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STOUT – UNDAUNTED: Redefining Irish Folk
UNDAUNTED – that’s STOUTs motto on their second album. UNDAUNTEDly they have refined their music and added all their influences to Irish Folk. On UNDAUNTED, traditional and modern folk, borrowings from Rock, Heavy Metal, Swing, Pop and more merge harmonically. Not least the flawless two-voiced singing of the two men of STOUT ties all music on UNDAUNTED together. Contradictions are resolved and music is celebrated passionatly from quiet to loud, from sad to buoyant.
Their love to the well- and lesser-known songs and tunes is as big as their affection for lovingly, detailed and elaboratly arranged music. Within this, the two are more accomplished than ever in ignoring genre-boundaries and despite all that creating a coherent, harmonic whole.
“Everything’s possible” could have been conceived by STOUT. Every idea that sounds good is consequently realized, they go to every considerable length to transport the music from their heads and hearts to their listeners. Mario and Simon never lose sight of the message and core of a song but apart from that approach their music completely open. Renowned songs such as “The Holy Ground”, “Fiddler’s Green” or “The Rising Of The Moon” ring out in fresh appearance without betraying their folk-roots. But also lesser-known or less popular songs are treated unladen by STOUT on UNDAUNTED. Hence the scottish “The Term Time” gets a good dose of rock music or the irish-language piece “Cad É Sin Don Té Sin” rings out in a mysterious, menacing atmosphere. But even a swing-version of “The Star Of The County Down” has its place on the album.
The main element on UNDAUNTED however is most likely the perfectly attuned singing of the two full-blooded musicians. Both use their variable, unique voices as undaunted as they approach the rest of their music. They play this card entirely on tracks like “Roddy McCorley” or “MacPhearson’s Lament” and create partly simple and precious, partly uncommon and surprising harmonies. Melancholic and soulful in quiet moments, rough, powerful and often with a wink in loud moments, but always harmonic and emotional.
The list of different sounds on UNDAUNTED is long: Guitars, banjo (sometimes in multiple-voice harmonies), accordion, mandolin, the two harmonic voices, english, scots-english and irish lyrics, songs spanning from quiet ballads (“The Town I Loved So Well”) to well-known pub-classics (“The Bold O’Donaghue”) and instrumental-sets (“Jonathan Frakes'”, “Hipple-Dip Serenade”). And that’s just to name what Simon and Mario do.
This is all accompanied by many friends who lend their huge talents to STOUT to complete their vision of fresh folk music. Hence genre-typical instruments such as the bodhrán, tin whistle and uilleann pipes ring out next to the sounds of i.e. double bass and piano. But also a rocking drum-set or a swinging brass section and background choir are well-placed on the record if the track demands it. In addition to that STOUT have won some very talented singers for the CD that also enhance the sound and make the record as emotional as it is (especially on “Whiskey In The Jar”).
This multifacetedness paired with the musical and stylistic certainty of STOUT make UNDAUNTED a record that consists of much more than the label Irish Folk indicates. And nonetheless the whole record sounds as if made from one piece.
UNDAUNTED: This is how the new STOUT album sounds like. Here, music is celebrated in its entirety, from “simple” folk to the genre-mix. Limitations and boundaries are overthrown and Irish Folk redefined. By this, STOUT created their very own, unique sound which always sound like STOUT yet always surprises.
Downloads of UNDAUNTED are available on all common download- and streaming-platforms.
C / P STOUT / Liekedeler Musikproduktionen 2019
And this is, what the experts say about UNDAUNTED:
[Translated from German]:
The two musicians from the Ruhr-area are on the mission to remove the dust from pub-style Irish Folk since 2013. With UNDAUNTED they now present their second record.
The two perfectly harmonising voices are sensitively interpreting a widely known repertoire. Having to offer so much instrumentally is lifting them from the bulk of their colleagues, The songs (and tunes) are always reduced to their essence and then rebuilt innovatively and with joy of playing. While “The Town I Loved So Well” benefits from a spare interpretation, “Star Of The County Down” was expanded into a captivating swing-number in big band style.
STOUT handle influences from classical music to heavy metal. They nonetheless accomplish the feat to create a clear, genuine sound which is immediately identified as Irish Folk.
Almuth Kückelhaus in Folk Magazin Issue 346
[Translated from German]:
The westfalian duo consisting of Simon Scherer and Mario Kuzyna play and sing together wiith 23 guest musicians well-known irish songs, partly traditionally, partly in a new fashion. Three choirs and instruments untypical for irish folk such as Flugelhorn or trombone besides new melody lines nonetheless reveal each song to the listener and let them enjoy them. All lyric readable.
Folker, Issue 1/2020