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ELANOR - A Clear Look

ELANOR - A Clear Look
Appel Rekords APR1365

It is a bit ironic that, as I put the finishing touches to this CD review by Flemish band Elanor, the news is announced that the UK is leaving the EU. My mind is drifting to all the wonderful European music I have been privileged to hear and see over the years - the likes of Le Gop, La Ciapa Rusa, BOC and one of my all time favourite bands, Holderlein Express. What does the future hold now for all aspects of the Arts? Only time will tell.

But back to Elanor and A Clear Look. This is a young Flemish band comprising five capable musicians on typically European instruments ranging from hurdy gurdies to accordions, from various types of pipes to electric bass and guitars; an instrumental album. Think of European dance music and it is here. Think of slow airs and they are here. It’s music to dance to whilst also being music to sit and listen to. It is hard not to tap along to the hurdy gurdy or to sway to the melodic sound of the wooden flute. There are lots of layers as one instrument takes over from another or joins in to build up to a crescendo. I love the interplay of uilleann pipes, guitar and accordion on Kotor, before a hurdy gurdy finishes everything off. And there is also a strong Celtic feel here; much of it provided by the uilleann pipes, especially on Blown Away.

I do have a bit of a problem though. The tracks are all well played, with some very good tunes, but it all seems slightly predictable. It easily moves into the realm of background music, which is a shame really as it deserves more than that. Maybe it is in live performance that they come to life. Also, unless Elanor are going to tour regularly it does have a limited market. But it might be different on mainland Europe!

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 115 of The Living Tradition magazine.