MP3 Mama - Crow Coyote Buffalo
“Two pagan goddesses channeling the ghost of Jim Morrison via 60’s acid folk . . . This is without doubt the most original thing I have heard this year.” – Iain Hazlewood, Spiral Earth
11 MP3 Songs in this album (38:07) !
Related styles: FOLK: Progressive Folk, FOLK: Alternative Folk
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“This unlikely pairing of none-more-’90s club diva and Appalachian folk puritan have made a captivating album.”
– David Honigmann, Financial Times
“Having reviewed countless albums this year, I thought Henry Priestman’s The Chronicles Of Modern Life was my favourite, but this late in the year comes an absolute belter to rival it ... I played it on air this morning and within five minutes one of my colleagues had stopped what he was doing and rushed to the studio to find out where this heavenly sound had emerged. It really is that good.”
– Chris Phillips, BRfm
“Two pagan goddesses channeling the ghost of Jim Morrison via 60’s acid folk ... This is without doubt the most original thing I have heard this year. Crow Coyote Buffalo is an album that seems to shift and move on every listen.”
– Iain Hazlewood, Spiral Earth
“Imagine that the Incredible String Band went on a magic carpet ride with Gillian Welch ...”
– Colin Harper
DIVERSE DEBUT ALBUM FROM MAMA’S MELTING POT
Crow Coyote Buffalo, created by new Cornwall-based band MAMA, will almost certainly be one of the most unusual albums you’ll hear this year.
Haunting and hypnotic, it features the polar pairing of Zoë Pollock, who achieved a Top 5 UK chart hit with club anthem Sunshine On A Rainy Day, and American-born traditional/folk artist Sarah McQuaid – their diverse talents meeting head-on in this striking debut album.
The women, who each have two young children, literally met at the gates of a West Penwith school. Sarah relocated last year from Ireland to the outskirts of St Buryan, near Penzance, whilst Zoë lives close to windswept Land’s End – spending winters in a remote farmhouse and summers in a yurt.
Sarah is an acclaimed acoustic guitarist (her Irish DADGAD Guitar Book is the standard reference on the open-tuned style popular among traditional players); Zoë plays ukulele and classical guitar. Both are powerful singers, with distinctive contrasting timbres that make the two voices easily distinguishable in the mix. Augmented by flute player Tiffany Bryant and multi-instrumentalist Andy Jarvis (both formerly of Thistletown and now of The Rosemarie Band), Crow Coyote Buffalo is a glorious melting pot of ideas, harmonies, textures and countermelodies.
With Sarah penning the evocative lyrics to Zoë’s compositions, the effect is curiously surreal, revealing influences from the many countries these two well-travelled musicians have lived in or known – Eastern nuances, English psychedelia, canyon echoes and unexpected Mariachi flourishes coming together in a fresh, inventive blend.
The songs are idiosyncratic and beguiling, ranging from the propulsive Liquid Sunshine to the delicate, imagery-rich At The Waterside. Upbeat numbers like Fool Of Spring and Dancing Girl contrast with more meditative offerings like Western, with its mesmerising spoken-word interludes, and The Lovers, a hypnotic ode to Tarot card illustrator Pamela Colman Smith. Kathakali Boy takes its inspiration from the classical dance drama tradition of Kerala, India, while the colourful canvas of Aquí Me Pinté Yo pays tribute to influential Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Since her abrupt departure from the pop scene in the early 1990s, Zoë has been quietly making music both on her own and with various collaborators from the outer reaches of psychedelic folk; most recently, she recorded an EP under the alias Hephzibah Broom, which was released by Manchester underground label Red Deer Club Records. Last summer, she launched a very different revamp of her Sunshine hit, gaining BBC airplay and sparking a frenzied YouTube comment debate between pop purists and folk progressives. The song is included as a bonus track on Crow Coyote Buffalo.
For American-born Sarah (who has lived in Chicago, Spain and Ireland), this album follows hot on the heels of I Won’t Go Home ’Til Morning, the recently launched follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut When Two Lovers Meet. Already receiving four-star reviews in the music press and airplay on BBC Radio 3, it focuses on old-time Appalachian songs learnt from her late mother.
“Working with Zoë has been a revelation,” says Sarah. “We just sat down with our guitars at my kitchen table one evening, and there was this amazing creative chemistry straightaway.”
Says Zoë: “Sarah’s from a very different musical background to mine, and when we sing together it seems to create something greater than the sum of the two parts. There’s a really strong harmonic resonance between our voices.”
MAMA made a successful debut performance at the St Ives September Festival in Cornwall, appearing as part of “a progressive folk, psychedelic triple bill” with Circulus and The Rosemarie Band.
Crow Coyote Buffalo is a very Cornish affair. Recorded mostly in Sarah’s home and released on Zoë and Sarah''s own Fly Like A Sprite label, the album was produced and engineered by Penzance-based musician Martin Stansbury. The cover, printed on 100 per cent recycled board, features a charcoal drawing by Sarah’s husband, Feargal Shiels, while yet another West Penwith resident, Sarah Turner, was responsible for the package design.