Batiska (Appel Rekords APR1336, 2011)
Batiska is the first album by a new Belgian contemporary folk music ensemble called Naragonia Quartet. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Naragonia is also a duo formed by melodeon player Pascale Rubens and multi-instrumentalist Toon Van Mierlo on various bagpipes, accordion, bombarde, biniou and low whistles. Naragonia Quartet enhances the duo with the incorporation of two additional outstanding musicians, Wouter Vandabeele on violin and Maarten Decombel on guitar and mandola.
The title of the album, Batiska, refers to the band’s small bathyscaphe submarine that takes the listener on a fascinating underwater musical journey. “On this trip you will meet crazy animals and strange creatures, discover new landscapes and hear unexpected sounds,” says Maarten Decombel.
The original pieces on the album are inspired by Flemish, Breton, French, Scottish and Irish folk music. The four virtuoso musicians treat the listener to a rich palette of dance pieces that include waltzes, jigs, scottisches, mazurkas, an dro, and bourees.
Batiska is an impressive debut by one of the finest contemporary folk groups in the Low Countries.
The album is available from denappel.be