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SUSANNA SEIVANE "Mares de Tempo (Seas of Time)" De Fol Edicions DF035CD

Mares de Tempo is a delightful fusion of contemporary sounds based on Galician traditional music. It displays both the versatility of the 'gaita galega' (Galician bagpipe) and the remarkable musicianship of Susana Seivane, as she combines past and present. The album includes more songs than her previous ones, which may disappoint bagpiping enthusiasts. However, to compensate she is joined not only by the same great musicians who helped on her first two albums but also by the exceptional harpist Rodrigo Romaní (ex-Milladoiro) and singer/musician Guadi Galego (Berrogüetto). Furthermore, the free DVD shows them all off to great effect.

Mares de Tempo opens with a cheerful and recently composed dance tune in 6/8 time called a 'muiñeira'. Another traditional dance tune the xota is included, as are two polkas, a rumba and a mazurka. The marzurka (track 9) is particularly beautiful; it is interpreted with great emotion and Rodrigo Romaní's harp accompaniment is a wonderful added bonus. Susana's bagpiping is tremendous both here and throughout the album. She displays such control of the instrument; note for example, the faultless and seemingly effortless slide she plays on the pipes in track 11.

Confusingly for the newcomer to Galician music both the muiñeira and the xota can be songs as well as dance tunes - and the two forms are not necessarily connected. The album shows this off to great effect, and the sung xota (track 8) is particularly impressive. It is a traditional piece in which the oriental influence in Galician music can be heard and the power of Galician women singing in unison fully appreciated. Susana's voice lends itself well to this tradition, but works less well on the ballads. The album concludes with a delightful 'bonus' track featuring gaita and accordion. Its more traditional sound works as a great contrast to the more contemporary and sometimes jazzy interpretations of the main CD. The overall result is a fine album of contemporary Galician sounds in which the traditional can still be detected. One word of advice: don't be put off by the rather flowery language of the sleeve notes. Galician is a Romance language, and its poetic style frequently defies translation into the more prosaic Germanic tongues.

Sarah Aldred and Gerard Hastings

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This album was reviewed in Issue 57 of The Living Tradition magazine.