Its subtitle "Medieval, Appalachian and World Music in Fusion" says it all. From the first cut, two lively Renaissance bransles (mimed dances) – with Scott Reiss hamming "Tangle Bransle" up on recorder – to the second, an American barn dance called "Say Old Man Can You Play the Fiddle?", Hesperus jumps an ocean and half a millennium.
The mood of this delightful CD can best be summed up by the traditional blues piece called "Shake It Down," played very effectively on recorder to the soulful accompaniment of Bruce Hutton's 12-string guitar and Tina Chancey's kamenj, a Turkish folk bowed-stringed instrument with a light sound. This is probably a first, anywhere, and it works superbly. From the blues to medieval cantigas, from British broadside ballads to Cajun waltzes, from American contra dances to Scandinavian folk tunes, this quartet – Bruce Molsky rounds it out on various plucked and bowed stringed instruments with occasional vocals – brings surprising authenticity and great life to an enormous range of musical styles. The multi-talented Chancey effectively impersonates an earthy Cajun chanteuse in "La Valse de Guerdon," and Hutton contributes vocals with a twang, notably in "Little Rabbit," for which he also plucks a mouth bow.
Copyright © 1997, Mark Longaker