‘Foreign Shore’ by Hanz Araki - pure exhilaration for the ears(August 28, 2014)
Hanz Araki is a master of his art – of that there is no doubt. His stunning musicianship and mind-spinning delivery of traditional tunes is a pure exhilaration for the ears. Combining an unprecedented feel for the Japanese shakuhachi flute with an unerring ability as an interpreter of Celtic music, Araki has carved out a rock-solid status. Fashioned through a heritage of Irish and Japanese parental influence, education and personal dedication, his musical influences combine the disciplines and traditions of both cultures to create the virtuoso we hear today.
From a wide collection of albums that include the iconic ‘Wind and Rain’ and Little Fires’ through a series of seasonally-themed Celtic music albums with the fiddle, guitar and voice of Kathryn Claire, Araki has built a standing of considerable and much-deserved respect. His latest album ‘Foreign Shore’ will only ensure the resilience of that reputation.
‘Foreign Shore’ offers a first-rate mix of classic instrumental and narrative folk, from ‘Valentine O’Hara’ a version of the Irish ‘soldier-turned-highwayman’ theme, through a fine rendition of ‘The Herring Song/ The Boats Of Killaloe’ to ‘The Chicago/ The Maids of Mt Kisko/ The Virginia’. This album captivates entirely wherever you listen, whether it’s the sparkling trio ‘The Guns Of The Magnificent Seven/ Ah, Surely!/ Gorman’s’ or an excellent version of ‘Crockery Ware/ The Sligo Reel’ complete with a stunning performance of podorythmie - a Québécois music tradition of percussive foot-tapping to fashion musical accompaniment. Known as an outstanding musician Araki is also recognised as possessing one of those heartfelt voices born to relate doleful tales, one listen to ‘My Jolly Roving Tar’ or ‘Davey Lowston’ and you’ll understand. All things considered, ‘Foreign Shore’ is outstanding.
Beginning-to-end this album, which releases in October on Little Sea Records, will hold you in a spell cast by a maestro. Playing on ‘Foreign Shore’ are Hanz Araki (flutes, whistles, vocals, bodhran) Cary Novotny (guitars) Eddie Parente (strings) and Lisa Ornstein (podorythmie) with Collen Raney, Mike Cody and Bob Soper (backing vocals).
You can find Hanz Araki and ‘Foreign Shore’ here: www.hanzaraki.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll