04 December 2006

Monday's mp3: Karelian Mystery, Solved

Wa-Ta-Ga (aka Reel) - Russian BandThis little mystery found its way to me on an uneven album of contemporary Russian music, and the only info about the band Reel is one line in the insert: "Easily and finely produced by musicians a synthesis of authentic North Russia's lyrical material and world ethnic music."

Right, then.

Actually, a bit a Web sleuthing turned up more info about the band Reel. In 2002 They released an album called Strannie Ludi (Strange People), which is available at CDroots. And when I uncovered the Sketis website, I learned that Reel has since been renamed Wa-Ta-Ga, and last year released a second album, called L-S-D "Leonov Sokolov Derevlev."

Ethnology - SketisMusic compilation of Russian musicSome of the band's appeal may stem from their origins in the Karelian region of Russia, a cultural hotbed that has given the world the compelling music of Varttina, Burlakat, and Pauliina Lerche, among others.

This little number starts with a man speaking, then chanting (in Russian? Karelian? Hmmm...). Stay with it, and about a minute into the piece you start getting some nice percussion, bass, flute, and guitar. Then vocal harmonies that remind me more of something from Italy than any other Russian music I've heard. Is other music by Reel/Wa-Ta-Ga as interesting? If you know, leave a comment or send some music my way.

[mp3] Reel: "Ja Jodila, Ja Gulyala"
from the album Ethnology (2003, SketisMusic)

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