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MOZAIK - The Long And The Short Of It 

MOZAIK - The Long And The Short Of It 
Private Label MOZCD03  

Full disclosure: there are rather more songs on this album than I usually like, but Andy Irvine's vocals are so endearing and Bruce Molsky's songs are really more like tunes with words. Add in the backing from Dónal Lunny, the multi-instrumental talents of Bulgarian piper Nikola Parov and the extra firepower of Rens van der Zalm, and what's not to like? Additional vocal depth is provided by guest songstress Chrysoula Kechagioglou who leads three soulful numbers here - two in Greek, and the mindboggling Song Of The Nightingale in English: maybe the Greek lyrics are equally strange. The melodies are very pretty in any case.

Irvine opens with a fascinating song in praise of Harry Houdini, along the lines of his King Of Ballyhooley. The inspired tribute to Ljubljana girls As Good As It Gets has been recorded before, paired with a new Lunny polka, The Blue Trouser Suit. The rather more blood-soaked Coast Of Peru and Rainbow 'Mid the Willows are both traditional, again with some unusual lyrics. Molsky brings two oldtime love songs to the party, the happy-ending My Little Carpenter which unfurls like a mummers' play, and the sad-ending Old Virginia where at least nobody dies. His fiddle also drives two sets of tunes, the very traditional Black Hills Waltz / Red Steer medley, and Lunny's swinging title tune which is paired with a Romanian dance, De Doi. The third instrumental track, Gyimes, is a Balkan piece with some wordless vocals and two fiddles providing a high strident melody. Mozaik certainly live up to their name here with a colourful and varied assembly of musical gems from around the world.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine