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Think ‘Graindelevoix’ and words like original, inspired, challenging and Marmite might come to mind: their craggy, visceral performances divide opinion, but they achieve – par excellence – that elusive, essential impression of time travel, opening a window to admit a blast of unrefined medieval air. Here they celebrate a thirteenth- century urban and social phenomenon: cathedral-associated confraternities with their spiritual songs in the vernacular. Whether solo or chorus, the idea of ‘ordinary’ people story-telling is all- pervasive, yet these earthy voices are invariably extraordinary in their technique, timbre and immersion in both style and text – the listener is racked by agonies of devotional fervour with the men and soothed by the cool hands of pious women. In a sound-world informed by historic pronunciation and instrumentals with a subtle oriental tincture, this is richly flavoured stuff. It’s part two of their pilgrimage in the footsteps of cathedral builder Villard de Honnecourt and I can hardly wait for volume three.

Rebecca Tavener Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing