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Reviews online

It occurs to meÖ that although there's a lot of wonderful, genuine, interesting music in the world, available on CD, much of it, being not exactly in the media-swamping mainstream of commercial music, goes unheard, indeed unsuspected, by the many people who'd like it if they heard it - including, probably, you.

    For years I, as well as many other writers, have been reviewing such excellent music in the world roots music magazine fRoots. It's the sort of magazine that those who subscribe or buy it on news-stands tend to keep once they've read it, but once a new issue comes out they probably only occasionally refer to their tottering pile, more organised shelf, or dusty loft-box of back copies. So a lot of information Ė features and reviews Ė moves into storage, when it would be useful to keep still available the information about these recordings and the musicians and cultures from which they come.

SoÖ Iím putting the bulk of the reviews Iíve written so far for fRoots magazine - of some 2000+ albums, mainly from northern, central and eastern Europe and Iberia - online, on these web pages linked to from my website and from my Facebook page.

    Not the most recent reviews from the last three months or so Ė you can buy or subscribe to fRoots for them, dammit Ė nor the most damning ones (they can languish in print to save space, your time and spare their perpetrators, who might just record something better later), and only those Iíve written for fRoots (or Folk Roots back when it was so titled, and even earlier Southern Rag). There are plenty of albums that didn't come for review, of course, so it's not exhaustive or definitive, and thereíll be no stars or ranking; different people look for and like different things. Iím just making available information, description and perhaps a hint of my own enthusiasms.

    What's here is just reviews, not features. You can get the features, with all their photos and layout, and all the other interesting things that are in the magazine, by buying or subscribing to the mag, which is now available for subscription in an online version as well as in physical print. Individual back copies can be ordered from the fRoots website, www.frootsmag.com (well, those that havenít already sold out - contact me about any you really canít get hold of). You can also find on the fRoots website full indices to all the features, and albums reviewed, in its 300+ issues over the past 35+ years, as well as other useful stuff including samples from the current issue, fRoots' online radio/podcast, festivals list etc.

    One of my other reasons for putting these things online was that publication of the 'Europe, Asia & Pacific' volume of the updated (third) edition of The Rough Guide to World Music, for which I wrote the chapters and recommended discographies for all the Nordic and Baltic countries and Portugal, was delayed for several years. It was at last published in late 2009.

    For the more recent reviews, where the information is most likely to be up to date, Iíll give links to websites or contact details for artists and record companies, links that often have tracks to listen to and ways to buy the albums. And please do buy the CD - where possible direct from the artist or label themselves because they get more that way - rather than just searching for free downloads (or even paid-for ones - artists and small labels get very little for those) because recording and releasing music does cost money, most of these albums barely, if at all, cover their costs and if people donít pay something for the good stuff there wonít be any more good stuff.

    The reviews are divided below into regions (not with any political implication, just to make finding things a little easier). Clicking on a region brings up a list of artists and recordings subdivided by country or area.
    (If you want to search for a particular name, recording, instrument or whatever, simply type the relevant word(s) and "Andrew Cronshaw" into Google or other search engine).

Andrew Cronshaw

NORDIC        BALTIC        IBERIA (& islands)