‘As I Roved Out: Songs of Spring’ - Hanz Araki & Kathryn Claire(February 13, 2013)
Having listened to previous albums from Hanz Araki & Kathryn Claire, those superb exponents of Irish-inspired folk from across the Atlantic, the arrival of ‘As I Roved Out: Songs of Spring’ was bound to attract and destined to entrance. Their outstanding musical expertise, blending of contrasting influences and finely-balanced, integrated style make this album truly ‘one to add to the collection’. There’s a seamless approach to their collaboration whether voice or instruments that gives this duo a natural and immediate edge that many must surely envy.
From the opening couplet of ‘The Fairy Child/ Primrose Lass’ you’re instantly in touch with their abiding delivery of traditional tunes. The captivation continues through the delicious dexterity of ‘April Fool/The Dawn/ The Skylark’,an inspired slip through ‘Spring Up In The Air/Up & About In The Morning’ and Ne Ceannabhain Bhana’, and just to ensure your surfeit of tunes there’s ‘Lucky In Love/Game Of Love/ 1st Month Of Spring’. The vocal tradition is not neglected - through the flute-led seductive narrative of ‘Searching for Lambs’ a pulsating toe-tap version of ‘As I Roved Out’ with Kathryn on lead vocal, to the tender tale of ‘Rosemary Fair’ and the lovingly crafted harmonies of ‘Pleasant and Delightful’.
Part of a 4-CD selection covering their take on the four seasons – winter, spring, summer and autumn – this album bursts with the assurance of the returning sun, the restoration of light after the winter dark and the inherent promise of springtime magic. To create their level of inspired spontaneity, Hanz and Kathryn believe in recording with minimal takes. As Hanz states: “We record albums mostly live. We rehearse and rehearse ... walk into the studio to record in one or two takes.” The result is flawless.
Playing alongside Hanz (flute, whistle, bodhran) and Kathryn (fiddle, guitar) are Joe Trump (percussion) with Cal Scott (guitar) Chris Hayes (guitar, ukulele) on selected tracks and Elizabeth Bacon and Ara Gale (vocals).
Reviewer: Tim Carroll