London, England – British instrumentalist Andrew Cronshaw has a new recording, Ochre, on the Cloud Valley label. For this new album, Cronshaw has returned to his English roots. On Ochre, the world view is reversed, with musicians from the traditions of the Middle East, Greece and Wales who react to and build on music exotic to them – that of England. The result, with each of the seven tracks using as its starting point a song melody from English tradition, is inventive, image-rich and voluptuous.
The team that gathered in January 2004, not in England but at a studio in the green rolling countryside of the south-west tip of Wales, comprises Syrian qanun and ud virtuoso
Abdullah Chhadeh; the great Welsh triple-harpist Llio Rhydderch; Arabic
Natacha Atlas; Pontic lyra virtuoso Matthaios Tsahourides from northern Greece; multi-talented Australia-resident Brit Ian Blake on bass clarinet, clarinet, soprano sax and prepared piano; Irish double bassist Bernard O’Neill; and Cronshaw himself on electric zither, the 6 foot long Slovakian flute fujara, Chinese brass-reeded ba-wu and other instruments not usually associated with English music.