Music Reviews

Artist: Quikion
Title: Ramadan
Format: CD
Label: Gazul Records/MUSEA
Distributor: Poseidon
Rated: *****
Ramadan, the fourth CD by Japanese-based folk trio Quikion, is a far-out flight of fancy that whisks the listener headlong through crumbling columns of the cultural divide. This disc features twelve traditional tunes harvested from such far-flung corners as England, Germany, France, Romania, Yugoslavia, and even Pakistan! There are plenty of other delightful twists and surprises to be found on this CD, beyond the diversity of sources from which the material was garnered. For starters, lead vocalist Totoki Yukiko intones these songs in a new and exciting way, singing them in her native Japanese tongue. Sasaki Emi lends her vocal talents, as well, on some of the tracks. These soothing sounds are augmented by superb instrumentation, provided by all three band members. Yukiko plays the concertina and harmonium with skill and savvy. Emi gives her all on the accordion, glockenspiel, psaltery, and, pianica. Both women provide percussion, as well. Oguma Eiji’s fingers fly across the strings of his guitar, bouzouki, and tempura. Toy instruments are also utilized with some frequency on this disc, adding a playful air to the presentation. Too many individual highlights to mention here in total, though I will give a special nod to "Moon and a Bride," the title track, "Cha-Ri-Ne," and "Spellbound," which are all exceptional. "Concertina Blues" and "Sirba D’Accordion" are also special songs, centered on charming refrains that flow freely from their namesake instruments. Enchanting and lovely, this CD makes me want to get up and dance around – what a treat!

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