(self-produced, 1999)

This EP from a German Celtic band contains four tracks, only one of which is a traditional song. The sound is eclectic and quirky, but unfortunately, the quality of the mix is very poor, and much of what would be its distinctiveness gets lost.

CellarFolk is Marco Brysch, violin and electric guitar; Thomas Glaser, didgeridoo, djembe, congas and percussion; Michael Weber, djembe, accordion, cajon, vocals and guitar; and Torsten Wissmann, vocals, guitar, jews' harp and low whistle.

In the first few seconds of the first and sole instrumental track, "Shannon Crocodile," the listener gets a feeling that there's something wrong with the CD player, but then, the faint drone of the didgeridoo comes through, accompanied by the twang of the jews' harp. A violin sings the melody, its sweetness offset by the growl of the didgeridoo. Unfortunately, the guitar drowns the violin in the mix.

The lyrics of in "The Field" are similarly muffled, and it took me a few times of listening to realize that the song was sung in English. Even so, they are difficult to understand, but the melody is appealing. The opening to "Real Ould Mountain Dew" starts off with a surprise case of the blues, but livens into something a bit more traditional." The final track, "Ride On" features a piercingly poignant and sweet low whistle, but again, the overall sound is muffled.

CellarFolk has a promising sound. It's just a shame that the technical quality isn't better.

[ by Donna Scanlon ]