It is always interesting to discover a novel and excellent band. If it is a young and newly formed band, you are not surprised. But, geez, this "Tapas" is already the third album of the Czech band BraAgas, and somehow the word didn't spread to west of the Bohemian Forest. What a pity, had I known it earlier it easily would have slipped into my top ten albums of 2009. But let's start at the beginning: BraAgas is a quartet consisting of four singers, Katerina Göttlichova, Alzbeta Josefy, Karla Braunova and Michala Hrbkova. Besides four-part harmony and polyphony, they are playing a diversity of instruments, many are historic replicas: fiddles and flutes, bagpipes and shawm, cister and clarinets. The band is often labelled a medieval music group, but these four are much more than that. The songs are taken from the last millennium, more or less one half is from the Iberian peninsula, the other half is from the Nordic countries and eastern Europe (including the well-known "Herr Holger" which was made popular by the Swedish fusion band Garmarna -> #16). The first ones are performed with samba- and flamenco-like exuberance and joy, the others in a melancholic, at times dark mood, thus embracing a wide range of emotions. Although these songs are from very different sources it sounds all of one piece. Fans of Lais, to mention a well-known western band (#31), certainly will love this.
"Tapas" is supposed to make BraAgas popular beyond borders in both space and time, geographically between east and west as well as beyond the medieval music scene.