Review Archive

‘Chatterbox’ by Hannah James and Tuulikki Bartosik - a wholly original and mesmeric album

(April 18, 2015)

This album takes a little while to work its magic … and when it does the hypnosis is complete and lasting. ‘Chatterbox’ features the work of accordionists, Hannah James and Tuulikki Bartosik and to chatterbox album coverdescribe it as idiosyncratic misses the mark, individualist it may be, eccentric possibly (in the finest sense of the word) unconventional certainly. What you’re hearing is two virtuoso musicians producing an organic versatile, wholly original and mesmeric album.

With some of its tracks recorded in a Brecon Beacons’ cave, which on the face of it although slightly disconcerting for both artists, actually gives the tracks their richly adorned resonance and altogether other-worldly echoes. Haunting examples of the cave-recordings are the mysterious ‘Calm’, the haunting ‘Walk of the naughty accordions’, and the engrossing inscrutability of ‘Pentatonic’. They also move deftly across international traditions with the evocative ‘Lonesome Woods’ and the captivating ‘Karelian’, both with voices that evoke a hypnotic attraction.

‘Chatterbox’ is a lush piece of work suffused with original compositions, traditional tunes and sparkling improvisation. Both artists agreeing that: “It’s making music in the here and now. There are no filters, it’s just about what happens in the moment.” Couldn’t have put it better myself. Listen to ‘Chatterbox’ you’ll love it.

‘Chatterbox’ features Tuulikki Bartosik (free bass accordion, voice, metallophone) and Hannah James (accordion, voice, clogging) and is available from 25 May on Root Beat Records


Reviewer: Charlie Elland

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