GOTHIC PARADISE

 

While we've been enjoying some selections from this project for a while now, we finally have the full discography and are 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 four 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 various 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 latest is mostly instrumental.

We are happy to present selections from all four albums released 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 hear more from in the future.
 



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.

Rating: 4/5
 



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.

Rating: 4.5/5
 



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.

Rating: 4/5
 



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. 
Rating: 4.5/5

Canción de los Juncos, José Socorro

 
Uno de los detalles que nos demuestra lo mal que está la industria musical es el hecho de que discos como el que nos ocupa tengan que editarse en formato autoproducido. Por mucho que haya artistas que comenten que eso les hace tener mayor independencia a la hora de editar y componer, la dura y cruda verdad es que salvo en contadas excepciones lo que lleva con sigo es una menor incidencia en la producción y sobretodo una distribución mucho más ínfima. Y digo esto por que este “Canción de los Juncos”, simplemente se merecía mucha mejor suerte, un sello que lo distribuyera acorde a la calidad que atesora y un formato físico mucho más profesional. Seguro que con estos detalles An Danzza se llevaría mucho mayor reconocimiento y sobretodo se garantizaría el hecho de que mayor cantidad de gente pudiera disfrutar de esta delicada obra de arte.
 
El álbum que nos ocupa es el segundo trabajo de Andrés Campuzano, músico madrileño, principal y casi único artífice del proyecto, aunque al igual que en su primer trabajo ha sabido rodearse de un muy buen grupo de trabajo, haciendo difícil intuir que estamos ante un proyecto unipersonal. Como primer detalle podríamos destacar la utilización de las voces femeninas, si ya dijimos en su primer trabajo que se había rodeado de preciosas voces femeninas, esta vez no iba a ser menos y la delicada y angelical voz que acompaña todo el trabajo, de la mano de Macarena Martín, ha sido todo un acierto, dotando todo el álbum de una atmósfera celestial. 
Una gran diferencia con respecto al primer álbum es la homogeneidad tanto en el concepto musical como en el argumental. Si en “Last Autumn Tears” nos encontrábamos con un trabajo la mar de heterogéneo, lleno de multitud de influencias que despistaba un poco al oyente, en este segundo trabajo ocurre todo lo contrario. En lo argumental el disco está inspirado íntegramente en la obra literaria de Lord Dunsany denominada “La Parentela de los Elfos” y en lo musical Andrés ha compuesto una “Ópera-Folk” alrededor del relato para ir guiándonos por todas las desventuras ocurridas a la “Señorita Junco”, llenas de personajes y situaciones mágicas. Todo esto hace que la música de An Danzza cambie radicalmente, acostumbrado a la alegría que reinaba en su primer trabajo, lleno de sentimientos desenfrenados, baile y burla sátira, para que ahora reine un sentimiento mucho más compacto, con un sonido más orquestal, que sirva para poder transportarnos los sentimientos que pasan por el corazón de la “Señorita Junco”, tras renunciar a su mundo mágico, lleno de criaturas silvestres, para poder sentir y vivir como un ser humano, y al final desencantarse con una vivencia que no era lo que esperaba. 
Todo el trabajo está lleno de un aire teatral, casi narrativo, enfatizado mucho más por los numerosos cortes donde una voz masculina nos cuenta pases del relato, poniéndonos en situación y haciéndonos partícipes de la historia. En lo musical el espíritu del grupo sigo inamovible, aunque los instrumentos ancestrales son utilizados de una manera mucho más lánguida. 
 
En un disco tan conceptual es difícil decantarse por algún tema, ya que prácticamente no se entienden por separado, pero un servidor se quedaría con “Criatura Silvestre”, por su rica instrumentación, “La Voluntad”, donde la voz femenina está soberbia, sobretodo cantando la parte más ritual del relato, “La rueca”, preciosa melodía de flauta y “La opera del Covent Garden”, con un maravilloso regustillo a los Ataraxia de “le fantasma dele'Opera”.
 
Segundo capítulo en la historia de An Danzza que vuelve a sacar con muy buena nota, colocándose por méritos propios entre los mejores grupos que tratan la música antigua y los mundos fantásticos. Ideal para todos aquellos amantes de los los sonidos mágicos o sencillamente para aquellos que disfruten de la buena música.
 

Last Autumn Tears- Pedro Ortega - Mentenebre

 
El gran núcleo de la música etérea española está afincado en Barcelona con Narsilion, Trobar de Morte, Priscilla Hernández, por citar los más relevantes. Madrid se había quedado rezagado al respecto -tras aquel gran grupo Ancient Tales, hoy desaparecido- pero parece que por fin tenemos un representante del género en la capital del Reino: se trata de An Danzza. 
 
El gran responsable de este proyecto es Andrés Campuzano que se ha encargado de la composición de todos los temas, así como de gran parte de la instrumentación. Es el cerebro tras la máquina. Para el apartado vocal cuenta con diversas aportaciones: Silvia Luchetti, Cristina Galván, Sergio Cabré, Óscar Martín y Rubén Ortíz. También cuenta con un precioso bodhrán de la mano de Aida Fernández. 
 
An Danzza - "Last Autumn Tears"Pero, ¿y el estilo? Yo les he encuadrado al principio dentro del ethereal y, efectivamente ahí están, no obstante hay que hacer una serie de precisiones. Parece que la génesis del proyecto se encuentra en senderos no provenientes directamente de la escena oscura sino de la música celta y new wave. Las flautas y gaitas así lo delatan. No obstante los oídos abiertos encontrarán gran belleza en las composiciones de An Danzza. 
 
Entramos en otro capítulo, las letras. Algunas de ellas nos demuestran la pasión de An Danzza por el Romanticismo: Gustavo Adolfo Becquer, Rosalía de Castro y Samuel Taylor Coleridge. El resto son textos contemporáneos de Sergio Cabré, Cristina Galván, Óscar Martín y el propio Andrés Campuzano. 
 
El Cd es fácil de escuchar, sobre todo por su tono dulce y optimista, aunque en ocasiones es demasiado almibarado, como sucede en algunos de los temas cantados en castellano. Yo creo que es más bien un vicio personal, acostumbrado a escuchar el inglés en la música, el castellano me resulta a veces demasiado empalagoso, pero no me hagáis mucho caso. Estéticamente hay que encajarlo dentro del corte celta aunque tiene elementos que le dan tonos más oscuros, sobre todo la vena romántica. Hay un corte que me gusta mucho por su tétrica voz, un unicum en el CD, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, fantástico. Otros temas destacables son ‘New Beginning’, ‘Symphonic Jig’ y ‘Wake of War’. 
 
Para ser un primer trabajo la verdad es que tenemos que darle la enhorabuena a An Danzza, ya que en él se percibe un enorme esfuerzo y trabajo, unas influencias literarias exquisitas, aunque quizá el estilo tenga que ser un poco más depurado. En cualquier caso nos congratulamos de este lanzamiento y le ofrecemos todo nuestro apoyo. 
 
Bienvenidos al mundo de An Danzza.

Nessun gonfalone sventola per Andrés Campuzano, ma anche senza una bandiera, un casato, insomma una label, i suoni del suo amore per la musica splendono ed il rinascimento misto al folk celtico fa sì che "Last Autumn Tears" sia un'autoproduzione di sontuoso aspetto. Bella tra i solchi, bella nella componente grafica, dignitosa nella resa digitale. Un suono cesellato com'era rifinita l'arte del '700, fiorito tra i tanti strumenti coinvolti per creare la danza rievocativa senza velleità filologiche, ma con l'unica, giustificabile pretesa di piacere e farsi amare, coinvolgere e conquistare. Andrés crea An Danzza nel 2004 per dare un volto ai suoni che sente scorrere in lui, ed è per questo riduttivo considerarlo un semplice musicista indipendente: non è da condannare se alcuni strumenti, tra cui arpa e cornamusa, nascono digitali, e nelle prossime righe verrete coinvolti in ciò che nasce in un angolo di Spagna, diventando una serie di dodici tracce per un dischetto - non dimenticatelo mai - autoprodotto. Apertura heavenly nei cori in attesa del rinforzo sonoro della chitarra, la regina di questo full-lenght, che entra trionfale tra flauti e rullate marziali in stile Narsilion (e siamo ancora in Iberia...), epopee evocative e figurabili nell'immaginario di tempi in cui la parola onore era marchiata col fuoco nei cuori. "New Beginning" è l'opener ideale, ricca di temi trattati e ben colorata dalla voce ricca di toni della cantante Cristina Galvàn (autrice anche del testo), mentre "La Eterna Primavera" è un inno al rinascimento puro per la sua struttura di canzone, in cui la musica supporta il tema poetico della poetessa Rosalìa De Castro, fondamentale in queste lande elegiache nell'800 spagnolo romantico di matrice galiziana. Storie che ci accomunano: castelli, baluardi difesi, dame onorate e conquistate; ora i flauti e la chitarra acustica, come in un arazzo rinascimentale (fondamentali quelli mantovani della Sala Del Tè), fioriscono nel suono leggiadro e variopinto, e nella successiva "Wake Of War" l'affinità con le nostre terre aumenta, perché la sei corde è qui sorella in tecnica con Vittorio Randelli, ed i suoni 'acquosi' richiamano gli Ataraxia di "Sueños", immergendo entrambi gli act nel cuore del folk colto ispanico. Il mondo celta vive profondo in "Symphonic Jig", dove la Galizia è il cuore dell'epopea e delle reminescenze, ma che nelle belle atmosfere create dalla cornamusa e dall'arpa percorre l'Atlantico verso nord, congiungendosi con mamma Irlanda e con lady Enya, archetipo di riferimento dal quale non si può fuggire, ma quale musicista lo farebbe? La summa, l'insieme di ciò che è An Danzza è "La Fuente De Los Ālamos", epica e poetica: nel testo è gloriosa, luminosa e costruita con un'architettura studiata per piacere in ogni aspetto. La danza finale è lirica, come in precedenza lo era la voce di rinforzo al canto principale (ancora nelle corde di lady Gàlvan), sempre aperta e solare come la sua terra, ciò che ci attendiamo e che non viene disilluso. Un brano davvero maestoso, e tutto l'album lo è: un esordio di lusso che consigliamo a coloro che, appassionati del folk ispanico, sanno quanta cultura ci sia dietro l'amore per la propria terra, amore che Andrés Campuzano dalla sua Madrid ha mutato in dodici canzoni senza tempo.

Nicola Tenani

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