DMR Appalasia : Pu An (US/HK,2010)****'
Appalasia is a trio that spontaneously by experiment and experience found a common ground between Chinese and Appalachian music. The trio consists of an erhu- or traditional Chinese violin player- a self-taught dulcimer player and a banjo player. It is very much the spiritual third element that which combines sounds, or which combines styles that is the omnipresent main element and core inspiration that makes this new musical form works for this band, or as an idea for any band delving into a crossover area. I could express this aspect in a couple of different ways and point it where I can find it in each detail of their playing.
Less Chinese influence in the next album, but here's the review:
Laughing mallet Music Appalasia: Cargo (US,2016) (?)
Appalasia started off as one of the few bands covering and developing on their own, a sensibility for a different sound and form of folk fusion, as a meeting point between different worlds mixed with personal influences in which to adapt to all other musical approaches that one still feels most easily acquainted to. It is showing its interest and an aspect of a curiosity mixed with the traditional aspect that can be associated with a form of comfort as it slowly adapts on a more familiar ground. On this second album, the band focused more on original compositions and songs, adding also a few more instruments like vibraphone, accordion, percussion, additional vocals and acoustic bass, extending the emotional depth of the music, and adding more warmth into its atmosphere. Going more to a style of its own, means also a stronger root into a sense of local sensibility, with the feeling of a village, its people, warmth and friendship, in which sharing its stories, and remembering its past and imagining its future with that which remains, a collective of useful qualities. At the same time it takes the time to develop instrumentals of an ideal perspective. While many times this gives a rather western feel, a track like “Early Warning” gives a sense of mixed sensibility, of eastern and western open tunes in picking or bowed modes. “Cargo” is like a slow joyful late afternoon dance mood. “Green Island” is a traditional Chinese song* and shows the opposite voice of the twofold, or let’s say two-winged bird this group still is. “East Toward Home” relaxed once more in the slow afternoon dance. Its worked out instrumental rhythms have added an extra exotic warm flavour to it. But also the songs like “Halloween Waltz” can have the same effect. “Pony Bird” gives a bit of that Appalachian effect, with the Chinese bow playing the danceable tune. “Snow on the Buddha” nicely concludes in a fusing still recognisable way, the 'Appalasian' way. Recommended as a joyful and easily repeatable listen.