Flying in Formation
Listening Post 104. They are local and global, gifted artists who sing and play traditional Moravian songs together but with individual experience in diverse worlds—violinist Šuranská in the classical and folk realms; mandolinist Martin Krajíček in klezmer and Mexican music; and multi-instrumentalist Marian Friedl in jazz and theater. Divé Husy (Wild Geese) is a grand collection of proverbial wisdom that puts songs about humanity’s essentials—love, loss, freedom, marriage—into natural settings, evoking fields and forests, wind and water, mountains and rivers. Jablůška (Apple Tree) offers a recipe of delightful voices, strings and the flavors of apples and romance (video 1). Pofukuj, větříčku a Maliny (Blow, Breeze/Raspberries) is the delicate pairing of a pensive song, spiced with a cimbalom (hammered dulcimer), and a sprightly courtship story (video 2). The 14th century lament Ztratilať jsem milého (I Lost My Beloved) contrasts a broken heart with a blossoming white rose (video 3). In addition to traditional songs, Divé Husy includes two new compositions by Friedl that perfectly fit the album tone—the title track, which ends in a waltz-like movement; and Aj, Vodo (O Water), comparing the current of life to a river that empties into eternity. Like a sculpted garden or an orchestra, this is a rich mixture in which raw elements are visible and audible even as they blend into composed beauty. The three artists have many projects and pursuits that take them in different directions, but here’s hoping they will continue flying like wild geese—together. (Indies Scope)
Footnote: A rose by any other name… Czech and Slovak are mutually intelligible languages and Moravian dialects are generally considered varieties of Czech. But the songs on Divé Husy are from eastern Moravia—on the Czech side of the border but where local speech sits on an invisible linguistic seam; whether the bandmates of the Jitka Šuranská Trio sing in Czech or in Slovak is apparently in the ear of the listener.