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Carl Cleves & Parissa Bouas – Out Of Australia – Stockfisch Records
Musical travelogue is distinguished by stunning vocals and unique instrumentation. ****

Carl Cleves & Parissa Bouas – Out Of Australia – Stockfisch Records Multichannel SACD SFR 357-4060-2, 49:50

Parissa Bouas – vocals, guitar, shruti box, percussion, cachichi; Carl Cleves – vocals, guitar; Lea Morris – backing vocals; Peter Funk – dobro, guitar; Dominik Jung – guitar; Lucile Chaubard – violoncello; Christian Struck – cor anglais; Beo Brockhausen – tambura, jew’s harp, swarmandal, mbira, hulusi; Lars Hansen – fretless bass, electric bass, upright bass.

Flemish born singer/songwriter Carl Cleves and Greek-Australian vocalist Parissa Bouas have captured the hearts of folk enthusiasts in Australia. They are celebrated for their unique acuity for global storytelling, reflected in relevant social and political narratives. Together since 1991, as members of the Cleves-formed band, The Hottentots, the duo continue to perform and record together. In the tradition of authentic folk music, they travel extensively, integrating different cultures and auditory influences into original compositions. Cleves, who holds degrees in Law, African Music and Contemporary Composition, inhabits the aura of an international beat poet. Influenced by a collage of inspirational artists like Bob Marley, Abdullah Ibrahim, Arthur Rimbaud, Townes Van Zandt, and Kurt Weill, passion and conscience become recurrent contexts.

Out Of Australia, consisting of twelve original songs, is a ruminating perspective on worldwide society. Coalesced by folk-based guitar constructs and emotional vocals, each track has a unique feel. A centerpiece, “The Bethlehem Bell Ringer” examines the plight of innocent victims in the Palestinian struggle. Parissa Bousa’s incandescent voice is heartfelt, and the hymnal chorus, no less than exultant. The use of a tambura (string drone instrument) adds a somber Middle Eastern tone. The plights of diamond mine workers (“Way Down In The Mines”) in Johannesburg, and ethnic genocide (The Coniston Massacre”), are recounted without overindulgence. Framed by the steady guitar of Cleves, and his idiosyncratic baritone (not unlike Scottish troubadour Donovan), there is a consistent lyrical aesthetic.

Not all of the serious minded themes find a proper elucidation. “Graceful” attempts to juxtapose a breezy tenor and HIV reference, with incongruous results.
African spirit is rendered with joyous abandon on the folk chant “Mother’s Song”. Backup singer Lea Morris blends with Bouas in perfect harmony. “Sharpening A Knife”, an adaptation of a poem by Nanao Sakaki has a Gaelic cadence, with chorus repetition and a soaring lead vocal. In addition to the milieu of international social mores and politics, there is a sensitive coloration by various Middle Eastern and African instruments.

This nomadic anthology captures the pathos of the human condition with originality and verve.
Multichannel SACD is an ideal medium for this music. The understated nuances of the various stringed instruments are reproduced with clear acoustics, whether it’s a prominent rhythm guitar, or delicate lute. Tonal quality of the voices is flawless. The depth and texture of the vocals (in particular the ensembles) refine the musical eminence.

TrackList: Into The Light; Eclipse Of The Sun; Don’t Flowers Grow; Way Down In The Mines; House Of Sorrow; Mother’s Song; The Coniston Massacre; Graceful; Zeco; Sharpening A Knife; Carmen.

Audiophile Audition Published on September 24, 2010 Robbie Gerson


Stockfisch Records - 2010
This is a very nice folk record that has a classic UK style sound, yet is about as international as you can find. The excellent German label has released this record from an Australia-based duo comprised of a Belgian guitarist who has travelled the world with a female singer who was born of a Greek sailor and has toured through Latin America.

Not only do they cull all these influences together, they are able to focus this into their sound, rather than issue out a haphazard cultural stew. “Way Down in the Mines” could be snuck onto a compilation with Raven & Mills, Pererin, and the Watersons.

The lyrics are strong and the music is constantly involving, with some intriguing bass playing and sounds. This is a gem and moves to the top of my listening pile. If you enjoy classic folk duos and like the psychedelic influences on folk from the seventies, then you are certain to enjoy this.

Review by David Hintz


Reviews of specific Hottentot albums are available from the discography page

"Their music can best be described as cross-cultural ... The under current of their songs points to the political situations in the world ... The upper current is poetic and is testimony to a rich imagination and a constantly renewed vitality."

Fons Jacobs, Gazet van Antwerpen, Belgium

"Every once in a while a CD comes along which really does blend global cultures in an exciting, original way. Amongst the poly-rhythmic exuberance there is some real sensitivity as well, and lots of great playing and singing. Highly recommended."

Folk West Radio, Perth

If you've seen Carl and Parissa live you will have a good idea what to expect: warmth, generosity, humour and fantastic musicianship. Parissa's outstanding vocals alternate between a tone that would cut glass, and breathy seduction, while Carl sings with a warmth, honesty and a healthy dose of cheekiness. State of the art in contemporary Australian roots music.

James Rigby - The Cornstalk Gazette, Sydney

"The sheer variety of musical cultures from which the Hottentot Party draw their influences makes for an exhilarating listen, but their music is also unfashionably light and bright, the antithesis of the angst-ridden world of contemporary rock and pop."

Michael Smith, Drum Media, Sydney

Photo: John W McCormick


"One thing I really like about the Hottentots' music is its complete lack of pretence and trendiness. And the lyrics address real issues from a personal and political viewpoin ... another corporate sin ... Parissa proves she is a singer with few equals in this country."

Richard Jasituowicz in DIASPORA World Beat 2005

"The Voice of Your Heart" substitutes this rhythmic festival (of CD "A Small World") with subtlety and intimacy. The arrangements are more sophisticated and discreet and the instruments dialogue in harmony which confers to the CD a solid coherent sound."

Fabio Leite, Hoje em Dia, Brazil





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