Review Archive

‘Early European Dance’ performed by Avis Dei - echoes of magic and mystery

(November 24, 2013)

The Russian band Avis Dei perform music composed over five centuries ago. Their album ‘Early European Dance’ on the Sketis Music folk label, gives new life to this ancient music and takes their listeners to somewhere thatAvis Dei echoes magic and mystery. These are dances from early traditions. Dances from the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance. Despite their years, still their energy pours through. This music lives and breathes as much today as it did centuries ago.

Through the exuberance of ‘Saltarello – La Regina’ and ‘Rondo’, the stately majesty of ‘La Danse de Cleeves’ and ‘Bittre Reue’ and the complexities of‘Galliarde – Puis que viure en seritude’ - this album leads you on a fascinating journey through the Middle Ages and through Early Renaissance music.

This is folk music born of many societies and cultures lost in time yet still carrying the original dance messages. It echoes civilisations and traditions that are worth preserving, not least for the beauty they created. From painstaking reconstruction, expansive library research and sheer inventiveness Avis Dei investigate old manuscripts and deliver an entrancing glimpse into long-faded music. They take inspiration from Italy to Flanders, France to England and Spain to Germany on an ancient path highlighted by ancient tunes delivered by equally ancient instruments. To create their sound, Avis Dei play reconstructed instruments, which as accurately as possible reflect the tone and timbre of their ancient ancestors.

Avis Dei are Svetlana Soldatenkova (recorders, raushpfayf, bagpipe, shafferpfayf, percussion, Neapolitan mandolin) Dimitry Shichalin (oboe, recorders, alto oboe, raushpfayf) Alekcey Safonov (cittern) Natalia Khokhlova (ladnsknehttrommel, darbuka, percussion) and Martin Nyaga (baroque cello).

Website: sketismusic.bandcamp.com/avis-dei

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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