Hotel Palindrone,
Samo Riba
(Extraplatte, 2003)

Hotel Palindrone, founded 1995, has been a driving force in the Austrian folk scene for the last decade. Their latest CD, Samo Riba, was recorded live between December 2002 and April 2003. The four-piece line-up plays a varied mixture of European folk music on a very impressing choice of particularly interesting instruments.

Albin Paulus sings and plays the clarinet, different kinds of flutes and pipes, shawm and jaw harp. Stephan "Stoney" Steiner adds violins, diatonic accordion, hurdy gurdy and nyckelharp. John Morrissey plays the mandolin and guitar, while Peter "Nag" Natterer adds bass, tenor saxophone and harmonium.

The CD opens with a solo on the jaw harp before the band performs an old but very lively dance from the Alps in 3/8 time. They pay reverence to their homelands with another track as well, "Jodler & Waltzer" -- the yodeling sounds accompanied by the pipes, an extraordinary arrangement, are followed by a waltz. But they also offer much more than Austrian folk music.

Instrumental tracks from southeast Europe in 5/4 and 7/8 time, as well as a beautiful old song in "Plattdeutsch," a German language spoken in the North, fused with a Swedish polska as well as a a muneira from Galicia are some more examples of their wide musical horizon.

Dances from Brittany are certainly one of the band's strengths and my favourite tracks on the CD. The title track, "Samo Riba," is a beautiful AnDro, and it would be great to join the dance. "Suite Plinn" is a stunning fusion of Breton dance music with jazz and a breathtaking bass line. Scottish, Branles, Bourrees, ronds de St.-Vincent and circles also inspire you to dance, and to round it up the CD features a contemporary track, composed by Robert Amyot.

One track stands for their entire work, "L'orient est grand," which is dedicated to St. Crogaich, who was kidnapped by the Vikings from his Breton lands. He sailed all over Europe with them and learned to play the music of different nations on his harp. This guy must have been an ancestor of the band members.

Hotel Palindrone boasts four excellent musicians who deserve the title of a European folk band. Their repertoire includes music from all over the continent, brought forward with feeling and passion, four excellent musicians, who have created their own outstanding style.

- Rambles
written by Adolf Goriup
published 8 January 2005