Baba Jam Band — Kayada
(Acoustic Music BEST.NR.319, 1993, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 1999-04-01
This is only roughly new, I suppose, being a CD from five years back. Probably wouldn't have bothered with the review except that this is a remarkably good album, one that should have gotten much more attention in 1993 than it did. Baba Jam Band are a true original, blending styles and sounds from a variety of sources. A German group, it's no surprise that the female vocalist sounds like Renate Knaup nor that their approach to a middle-eastern-influenced music resembles Embryo or Chris Karrer in some ways. Mix in the elements of many an Oriental Wind album, a slight zeuhl influence, jazz, dissonant compositional elements vaguely similar to Univers Zero; give it a glossy contemporary production; and you're really only left with half the picture. The songs are contemporary arrangements of traditionals, although saz, darbuka, and other instruments from the Middle East are prevalent. The first track, the fifteen minute "Colours of Yemen," illustrates this well, having all the elements described above and delivered with a progressive rock edge. The album does not let up in quality through its near-double album length, with solos for violin (check out the long one in "Tamzara" that turns into a Ponty / Grapelli trade-off by the end of the song), sax, guitar, vocals both male and female, and arrangements captivating and energetic. The songs are long too, there are several over nine minutes long, all with a nice stretched-out feel and portraying a variety of moods. The more I listen to this, the more I like it; it amazes me how little fuss was made over such an amazing CD.
Related artist(s): Baba Jam Band
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From the press release:
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water takes from Echo Us' past and spins it into a whole new direction, one closer to traditional acoustic Celtic music than ever before.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water was composed and recorded during the first few months of 2017. Although Celtic influenced and comprised of a number of re-workings of Irish folk tunes and Breton aires, the album is still in large part new and original Echo Us music that fits right in the Echo Us ‘canon’. “Wake” is a natural progression from “A Priori Memoriae”, which was released to critical acclaim in Europe in 2014.
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is Echo Us’ ‘Celtic’ album that was planned for a long time but never executed because of the work on the trilogy that came before it. The album title is a typical ‘Echo Us’ play on words which one can find their own meaning.
“It is also both evocative of the Oregon rain, which I am told is not too unlike the rain in Ireland.”(Matthews)
To Wake a Dream in Moving Water is also a comment on conception- which was unintentional when the lyric was written. Matthews surprised himself a few months after writing it, realizing that the song was actually about the nitty gritty, biological workings of what happens when a child is conceived. The folk song it derives from musically describes a courting ritual, one that even today we can all relate to in our own way.
“Come With Me Over the Mountain" in acapella was the musical inspiration for the song, and came into my consciousness after the lyrics were written a few months prior. “ (Matthews)
As with all Echo Us recordings, a number of seeming coincidences resulted in connections being drawn where prior there were none. Another experience of similar capacity was found in oboe samples from A Priori Memoriae that echoed the traditional “May Morning Dew’, also reworked for guitar on the new album.