After enjoying some selections from this project for a while, we were able to pick up the full discography in 2015 and were pleased to introduce An Danzza
to the pages of Gothic Paradise. Formed by Andrés Campuzano in Spain years ago, he released the debut album Last Autumn Tears
in 2010. He has surrounded himself with many talented musicians and vocalists over the course of the five released albums and the result is a collection of excellent music. The project focuses on a range of celtic, fairy world and mystical music sometimes including vocals, sometimes just instrumentals which would go well with any number of epic movie soundtracks along the lines of Braveheart, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings
and many others. The style of the music on each album varies slightly from work to work with the earliest lending itself well to some of the classic folk and celtic influences with heavenly ethereal vocals while the fourth album was mostly instrumental. 2016 saw the release of Whispers of the Forest
which saw the introduction of a new vocalist and a return to the fairyworld and celtic styles of earlier albums.
We are happy to present selections from the entire discography from this project, both those officially released to the public as well as a few unreleased tracks Andrés was kind enough to send to include on our radio show. Listeners should be familiar with many of these selections by now and for those not, check out the reviews below and listen in and form your own opinions. This is a talented artist and a great project that we hope to continue to hear more from in the future.
Whispers of the Forest - Review
As this latest album came out soon after we did the review of the entire discography from this artist and his guests, all the history and music is fresh in mind and it's nice to really feel and see the similarities with past releases as well as areas of growth and differences.
One thing is for sure, Andrés is one extremely talented musician and the guests included, including the lovely voice of vocalist Haydée Mariñoso, really create an excellent atmosphere and mix of great music. Spanning fifteen spellbinding tracks, the listener is taken on an incredible journey through fantasy worlds of myth and legend.
The short mostly instrumental title track starts the album off, the whispering trees inviting the listener to enter the enchanted fairyworld of An Danzza
. It isn't long before we're captivated by the lilting rhythms, soft and mesmerizing flutes and a thick ambience that you can feel as the soundscapes ebb and flow through the air. The alluring siren-like vocals come out beautifully on the many tracks with upbeat rhythms on a few tracks, bringing a spring to the step of the listener while others softly lure the listener into a deep, mesmerizing dream-like state. We're presented with tracks of legend and lore with vocals weaving the tales of old while at other times the instrumental tracks weave a tale of their own through the captivating rhythms and music.
The songs on this album really stand out, with fifteen excellent pieces it's a great work of music. There are some definite favorites that no doubt our listeners will be familiar with. "Faint Song" comes out strong with it's somewhat upbeat and happy rhythm and style, hearkening to imagery of old-world clans dancing and celebrating on a warm summer night. "Lady of the Snow" takes a different twist bringing out the emotions of longing and yearning for warmth amidst the cold winter snow with the emotionally charged, vocals filling the air with their beautiful sound. "Past Time with Good Company" is one we often hear from artists that love the old world folk music and this project does a great job bringing out the cheery, celebratory feeling on this piece with a lilting, happy rhythm that gets you moving no mattter where you might be listening. "When the Wind Moans" is something of a soft, yet beautifully longing folk piece with softly strummed lute and beautiful flute amongst other instruments.
There are so many more spellbinding and captivating tracks worth mentioning, but neither time nor space allow covering each piece. Suffice it to say this is an excellent album, I would say probably the best work since the debut released so many years ago. The variety and mix of instrumentals and vocal pieces while remaining fairly consistent in style and mood really creates a powerful, yet complex and beautiful album that will be memorable and enjoyable for years to come.
Scintilla - Review
When I received these albums from the artist I listened to them all in order of production and release so that I could gain some historical perspective and feel the progression and maturity of the project over time.
Part of me was a little disappointed that the album was mostly composed of instrumental music after the previous three albums included mostly beautiful, heavenly female vocals. However, once I pushed that initial thought aside and adjusted my expectations, the pure beauty and power of the music itself started to come out as truly a masterpiece.
The album travels a diverse path across thirteen nice instrumental pieces starting off with a dreamy mix of flute, cello, violin and a number of other instruments with subtle percussion for a soft and dreamy piece reflecting a quiet and secluded place with the song aptly titled "My Refuge". We jump into a very festive piece with "Swamp King" featuring heavy celtic influences with pipes, flutes and harp all coming together in quick rhythm that evokes images of a lively party, maybe a wedding feast or other festival or gathering.
The moods and tempo of the music is diverse as we move through these dreamy soundscapes with vivid imagery that will be as diverse as the listeners and their imaginations. After such a festive piece in "Swamp King" we're brought to a soft and heavenly selection in "Farewell to Lorien" which ends up as one of the few songs with any vocals, while not sung with lyrics, we have a mix of spoken word and wordless angelic vocals as a back-drop to the dynamic collection of instruments on this piece. Throughout the album we're treated with other favorites and shifts in mood with "Mischievous Creature" picking up the pace and including a broad range of festive instruments. As move through a "Wiccan Paradise" and along "The Road to Avalon" with it's epic composition of flutes, pipes and marching rhythm punctuated with heavy male choral vocals. The music takes the listener on a spectacular journey getting "Lost in the Clouds" through a dreamy world. The title track is a grounded little folk tune, similar to what you might picture with a small band gathered around a campfire at night with a strumming guitar and accordion mixed with a number of other instruments for a perfect twilight song.
Overall this is a great instrumental album for fans of simple classic folk and celtic music with a taste of the epic soundtracks. The vivid imagery created by the music is excellent and while maybe the vocals and lyrics are missed in some ways, the listener's imagination allows the music to take on a whole new meaning and power. Definitely worth picking up for fans of celtic and related soundtrack-style music.
Tierra De Andanzas - Review
Continuing our journey through the fantasy, fairy world of An Danzza
, we're presented with the third album from this project.
On this work we have with another dreamy, fantasy world of fairies and other creatures coming to life with the beautiful music from these artists. Fifteen of these compositions make up the length of this album for another fantasy adventure.
This album starts off with somber moods through the instrumental introduction as we slowly move into the soft and sad piece "Dejadme Llorar" (let me cry). The imagery of the music is as clear through sound as an artists painted canvas is visually as we are presented with each of these dreamy songs. The piece "Patricius" is a mostly instrumental selection with the exception of the inclusion of something along the lines of a gregorian choir with it's haunting touch to this piece. This combination isn't something you would expect from the land of fairies, but the mix of celtic and medieval comes off perfectly for another captivating piece. As the album moves along it's soon clear why this one stands out as a favorite overall from their discography as song after song stands out and holds the listener enctranced from "Los Cofines Del Mar" with it's subtly bombastic percussion underneath the beautiful celtic flutes and pipes, giving way to a sound that is very spanish folk with the beautiful angelic vocals adding the final touch. After the haunting instrumental title track, we drift along into the world of eternal spring, which many will recognize from the band's first album with the song "La Eterna Primavera". This is a softer, more somber approach to this piece, still beautiful and catchy, just a slightly different approach that can really be appreciated within the context of this hauntingly beautiful album.
As the album starts to wind down, we're treated with a fun little jig in the form of "El corro de las hadas" (the circle of fairies). The music is such that you could picture a fun celebration with the fairies dancing and celebrating to this happy, upbeat instrumental piece. This gives way to something a little more formal in "Tres hojitas" and finally to the siren-like vocals on "La cueva de la mora" as the finale to this beautiful album. Fans of a sweet mix of world, folk, celtic and medieval music will really love this album and the great mix of music presented.
Canción de los Juncos - Review
This is the official sophomore release for this project in which we hear the sound continue to evolve and mature slightly.
On this work we're greeted with something of a thematic release covering the adventures of fairytale creatures from songs meaning enchanted marshes, songs of the reeds, longing for a soul and more. Spanning seventeen tracks that create a soundtrack for this imaginary world, we are introduced to some great music to enjoy.
While I think all fans of this type of ethereal, fairyworld music (which features various mixes of world, celtic and fantasy), it's definitely more meaningful to spanish speakers to understand the underlying story and spoken word throughout the album. However, even without that full understanding, the soul of the music brings to life the imagination and visions of sprites and fantasy creatures coming to life and appearing throughout these enchanting settings. The music flows well from song to song, forming a complete and homogenous theme throughout that holds the listener's attention. The lilting combination of various organic and synthetic instruments form a nice backdrop to the angelic vocals, all of which form a rich and scenic music tapestry.
While it is best to listen to the album in it's entirety and in order of the tracks presented to get the full pictures and feel of the album as a whole, there are still some stand-out tracks that have become quick favorites to listen to on their own. Many of these have become favorite selections on our ethereal show which listeners can enjoy with their captivating compositions. A few worth noting here include "Criatura Silvestre", "La Voluntad", "Filtros de Amor yD Dolor" and others with a great mixture of acoustic guitar, percussion and a mixture of flutes and pipes all as a back-drop behind the soft and beautiful angelic vocals. The album slowly wends it's way through this fantasy world and underlying story finally coming to a close with a nice mix of operatic vocals in "Unberufen" and a nice instrumental closing piece "Bajo las Estrellas". This creates a nice finale to this enjoyable album.
Last Autumn Tears - Review
This album and the song "La Eterna Primavera" was my first exposure to this project.
The mesmerizing sounds of celtic instruments and heavenly voices held me captivated and now I finally have the album and submit here a review. The album spans a dozen of these beautiful pieces that will hold listeners entranced as they're transported to a land of fantasy and beauty.
From the very beginning I was impressed with the beautiful compositions of acoustic guitar, flutes, cello and other subtle instruments that create the tapestry as a backdrop to the heavenly vocals. "New Beginning" kicks it off with this beautiful mix and slowly flows along drifting into the "Symphonic Jig" which could easily have been a selection from The Titanic
soundtrack with it's lilting rhythm and mix of flute and celtic pipes. As the album ebbs and flows along we're treated with this great mix of fantasy-themed music featuring female vocals on some, male vocals on others and stunning instrumental pieces in between. As we reach "La Eterna Primavera" we're presented with the stunningly captivating piece that first got me hooked on this project. The lilting female vocals singing in spanish carry me away to a beautiful enchanted land of fairies, green forests and small streams and beautiful meadows.
The rest of the album follows this pattern for the most part, with a mixture of the beautiful with the mischievous, the soft and somber moods vs the dark and brooding marching drums and haunting spoken word of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". There is a great mix and diversity throughout, even including references to the epic stories of Tolkien
with "Riders of Rohan" which takes on an epic soundtrack approach. "Todos Los Santos" is more of classical piece with a touch of cultural foundation from the artist's homeland in Spain mixed with the medieval and celtic influences that are such a foundation to the album. This gives way to the instrumentals "Medieval Lives" and later finale to the album with "An Danzza Theme". These provide a perfect ending to this mystical album, bringing it to a close in beautiful style.
This is a great addition to any library for fans of the celtic-influenced music of the old world. A great album and great addition to the pages and airwaves of Gothic Paradise.