Sarah Bauhan Untamed Grasses
- Released: April 8, 2008
- Label: Alula
- 1.Medley: the Curleu/ Bird In the Tree / Andy McGann's /the Curlew
- 2.Untamed Grasses, The (Bauhan)
- 3.Medley: Pottinger's Reel / Miss Barker's / Miss Taylor's
- 4.She Left a Star
- 5.Medley:Renn's March/ Leaving Port Askaig
- 6.Medley:Tom Morrison's Fedora/ Roarin' Lauren
- 7.Leaf's Waltz
- 10.Medley:The Racoon Cap / The Returned Yank /Aly's Fiddle
- 11.Legere Existence
- 12.Untamed Grasses Reprise
Personnel: Sarah Bauhan (flute, wooden flute, whistle); David Surette (guitar, banjo, tenor banjo, bouzouki, mandolin); Lorraine Hammond (dulcimer, harp); Jane Orzechowski (fiddle); Chris Abell (wooden flute, whistle, congas); Iain Bain (highland bagpipe); Kent Allyn (piano, keyboards, bass instrument, bass guitar); Bob McQuillen (piano); Martyn Bennett (keyboards); Jay Smith (bodhran).
Flutist and whistle player Sarah Bauhan was raised in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire, where there is a longstanding tradition of folk music and dancing. Specifically, it's the contra dance that defines the region. A 19th century American folk dance and cousin to the square dance, contra dancing is driven principally by upbeat jigs and reels, performed on instruments such as fiddles and flutes. It's the latter that Bauhan plays with virtuosic skill throughout Untamed Grasses (Alcazar), her second album. It's a collection of both traditional and original instrumental material, and includes reels and ballads that display at every turn the effortless grace and buttery harmony of Bauhan's flute. Accompanied mainly by a spare, spry acoustic guitar, Bauhan is also joined memorably by pipes on the epic "Renn's March/Leaving Port Askaig." As her flute sketches the insistent melody over strums of plaintive guitar, the pipes rise in the background until the triumphant breaking point where the piper fleshes out Bauhan's playing with grace and grandeur. Fiddles and mandolins stop by for "Horgal†ten," while the Bauhan original "Angst" takes a contemplative turn, only to flirt with its fluttering melody like a hovering butterfly. The title track too is a solitary affair, until its midpoint when more forceful guitar and the addition of a fiddle amps its urgency like a shimmering flare in the inky night sky. A later reprise of the tune seems to morph into a jaunty waltz with the aid of a piano. The album's only misstep is its final track, which drifts toward shapeless new age with its synthesized piano and percussion. After the album's organic duration, the encroachment of digital modernity into a world of wind and reeds is really off-putting. Luckily, the track is at the end, letting the rest of Untamed Grasses stand wonderfully on its own. ~ Johnny Loftus
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