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AAA Music | 2 June 2020

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Afro Celt Sound System – Capture

| On 06, Sep 2010

Afro Celt Sound System started their career 15 years ago, when Simon Emmerson collaborated with Afro-pop star Baaba Maal and was struck by the similarity between one African melody and a traditional Irish air.

So he put together the band and started to compose a music that melted those two different musical traditions creating an original kind of fusion. To celebrate their 15th anniversary,  Afro Celt Sound System release a new album, Capture, a career-spanning cd, divided into two discs, Verse and Chorus, the latter comprising the group’s instrumental offerings, and the former being a collection of “songs.”

The songs are beautifully re-mastered to lend the sound a new warmth and allow the dynamics to emerge as originally intended.

The album contains prestigious collaborations with Sinead O’Connor, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Dorothee Munyaneza and more.  It also includes tracks featured on soundtracks including Gangs Of New York and Hotel  Rwanda.

Lagan is a perfect intro to the album made of a driving beating drum intertwined with strings and a voice inspired by ancient tribal chants.

Release, featuring Sinead O’Connor is influenced by her gentle and thin voice, so its rhythm is soft and enriched by flutes and very Irish bagpipes, paying tribute to their guest’s origin.

Seed goes on blinking the eye more towards Ireland than Africa, the use of bagpipes always makes me think of Celts, while the masterful Rae & Christian remix of Persistence Of Memory makes time stand still with its now-iconic rippling chords.

Eireann melts tribal chants inspired by Africa and sung in African or maybe Gaelic, it’s hard to recognize, together with Celts flures and bagpipes, all mixed with electronic sounds while Mother is more African, the singing style and a beautiful gipsy classic guitar make this tune an enchanting ballad.

When you’re falling features Peter Gabriel, a very precious collaboration, his mark is unmistakable, the tune is more pop compared to other tracks, anyway the harmonies in the chorus are coloured by a few darker Irish touches and the African melody permeates it.

Further In Time is this side’s only weak link while Go on through, featuring Liam O’ Flynn and Pina Kollars, is driven by low-key percussion without overpowering it, vocals are dreaming and leaves the track in suspense.

On Rise Above, Mundy’s husky vocals give the tune an Irish U2 taste, while frenetic rhythms simmer underneath, occasionally make way for the fragility of a violin, which itself tries to turn into a carrying away force.

The last two tracks see the collaboration of Robert Plant  Life Begin Again and of Dorothee Munyaneza on When I still needed you. These are two beautiful tracks, both embellished by two amazing singers. The first track feels the effect of his guest, it’s almost psychedelic and mystic at the same time, thanks to the female vocals on the backdrop, while Dorothee Munyaneza’s vocals are a blossom embroidered on a low-tempo but epic drums and classic guitars in crescendo that give tension to the tune.

Capture is undoubtedly a greatest hits collection, and it’s a very good way to approach the band for the first time. It will make you curious to hear more and find out the strange and fascinating musical combination that fusion can create.

Author: Roberta Capuano