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WILL POUND - A Day Will Come 

WILL POUND - A Day Will Come 
Lulubug Records LULUBUG005 

Brilliant box-player and harmonica wizard Will Pound has embarked on an exploration of the musical traditions of all 27 of our EU neighbours, from Bulgaria to the Baltic, Spain to Scandinavia. The more well-known music of France, Denmark, Ireland and others is represented here, but so too are pieces from Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Luxembourg and so forth. With only one tune or song from most countries, A Day Will Come barely scratches the surface of these cultures, but it is nonetheless a fascinating taste of European music and a revelation in terms of what unites us across the continent.

Will Pound began this project, funded by Arts Council England, by finding musical contacts in each country, and this perhaps already biased his journey in favour of the familiar in some cases. He has also chosen music which appealed to him, as a player of Western dance music, which again may have excluded some of the more exotic sounds of Finland, Greece and other places on the fringe of Europe. Despite this, the degree of common understanding and appreciation throughout this CD is remarkable. Of course, most Europeans are familiar with English, and the two poems here are delivered in translation with no difficulty by Bohdan Piasecki. There's one song, by Bosnian singer Dunja Bahtijarevi?, now living in Croatia; otherwise this is an instrumental album, combining Will's wide-ranging talents with the guitar of Jenn Butterworth, bass of John Parker, woodwind of Jude Rees, and fiddles of Patsy Reid, Gudrun Walther and Liz Carroll. Classical percussionist Evelyn Glennie gives a hand on a cracking Romanian tune and the shift into a Bulgarian 7/8 rhythm.

For me, the most interesting thing about this album is how it hangs together as a whole. Despite all the different countries, there's a common thread, a shared groove through most tracks. Pound throws together tunes from Spain and the Netherlands, from Latvia and Belgium, from Portugal and Lithuania, yet they all fit together. Who knew that so many countries had jigs, or that Polly Put The Kettle On is from the Czech Republic and The Concertina Reel is actually from Extremadura in Spain? So much to discover, and so many unexpected connections, on top of fabulous performances by internationally renowned musicians here.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 134 of The Living Tradition magazine