Review from Canberra Times, 3rd April 2002
Mozaik, National Folk Festival 28 March - 1 April
At first sight this band's lineup is one that shouldn't work. Two Irishmen, an American, a Bulgarian and a Dutchman playing a mix of Irish, Bulgarian and old-time American folk music. But work it did, with the band receiving two standing ovations from the three thousand in the festival's main venue at the final concert.
The group was assembled by Irish singer Andy Irvine, along with his old friend and musical partner Donal Lunny, Bulgarian multi-instrumentalist Nikola Parov, banjo and fiddle player Bruce Molsky from the US and Dutch musician Rens van der Zalm. Irvine has performed with all of them at one time or another, but the group has only performed together for this one month tour of Australia.
The music they played was a mix of Irvine's repertoire from his recent material going back to the Planxty days, Eastern European tunes and a sprinkling of American traditional folk material. The first song of their first appearance was 'The Blacksmith', an Anglo-Irish song that Irvine recorded on the first Planxty album nearly thirty year ago. Mozaik reinvented it with clawhammer banjo and kaval in amongst the original arrangement of bouzoukis and mandolins. One bracket of tunes started with an old time 'field holler' from the Appalachian mountains, which shifted into an American fiddle tune which in turn led to a Bulgarian dance tune in a way that sounded as if they had always been played together.
This band is a triumph of musical inventiveness, professionalism and skill. To pull together such a tight cohesive sound out of such disparate elements and to produce such exhilarating music was a joy for all who heard it. As one audience member was overheard to say on leaving one concert, "I could die now and be happy".
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