Link to Living Tradition Homepage





CARA - Horizon

CARA - Horizon
Artes Records ARCD4001

Based on Scottish and Irish traditional music, but with a firm eye on the new and the modern, Cara is a music and song group featuring musicians from Germany, Ireland and Scotland. On this their fourth studio album, Scottish instrumentalist and singer Jeana Leslie is replaced by fellow Scot, Kim Edgar, on piano and vocals. Known widely in Scotland for her songwriting, Kim also adds this element to the band.

Their musicianship and composing talent is astounding - catchy themes, very relaxed rhythms and a cool modern approach which will appeal to lots of different people. The rhythms are super tight and there is sparkling cleanliness, sharpness and virtuosity on every instrument.

The original song lyrics are lovely - dark and deliciously threatening in Blood Ice And Ashes and endearing in Snow Moon. There are amazing ideas, whirling around like a Tornado Alley summer storm series. But while I have great respect for Cara's talent and for daring to put out an album containing mostly their own music, I also have some issues.

The singing doesn’t always strike a chord with me. There are some great original lyrics and great harmonies but I find the singing lacks body and does not always reflect the lyrics. It feels like the singing is less important than instrumental artistry - I want to be taken away by a voice and on this recording it only happened a little with Be Gone.

Throughout, the bass and drums rather hog the spotlight. I listened to the album on two different audio devices and feel that sometimes the other instruments get pushed to the background and at times sound too thin. The bodhrán, however well played, is just everywhere and gets in the way. There seem to be style arguments too. I feel I'm listening to two bands, each with a different approach and only coming together in their mutual virtuosity.

The original tunes and the melodies in the songs really are skilful, clever and sharp, but therefore a bit cold too. The stops and silences feel awkward more than exciting. I'd love to hear some simpler arrangements that conveyed more feeling.

I truly am in deep awe of their musicianship and compositional talent though and I promise to go to a live gig soon to get the full Cara experience.

Annemarie de Bie

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 98 of The Living Tradition magazine.