There are three things you need to watch out for when purchasing world music: (1) CD titles containing puns. (2) The phrase “rooted in tradition and soaked with attitude” appearing on the cover. (3) Creepy strangers hanging around the Norwegian Fiddle Music bin (as they will definitely try to touch your ass).
While Ethiopia Super Krar (Riverboat) is a nearly unforgivable pun (at least they didn’t title it “Here in My Krar,” “Radkrar Love” or “Bitchin’ Krarmaro”), and the cover clearly sports the dreaded words “rooted in tradition and soaked with attitude,” the Krar Collective has overcome its terrible packag-ing to craft an album that’s actually worth risking being felt up by a Norwegian fiddle-music enthusiast to obtain.
You’re probably not going to believe this, but by using a krar — a type of lyre, more or less — the collective have managed to create a sound that is not unlike rockabilly. Seriously. It’s simple, driving, pounding music accented with whoops and foot stomps. While no translation of the lyrics is provi-ded, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the songs are about beer, cheatin’ women, pickup trucks and honky-tonks (minus the honky, of course). In short, this CD rocks harder than Gene Vincent fighting a bear in a bar over a woman he met at a tractor pull.
If Elvis had had access to a krar instead of a guitar he could’ve changed the face of Western music. Also, it’s unlikely that he would’ve been found dead on the toilet, rooted in tradition and soaked with attitude.