Guy Mendilow Band,
(Mendilusian, 2008)

Guy Mendilow covers many types of music on these 14 tracks, including African, Jewish, Latin and Cajun, using a variety of instruments. The first track is called "Experiment," using a jaw harp with Mendilow doing overtone singing and using the bowed berimbau. He uses the gourd part of the berimbau as percussion by having it beat against his chest on a number of songs.

There are some unusual pairings that work quite well. The group does the old-timey "Blues for Dino" with clarinet, violin and slide berimbau. Mendilow combines the first two instruments with his guitar and overtone singing for "Amazing Grace," and the overtones are both amazing and graceful. "Whistler's Brother" pairs overtone singing with a bamboo flute.

The 52-second "Awendejr" features a traditional Chinese jaw harp that can produce four simultaneous tracks. Electric mbira (thumb piano) and octave mandolin also appear on a few tracks.

It might be that Mendilow varies a bit too much here, and that some of the songs are a bit too mellow, like "Rain, Rain, Beautiful Rain." Mendilow learned the latter from Ladysmith Black Mambazo, though, so that one is hard to argue with. And even the slow songs benefit from unusual arrangements.

You could say this is like a compilation of world music, all by one band.

[ visit the artist online ]

review by
Dave Howell

3 April 2010

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