Through the latest EP In Deep Watercolor, Mungo Park is unleashing their own vision of Scottish traditional music. The traditional folk tones have been merged with their unique background for a flurry of sound. Across the six tracks of the EP, the band moulds traditional tunes and original compositions into something entirely new and exciting.
The brainchild of Raúl Peinado (border pipes, vocals), the band draws on traditional folk, Scottish and Celtic music, adding a splash of rock and classical to the mix. This blend uses the musical skills of Peinado, Lioudmila Minaeva (keys, backing vocals), Perfecto Flores (bass), Busi (drums) and Carlos Calleja (guitar). Together, they offer a rather brazen musical flair that turns traditional tones on their head and injects them with a touch of modernity.
The EP opens with ‘Fause, Fause’ and its delicate piano line. There is a touching beauty to the layered piano opening that has you swaying like long grass in the breeze. Peinado’s vocals have a traditional Celtic folk vibe to it. There is a touch of rolling mist to his performance as he delves into love lost. The piano line continues to beautifully rest beneath his performance and is joined by a more traditional folk movement. Minaeva’s backing vocals add depth to the track as you are drawn into the tale of the lyrics. The traditional folk tones drop closer to the end of the track, allowing the piano line to take over the soundscape again. Through all of this, there is a melancholic feeling to the music that perfectly matches the lyrics.
‘The Monkey’ has an almost funky plucked bass tone opening it, which is met by light cymbals. The steady march of the music draws you into the track and showcases the versatility of the band, after the traditional tones of the opening track. The rather jazzy tones of the opening are thrown for a loop by the border pipes that bring the Scottish Highlands to the sound. This track is a wonderful mixture of traditional tones and modern flows which is utterly amazing to listen to. The arrangement of the melody really showcases the skills of each musician as the instrumentation merges and bubbles like a river running down the mountain. Later in the track, the pipes leave the open expanses of the mountains and bring a great Celtic jig to your ears, making you want to dance around.
The strummed guitar of ‘Lady Dysie’ has a very folk-rock feeling to it, as it urges you to sway with its movement. The vocals and lyrics bring back the traditional folk feeling of the opening track. This is given a modern infusion through the melody that has the lightest touch of traditional folk arrangement, while using modern tones to drive the song. The fusion of these tones has been masterfully handled, bringing a breath of fresh air to this traditional folk song. The lyrics draw you into the story of the traditional track, while the music makes it so easy to connect with the track.
‘The Modern Teuchter’ has a very modern feeling to the music, from the rock flair of the guitar, to the run of the keys. The keys have you swaying to their movement, while the lower levels of the melody are packed with the drive of the guitar. From the depths of the soundscape rises the Scottish border pipes that bring the spirit of Celtic folk with them. The interplay between the heavier rock guitars and the pipes is amazing and so different to anything else you might hear right now. The moving energy of the song builds as more instrumentation enters, bringing layers of sound that keep you moving.
The light electronic tones of the keys in ‘The Banks of the Nile’ have a really funky jazzy vibe to them. There is something about their movement that instantly hooks you to the song. This is another traditional folk song that has been given a new life through the fusion tone of the band. The rather vibrant movement of the melody is a little at odds with the lyrics of this track which have a much sadder edge to them. The guitar that calls out through the soundscape later in the track has a really delightful blues touch that leads you into the border pipes.
The EP comes to a close with ‘Angus Sutherland’ that has a more Celtic folk feeling from the first moment. There is a light vibe to the pipes as they beckon you into the soundscape. They carry a smile and light dance movement on the wind with them as drums lightly bounce under them. A livelier movement fills the soundscape as the song continues, making you want to jump and stomp to the sound. It is an extremely addictive movement that you can’t really help but want to give in to.
Mungo Park inject new energy into traditional Scottish folk music through their fusion of genres and styles, which they’ve packed into their EP In Deep Watercolor. Certain tracks are traditional folk songs that have received a new lease on life through the energetic sound of the band. The instrumental tracks are a pleasure to listen to as they fill you with the urge to dance around to them.