Thursday 24 May 2012


Collision Music.

Anyone who has heard Ex-Wise Heads will guess already that I have always had a very strong interest in hearing music from all over the world.
I can trace this back to being about 16 and getting out random cassette tapes (remember them?) from the local library in order to discover things like Balinese ritual music, Bulgarian Wedding music or Sufi music from Pakistan. I've continued to delve into so-called "World Music" (a bit of a ridiculous term to me) and explore the unfamiliar over the years, sometime unearthing real gems, other times just feeling mystified.....

However, I have to say, although I have taken the time to listen to some music from Eastern Europe, folk music from Ukraine is something I really know next to nothing about. (edit: on reflection, about which I know nothing at all.....)

The whole notion of folk music is quite interesting to me; song forms that have existed for a long, long time, handed down through generations, often describing events, things or people from ages past and which are perhaps even a strong part of the self-identity of an individual or group of people.
In the UK, I always sense that people are perhaps embarrassed by their own folk culture, I guess the closest you can get is that some summer evenings, in the right places, it's possible to see see Morris Men, generally much older guys, who always look to me to be looking for an excuse to drink beer rather then connect with their ancestral root culture.

Anyway, shortly after I visited Kiev with Ex-Wise Heads last March, I was invited to collaborate with the vocal talents of Astarta, a female vocal duo “updating” Ukrainian folk music for the present time, by specifically mixing contemporary elements with ancient songs.


Although I have really no idea about the language or the meaning of the words, the sounds of the two voices working together is something I find quite compelling, containing an almost pagan “joie de vivre” quality rarely heard these days, and the flowing nature of the melodies often conceal odd rhythmic patterns which appeal to my love of exotic time signatures.

Therefore, I'd like to present here a two track digital download single “Kalina/Vesnanyochka" the first two tracks in what is developing into an ongoing collaboration, hopefully a full album length before too long:

Given that I have no real knowledge or experience whatsoever of the folk idiom, I'm thinking of this as being almost “Collision Music”, exploring the unknown (for me at least), I sincerely hope it's as rewarding to listen to, as it is to be involved in.




  1. Wow, very interesting. Almost Dead Can Dance-ish. Cheers on this fascinating eclectic experiment. It *is* compelling.

  2. How about that album with Astarta, is it going anywhere?

  3. @Alexander, recording is ongoing, I hope to share some more information before too long.


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