Daria Kulesh – Earthly Delights

Album Review | Self Release | Review by Marc Higgins | Stars: 5/5

Daria Kulesh has a confident, distinctive voice. She and the band dance through the classic Folk Rock of “Golden Apples.” Low and beguiling or full throated and huge her voice and the music reminded me of Vikki Clayton. “Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood” is a more intimate delight. Daria’s rich voice and accompaniment from Johnny Dyer’s guitar and her own shruti box took me straight back to the 60s albums of Judy Collins. You must hear this track, quite possibly worth the price of the album on its own. “Shame Or Glory” mixes music hall piano and swagger with a bit of knowing world weary Mary Coughlan. This song, driven by Marina Osman’s fine piano and Daria’s fine timing, a hymn to ambition outstripping ability, is another album highlight. The title track is lyrically rich, a set of lessons on acceptable excess to live by, beautifully delivered by Kulesh and band. “Rusalka” is a song of temptation, delivered like a lullaby with Daria and Marina’s piano. Washes of voices build a mystical classical musical mist that put me in mind of Katie Melua’s “Little Sparrow.” “Vasilisa” and “Morozko” written by Kulesh, but based on Russian tales, crackle with the passion and smouldering power of classic folk ballads, building to layered atmospheric masterpieces. “Cap And Bells” marries words by Yeats to a tune by Joseph Sobol as against beautiful piano and hammer dulcimer Daria delivers this love song with restrained passion and power like a current day Sandy Denny. “Pride of Petravore” by Percy French is a tongue twisting lyric delivered here over a dance rhythm and tune, shaking the bones after the run of reflective songs. “Made of Light” is another anthemic composition by Daria, hymn like in its delivery and arrangement. Jonny Dyer’s wonderful trumpet adds a touch pastoral England. Some things are constants, where ever and when ever you are. So it is with “Greedy King” a Russian joke, and the historic fable of The Wise Men Of Gotham. Wonderful ringing percussion and bagpipes give a decidedly medieval feel, but the tale of the poor being milked dry by the rich with an escape into make believe and fantasy is chillingly current. This album, with its rich music, Daria’s striking voice and its European take on Folk Music is at times rousing, mystical and meditative and consistently a pleasure from start to finish.