Brio: Sol y Luna - Traditional
1. Yo m'enamori [3:16]
2. Puncha, puncha [2:57]
3. Danzas de Salomon [2:01]
4. Cafe de amanecer [3:40]
5. Raki [2:34]
6. Ay linda amiga [3:05]
7. Rantante [2:55]
8. Ir me quero [3:21]
9. Ay Sarica bre [2:52]
10. Alta es la luna [2:08]
11. Paxaro [2:29]
12. Frego, frego [2:00]
13. Gerineldo [2:28]
14. Flauta Persa [2:49]
15. Una matica de ruda (Jew) [2:04]
16. Dos Danzas Gitanas [3:25]
17. El Rey que tanto madruga [3:10]
18. En la mar hay una torre [2:49]
19. Tres morillas [El Cancionero de Palacio] [2:12]
Brio (Mary Anne Ballard (viola da gamba, rebec), Jose Lemos (counter-tenor); Danny Mallon (castanets, caxixi, doumbek, darbuka, bodhran, riq, agogo bells, jingle bells, finger cymbals, shaker, woodblock), Steve Rosenberg (recorder, Persian flute, Renaissance guitars))
rec. 10-12 March 2010, Ayrshire Farm, Upperville, Virginia, USA.

The four multi-talented players who make up Brio have specialised in music of the sephardic jews and in medieval music generally. The present disc comprises just short of 53 minutes of brief tangy songs from this legacy. These are recorded in red-blooded proximity with the balance shimmying close-up to the listener. One might almost term it a ‘pop balance’ though thankfully there is no trace of synths or electronica. The songs are taken by counter-tenor Jose Lemos though it’s fair to say that he is here more in the nature of a super-caramel tenor than a James Bowman. There is none of that affected stratospheric apparatus we get elsewhere. He sounds almost Mexican in Cafe de Amanecer. Percussion plays a major part and Moroccan voices cross and blend with music of the Spanish and Provencal courts. Some tracks, such as the flitting troubadour-sped fluting progress of Danzas de Salomon leave us almost breathless. There’s the occasional shake or ululation as in Raki and Ir me quero. Back to medieval sobriety and dignified seduction for Ay Linda Amiga. There is a variety of instrumentation too as in the ‘antient musickrie’ and Mediterranean courtyards of Ay Sarica Bre. Paxaro takes us back to the Iberian peninsula with guitar and castanets as well as in the rise and fall of this lissom solo song. Una matica de ruda is in much the same idiom. En la mar is more exotic despite its classical guitar underpinning. Tres Morillas returns us momentarily to medieval manners and modes. All the words are printed in the delightful booklet both as sung and in English translation. If you enjoy the shadow-lands between Spain and North Africa but presented in a lively and unstuffy way then this is certainly for you.

Rob Barnett

The shadow-lands between Spain and North Africa presented in a lively and unstuffy way.