From Penzance in the far west of Cornwall, BAGAS DEGOL has a fast growing reputation on the Cornish music and dance scene with their distinctive style of traditional music delivered with a powerful, raw edge. Their name in Cornish means 'Feast Day Band' in recognition of the occasion for which they originally came together - to accompany the famous Tom Bawcock's Eve lantern procession in Mousehole.
The band now has a broad, forceful and energetic repertoire spanning the 12th to 20th centuries, with music sourced in the main from their native Cornwall, but also drawing on dance traditions from across Europe. Original arrangements and skilful harmonies give the band their unique sound and invest new life into old favourites. Bagas Degol play stirring themes for processional events and driving dance sets.
The band is Rick Williams (clarinet), David Twomlow (bag pipes and soprano saxophone), and Dave Trahair (tabor drum and percussion).
"This is an exotic blend of traditional Cornish and Breton tunes with some subtle modern undertones.
It's been said that the 14th century was one of the worst to have lived in, but if it laid down the foundations for this album it can't have been all bad. The key to all of the tracks on the album is their dancability and there's not one that doesn't encourage movement.
This is not just an album of soundscapes and landscapes. A number of the songs conjour images of maidens being danced around the village, in and out of houses, around the in and to the stone circle, as part of a local fertility rite.
The core of the tune is generally weaved by tabor drums and bagpipes. Warped around those are the more modern instruments of clarinet and sax. Add in a few samples and dubs to build in the occasional change in the pattern and you've found a common theme.
Cornish and Breton come out of a similar Celtic tradition that holds it apart from it's better known neighbours. That comes through when you pick up the very subtle French undercurrents to some of the tracks. It sort of flits into your mind and leaves again. There was also one bizarre moment where I thought I was being drawn into a West Country war of the worlds, strange.
There seems to be something of a buzz about Cornish music at the moment. Slowly but surely it's making it's way eastwards. Bagas Degol are in a position to lead that march out of the county in the same way that they have lead marches within it.
There are few albums that cover over six hundred years of music, fewer still that do it so well. Bagas Degol have delivered an album for which they can take much kudos. Kernow knows how to party be it 1399 or 2004".
Check out the artist's website:
1. Bodmin Dubbing
2. Mar Euhall Yw An Dub
3. The Rolling Sea
4. A Pyth Yw Henna War Dha Ben?
5. Dub An Avon
6. Plethen Newlyn
7. Dub An Breizh
8. Breizh 2
9. Paduan Cortage / Coer Elath
10. Zeak Dub
11. Saltash Dubbing
12. A Breton Version
13. A Pyth Yw Dub?