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Thursday, February 02, 2006

PEATBOG FAERIES: Proof that Afro Celtic Dub Diddly folk Rave aint dead yet.

Faeries picture from e-festivals
The latest Peatbog Faeries CD, ‘Croftwork’, landed on me doormat today. It has set me off thinking about Afro Celtic Dub Diddly Folk Rave, and other such things.

Until the arrival of the Pouges I thought folk music was crap, and even after that there were very few bands that people would describe as ‘folky’ that I would give the time of day. The along came the Tofu love Frogs.

The Tofu Love frogs blew me away completely. Although what they were playing was basically Celtic jig about music, the speed at which they played it and their anarchic attitude to wards life was more punk than punk.

This was around the time I was starting to put gigs on, so I made myself known to them at a festival in West Wales and within a few months they were close friends and did several gigs for me. Through them I started to get to know similar bands on the festival scene; Doo the Moog, Headmix Collective, Tarantism, P.A.I.N., and many more. These bands were not happy with sticking to the rules and were throwing things into the mix that on paper should not mix. Bagpipes, didgeridoo, fiddle, penny whistle, drums and bass should not be played all at the same time on one record… but they were doing it and making a jolly good noise while they were at it. Tarantism even managed to throw in saucepans and those tube things that we used to wave around our heads when we where little (bass whistle?). They were mixing trad folk with ska, dub, blues, egyptian, gypsy music and anything that took thier fancy with no respect for the rules of musical genres.

Much of this was going on underground, at parties and festivals, but it was a movennt that was also making waves nearer the surface of the main stream with the emergence of the ‘Afro Celtic’ thing, bands like Baka Beyond, Afro Celt Sound System, Tribal Drift et al, were also opening up my mind to new things. Some of them concentrating on live instruments, some throwing samples and drum machines in.

Just when I think I know all the bands on the scene worth knowing about, something new keeps cropping up, mainly at festivals. I was introduced to the delights of Shooglenifty at the Larmer tree festival in Dorset a few years back by the late Mez (rest his soul); Young upstarts Pronghorn have taken over where the Tofu’s left off (musically at least) with their own take on ‘cow punk’ (country and western mixed with punk) and at Glastonbury about 4 years ago I came across Celtica and Peatbog Faeries.

The boggy ones are based on the Isle of Skye, have released four albums and have played to audiences all over the world. They mix bagpipes, fiddles, mandolins and all sorts of other things that might be found in a beardy workshop at the ‘Isle of Skye Aran Jumper and Real Ale Folk Festival’ if such a thing existed, with keyboards, samplers and guitars.

The early results would have sat nicely at any traveller free party rave up, especially the classic ‘Folk Police’. Albums since have tended more towards the rock end of things, culminating in this album, ‘Croft Work’, which is probably their most accomplished for a while. It even dares to tread its toes into the pool of Jazz in places.

Just when I thought the whole Celtic fusion thing was petering out, this album comes along and demonstrates there is life in the old sheep yet.

also check out
Contintntal Drifts (label and booking agents set up by ex Tofu Love Frogs geezer Chris)


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