Independent Clauses has a history of reviewing stuff that’s out of the ordinary. We like our folk, indie-rock and indie-pop here, but we also dabble in the more unique. Our tendency toward the unusual is part of the reason that you’re reading a review of BraAgas‘ world-traveling folk album Tapas. The other reason you’re reading it is because Tapas is really good.
It’s a folk band, which is right up IC’s alley, although we don’t usually get folk albums that hail from other continents and are sung entirely in foreign tongues. Thankfully, the melodic prowess and excellent performances on the album more than make up for the fact that I have no clue what’s being said. One of the things that makes their melodic prowess so strong is that the songs here span so many different moods and cultures. “Suricillo” has a lilting, medieval quality to it, while “Asentada en mi ventara” is an a cappella gypsy folk track accompanied only by clapping. Highlight “Csiki, Csiki” has a profoundly Spanish flair in the guitar and stand-up bass work. Haunting “Hajde Jano” combines several different cultures into one profoundly ethereal experience.
Where much “world music” is difficult to get acquainted with, Tapas is immediately accessible. It’s recorded immaculately, with the instruments and voices coming through excellently. The tunes themselves are incredibly engaging and, while unique to the listener unacquainted with world folk, not off-putting after the first few tracks. The biggest challenge for the listener will probably be getting over the idea of “world folk” and just listening to it. BraAgas will take care of your enjoyment if you just let them.
If you’re up for something new in your life musically, you should check out BraAgas’ Tapas from Indies Scope Records. It’s a beautiful, engaging world folk record that reveals many excellent moments on repeated listens.