Bill Jones

Panchpuran

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Panchpuran is a rather unusual title for an album of British folk music (it's a Hindi word) and Bill Jones is a rather unusual name for a woman (it's short for Belinda). As it turns out, the contents of this intriguing disc are actually fairly conventional at first glance: Jones sings, in a slightly rawboned but beautiful voice, a program of traditional songs both familiar and obscure, generally with tastefully minimal accompaniment. But there are twists even among the trad numbers -- popular favorites like "Tam Lin" and "A Stor Mo Chroi" are set to melodies of Jones' own invention, and the occasional brass band and string quartet can be heard in the background as well (the latter to particularly nice effect on "Tam Lin"). The album's most affecting song is the title track, an original composition that is based in part on a telephone conversation Jones had with her aunt, who shared recollections of a childhood spent in India. The song is set to a heartbreakingly lovely tune and sung a capella. It forms the emotional centerpiece of a truly remarkable album.

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