Kahle, Manon - Edda Lou

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Berlin-Based Folk-Art Group Yellow Bird Presents Its Second Album, Edda Lou – An Album of Ravishing Harmonies, Inventive Instrumentation and Songs That Seem Age-Old While Utterly New. Yellow Bird – which features the voices of Vermont-bred Manon Kahle and Zurich-born Lucia Cadotsch entwining in a dream vision of Anglo-American song – releases Edda Lou via Yellowbird/Enja on February XX, 2018 “A contemporary, urban view of pop music’s roots: melancholy, subtle, ironic.” — Die Zeit on Yellow Bird’s first album, Sing. Long ago in the Appalachian region of America, coal miners used to take a canary with them deep down into the shafts. It was a bad sign about the atmosphere if the yellow bird stopped singing… So, it must be a good sign that Yellow Bird – the band from Berlin, Germany – is not only still singing, but more beautifully than ever, even with our atmosphere so troubled, on both sides of the Atlantic. The group – featuring the paired voices of Vermont-bred Manon Kahle and Zurich-born Lucia Cadotsch, who indeed sing like birds – channels a dream vision of Anglo-American folk music into a sound that feels both very old and brand new. The manner of the music-making has a vintage charm, a resonant earthiness, an old soul; but the voices are fresh, the emotions they evoke timeless. After a debut album, Sing, that included rambunctious, on-the-fly covers of old American country songs and rootsy pop – “Lovesick Blues,” “Walking After Midnight,” “Lazy Bones” – Yellow Bird presents its subtly artful second album, featuring all original songs: Edda Lou, to be released via Yellowbird/Enja on February XX, 2018. Manon, who wrote most of these songs, not only sings but plays fiddle, ukulele and banjo, while Lucia adds melodica and percussion; the distinctive instrumentation of the album also includes Uli Kempendorff on various clarinets, Ronny Graupe on guitar and bass, as well as Tim Lorenz, Michael Griener and Max Weissenfeldt on drums. Yellow Bird – with its mix of American and European backgrounds, as well as pre-modern and post-modern influences – harks back to an analog era as a respite to our digital age; there is a homespun, heartfelt quality to Edda Lou that bewitches. In the laughing-to-keep-from-crying tradition of American folk and blues, some of the songs on Edda Lou offer sad words allied to a happy beat. In that vein, there is the playful lonely-hearts plea of opener “Apple Tree,” as well as “Rust and Bones,” its forlorn lyrics set to an irresistible railroad groove. Then there are sweet-toned yet spooky murder ballads like “Edda Lou” or Ronny’s “In the Woods,” where the blended vocals of Manon and Lucia are like the ghosts of wronged young women hovering hand in hand. Other highlights: the fool-for-love plaint of “The Robber,” the leaving-this-cruel-world goodbye of “Black Train,” and Lucia’s darkly atmospheric “Miss Miss,” which veers into modernist territory, the clatter and clang, breath and beat revealing repressed emotions like a Tom Waits b-side. “Blue Cowgirl” and “Lone Sailor” are bittersweet gems, affecting in their effortless melodicism; the former includes a lovely clarinet solo by Uli, the latter a haunting fiddle solo by Manon. The album’s virtual encore is the rollicking, romantic-eyed “Mobile Home,” which Ronny lights up with a Nashville-worthy guitar solo. Anyone who enjoys the soundtrack of certain Coen Brothers or Jim Jarmusch films would be beguiled by Edda Lou. Manon Kahle is an artist to her bones, a singer-songwriter, an actress and an illustrator (whose graphic creations grace the cover of Edda Lou). She was raised in a rural environment of New England by parents for whom creativity was more important than television. “I grew up singing folk music from all over the world in a choir, going to contra dances and learning how to clog – pretty rustic,” she recalls. “We only really listened to Anglo-American folk music, particularly Irish fiddlers like Martin Hayes and Africa-American a-cappella groups like Sweet Honey in the Rock. Later, I absorbed Patsy Cline and Bonnie Raitt. I made up fiddle tunes as a kid, but I never really wrote songs on my own until more recently. The band was so encouraging about my songs – I wrote two for the first record – that it was inspiring for me. I ended up writing eight for the new album. “I have great friends here in Berlin – I’ve been here 14 years now – but being here could make me feel a bit lonesome and removed from my culture, as an American in Europe,” Manon adds. “So, making music and writing with this band, I started to feel more at home – it really makes me happy. I see how the culture I grew up in is so appreciated here. People in Europe love Americana music. Feeling that – and seeing the example of artists like Sam Amidon and Gillian Welch – inspired me to make that folk tradition my own, using the musical language that I learned and played as a kid. Also, I love to sing with other people – and Lucia is a dream to sing with. I’ve learned so much singing with her, including how to relax and sing a little behind the beat, in that tradition from Billie Holiday to Willie Nelson.” Manon and Uli Kempendorff met in Vermont, while he was an exchange student from Germany. When she finished studying theater at Smith College, Manon moved to Berlin to be with him again and work as an actress and voiceover artist. Lucia Cadotsch – a jazz-honed singer whose first solo album, Speak Low, was recently given a five-star review in DownBeat magazine – met Manon in 2011, first singing with her at a party. “We sang an impromptu duet on ‘Willow Weep for Me,’ a song I sing often,” Lucia recalls. “It made me tear up to hear Manon sing, as it was so charming, so touching, so real, even with the fiddle a little out of tune… I studied music formally in Switzerland and Denmark, but I loved Manon’s natural way of making music – it reminded me of how it felt when I first started singing. She has this organic approach, having grown up making music at home in the evenings rather than watching TV. She plays the violin, the ukulele, the banjo – it’s wonderful. And it felt so natural singing together, from the beginning. That’s rare, as you don’t blend well with everyone. Listening to the way she sings, I feel a kinship with jazz, the phrasing that comes from the blues and classic American songs.” Lucia’s favorite song on Edda Lou is Manon’s “Black Train.” Its verses levitate in the air like magic, as the singers’ voices, wrapped intimately together, intone: “Call the doctor, call the nurse / Call the preacher, call the hearse / For I have seen my setting sun / The shadows cast on a life undone, undone…” Lucia says: “I see such a strong emotional picture with that song – there should be a film of it. Our engineer called it ‘the opium song’.” About the band’s vocal sound, Uli adds: “Manon and Lucia – their voices complement each other so ideally, with Lucia’s voice dark and sophisticated, Manon’s bright, shining. Even just their two-part harmonies are so rich. The way they phrase the music together is so expressively free that I find it deeply touching. At our concerts, I can see that listeners feel this, too.” Berlin has long been a cultural melting pot, as well as a hothouse of creative passions – an art town. Uli, who grew up in East Berlin, says: “Ronny and I have worked together beyond Yellow Bird. He plays in my avant-jazz quartet Field, and we were in a spectral-analysis/microtonal project together. But Ronny grew up playing blues around the fireplace, learning from his dad. In Germany, we don’t have much of a folk-music tradition, as it was erased by the war. But we – and Europeans, in general – hear American folk music from the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers to Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson as standing for something, a sense of the real and rebellious. That certainly strikes a chord with Berliners. But I think whether a listener is from Europe, America or wherever, songs about real things – love and loneliness, life and death – resonate.” Uli leads the way on the arrangements, although the Yellow Bird process is very much a collaborative one. The group recorded the intro to “Apple Tree” in the backyard of Uli and Manon’s Berlin home, capturing sounds from a nearby playground. “It seemed perfect, because the music-making is rooted in the world and real life, growing from sessions and parties at home,” he says. Yellow Bird’s songs are steeped in tradition – yet never bound by it. The band’s jazzy approach to vintage forms does the songs “a world of good,” said German newspaper Taz, while the Austrian Concerto magazine praised the group for its “individuality, non-conformism and musical wit.” To that point, Ronny concludes: “It’s true that we’re not trying to be ‘authentic’ with this music – there’s no mimicry in the songs or, of course, the arrangements. We’re just playing the music as we feel it. That said, we hope our songs do the things that good music has always made people want to do: sing and dance, laugh or cry.”
Artikelnummer YEB7781
Streckkod 0767522778120
Utgivningsdatum 2018-03-23
Kategori Country
Skivbolag Yellowbird
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 1
Artister Kahle, Manon
Cadotsh, Lucia
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