Album: Below the mists, above the brambles
“Below the mists, above the brambles” is the first CD from MaterDea, a duo based out of Turin, Italy. The CD is a wonderful blend of classical styled melodies mixed liberally with pulse-pounding rock rhythms that move the songs along. The two main members of the band, Simon Papa and Marco Strega, are joined by a small ensemble of other musicians who really add a depth to the music that the CD presents.
Tales of forlorn love and of fae abound in this CD and the stories that are told help move the listener from this world into the enchanted world that the songs create and, at first listen, these images and stories that are painted in the listener’s imagination are what will attract lovers of Celtic music to this CD. A more careful examination of the songs will reveal that there is much more than just this to recommend this CD, however. For lovers of traditional Celtic, there are the songs “Another Trip to Skye” (a waltz written by accordionist John Whelan, who plays on the CD) and “The Mummer’s Dance” (a cover of a Loreena McKinnett song). Also, no matter what style of music you are most accustomed to, you can’t help but appreciate the arrangements that this CD presents. Papa and Strega blend very disparate styles of music virtually seamlessly on this CD in just about every song.
Of all of the songs on the CD, “The Elder Flute” and “Another Trip to Skye” affected me the most, but I think that the tune that interested me the most was MaterDea’s acoustic version of their namesake song, “Mater Dea”. The full version presented early in the CD is a dense and captivating epic and getting to hear the stripped down version of it was a lesson in how different the same song can sound in differing arrangements.
Overall, “Below the mists, above the brambles” is an impressive debut CD that suggests a bright future for MaterDea. I look forward to hearing more from this group.
Floyd Brigdon is a writer and musician who regularly writes reviews for She Never Slept, a website devoted to science fiction, strange tales and horror. In his real life, he is an English and theater teacher at a community college right outside of Dallas. One of his life’s greatest pleasures is getting to play with his band, Triskelion, and he considers getting to write reviews for Marc Gunn’s Celtic MP3s Music Magazine to be the greatest gift that 2011 could bring him.