126

Cascade Folk Trio: Old Street

Peter Aaron By

Sign in to view read count
Cascade Folk Trio: Old Street On this, its second release, the New York/L.A.-based expatriate Armenian vocal group Cascade Folk Trio continues to ply an ambitious blend of traditional Armenian music and elements of jazz, Latin, contemporary R&B, and current world-pop dance sounds. CFT is a supergroup of sorts, its members, Ohanna Mtghyan, Arman Aghajanyan, and Armen Papikyan, all distinguished as popular singers in their motherland prior to the threesome's 1999 formation. Aghajanyan, the group's leader, creates most of the music: a wide canvas featuring the work of more than 20 musicians, it serves as the exotic backdrop to the trio's solo and ensemble singing.

Although Aghajanyan and Papikyan also come from strong jazz conservatory backgrounds, it's Mtghyan's voice that's the big attraction. Time itself stands still when this eternal desert siren opens her mouth. Her throaty, soaring laments, such as the opener "Gentle Boy, Gentle Girl" or the yearning "Where is My Love?", along with the use of native instruments like duduk, kanun, zurna, and kamanche and the album's clubby rhythms, are the group's stock in trade.

As evidenced by the disc's shiny, modern production, the "Folk" end of the band's moniker is meant in the Dylan-goes-electric sense, incorporating ubiquitous and accessible programmed synth and drum tracks. The jazz touches, such as the Latin piano figures on "Burly Boy," provide flavor rather than a showcase for improvisation. But the brilliant indigenous highlights, like Arsen Andreasyan's violin or Vram Minasyan's snake-charming clarinet, are truly transcendental, at times recalling --- coincidentally, of course --- Public Image Limited's essential, Middle Eastern-influenced 1981 LP, The Flowers of Romance.

By its nature, folk music should be ever evolving, absorbing styles and instruments outside the realm of its given tradition; indeed it must to remain relevant. Although this record's glossy sheen may seem saccharine to those more accustomed to older traditional sounds, the Cascade Folk Trio is to be commended for bringing the native noise to the dance floor. Despite how it might look on paper, Old Street has gobs of crossover potential. Coming soon to a swinging ethnic bistro near you.

(Note: this enhanced CD also features a "Where is My Love?" promotional video.)


Track Listing: 1- Gentle Boy, Gentle Girl (trad.) 4:15; 2- Lingering Return (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 3:23; You Are a Doe (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 3:06; 4- Garden Flowers (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 3:51; 5- Old Street (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 3:44; 6- Wipe the Tears from My Eyes (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 3:28; 7- Bad Days (Jivani) 2:01; 8- Where is My Love? (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 3:13; 9- Burly Boy (trad.) 3:40 10- I Am Madly in Love (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 3:08; 11- Seven Years (Aghajanyan) 4:25; 12- Pity My Road (Mtghyan/Aghajanyan) 4:45; 13- Homeland (Isahakian/Tigranian) 3:47.

Personnel: Ohanna Mtghyan, Arman Aghajanyan, Armen Papikyan - vocals; gevorg Movsisyan - accordion; Conrad Adderly - bass; Vram Minasyan - clarinet; Alik Peleshyan - dhol, zarb; Abe Fogel - drums; Kamo Seyranyan - duduk; Norayr Kartashyan - duduk, shvi, blur; AB+ - French horn; Matt Beck, Karo Sarafyan - guitars; Varazdad Baghdasaryan - kamanche; Armine Asatryan - kanun; Sasha Grigoryan - percussion; Artashes Kartalyan, David - piano; Arkadi Pogosyan - tar; Brian Melick - utar, udu; Arsen Andreasyan - violin; Varazdat Hovhanisyan, Vardan Grigorian - zurnas; Arshak Saakyan - zurna, shvi.

Year Released: 2003 | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Elevation" CD/LP/Track Review Elevation
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 26, 2016
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "Something About Jobim" CD/LP/Track Review Something About Jobim
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: March 16, 2016
Read "Festen" CD/LP/Track Review Festen
by John Sharpe
Published: November 12, 2016
Read "Paris" CD/LP/Track Review Paris
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979" CD/LP/Track Review No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979
by John Sharpe
Published: August 5, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!