Auga de Maio

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Galician septet Milladoiro has been putting out warm, lush renditions of the music of their little corner of Spain for decades. Auga de Maio continues that trend in fine fashion. Their arrangements, which mix the sounds of various pipes, harp, violin, flute, hurdy-gurdy, and a host of other instruments, have a light, easy flow. Even dancier tunes such as "O Santo de Pólvora" and "Carballesas" are more buoyant than driving. The laser-like tone of the pipes, usually an ear-piercing sound, is muted and mellowed in this band's hands. In fact, if Milladoiro can be faulted for just one thing on this release, it's that they are a little too polite. Nothing here grabs the listener by the lapels and yells "Dance!" That is not to say that this isn't a wonderful listen. It's just more like chamber olk with its sophisticated harmonies and graceful, multi-layered arrangements. The sound is lace-like and diaphanous, yet not insubstantial. They give simple, guileless folk melodies such as "Alborada de Verin" the same lovingly meticulous treatment they give newly composed tunes such as "No Confin Dos Verdes Castros." The only thing that comes close to a weak track here is "Moraima." While guest vocalist Ana Belén has a lovely voice, its pop phrasing is a little out of place here. Also, the fade-out ending on this one sounds like a cop-out. The rest of Auga de Maio, however, is a delight. It floats on air and then settles like a fine mist.

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