Arise by Rastaban: a review

Cover for Arise by Rastaban.

Arise is Rastaban’s second official studio album and really does help define their style of tribal folk even more. Aurora, their previous album was released in 2013 and was a half live, half studio album. Arise, released earlier this year in 2015 is a completely studio-based release. The variety of different styles included on this album is astounding- from the dancy, upbeat rhythms in Zora, the slower yet beautiful Anadolka and the stunning harp piece included as the song named ‘Interlude’- it does not disappoint. When you see Rastaban live, you really do get a great mixture of energies from each song, and this album has nailed that feeling. There is a brand new version of Moja Duša which has many new musical features and it is so beautiful. It features Sophie of Cesair and Shireen on the cello and violin, Arno from La Horde playing the viola and Mathieu from La Horde playing the Mandolin. The string section of orchestra features a lot more on this album, and Arise has had a lot of wonderful musical guests including Fieke of Cesair on the title song, Arise, Sophie of Cesair and Shireen, Mathieu and Arno of La Horde on Moja Duša, and Daemonia Nymphe also feature on the song Rusalka.

Adapting and performing traditional songs is something Rastaban are very good at doing- they are fantastic at presenting older traditional folklore and songs in their own tribal folk style, and that shines through with Arise. Anadolka, the first song of the album is a very old traditional piece from Bosnia. Though it’s usually considered as the ‘Sevdah’ style, Rastaban put their own energetic spin on it and it’s a fantastic album opener. Hore Dolom is a song originating in the Ukrainian Carpathians and written in the Lemko language which is different to classical Ukrainian, but perfectly understandable. Again, this is another song that would usually be performed as a kind of lament, but the reactions to the Rastaban style have been fantastic and people from that specific region enjoy what they have brought to the song. The main theme for the song Zora is a traditional piece from Brittany, but Rastaban completely adapted it- the lyrics are now in French and English and the chorus is in Serbian/Croatian. The album ends with Free Money, a bonus track, which is meant as a gift for Marine, the lead vocalist of the band. Patti Smith was her main inspiration when she started to sing, so including a bonus track like this is an homage to Patti Smith and also a gift for Marine.

High energy, tribal folk, dancing and older, traditional songs brought into the new age are all things that Rastaban are fantastic at, and Arise shows that they are just getting better and better.

You can find out more about Rastaban at: https://www.facebook.com/rastabanmusic

This was originally published in September 2015.

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