Deitsch – Mittsommer Sessions

Album Review | Artes Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson

There’s something immediately appealing and enjoyable about this new album by the German folk quartet Deitsch, which may have something to do with my unfamiliarity with traditional German folk songs and tunes. It’s not far removed from the sort of music we hear from Scandinavia, from Scotland or indeed Ireland, there’s the presence of fiddles and flutes, shepherd’s pipes and guitars and the occasional diatonic accordion, together with some splendid voices, all of which makes a pleasing mixture. Fuelled by lashings of cold peppermint tea, Gudrun Walther, Jürgen Treyz, Barbara Hintermeier and Steffen Gabriel set out to record a baker’s dozen worth of songs and tunes, incorporating ballads, minuets, polonaises, schottisches and other dance-able gems, all pleading for you to take your partner.

Some of this material is quite old, notably “Es Geht Eine Dunkle Wolk’ Herein”, which apparently has its beginnings in the 16th century and the words for “Der Winter Ist Vergangen” go even further back, both enhanced by up to date rhythms and each encouraging your feet to tap whenever you’re ready. Despite being recorded in the midsummer heat of June, suggested in the album title, notably an awkward time of year for these delicate instruments, the cohesive musicianship is still very much intact, perfectly pitched and delightfully vibrant. For a first outing, Mittsommer Sessions has set the bar pretty high for anything Deitsch might seek to follow it with.

Choice Track: Der Winter Ist Vergangen (NSV 497)