun Moves; All Has Turned; Yaga Song; Reeds; Grass; In The End

Personnel: Zoie Green – vocals and piano; Ben Balsom – acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, ebow, drum

Title: A Cut Through The Heart | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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