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ADARO

Prog Folk • Germany


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Adaro biography
German act ADARO was formed in 1997, initially consisting of Christoph Pelgen, Konstanze Kulinsky, Jrgen Treyz, Ulli Stoltz, Susan Hurll-Bastian, Herbert Wachter and Rolf Kersting. With Spanish mediaval folk music as their main sources of inspiration, their debut album was issued in the fall of the same year; "Stella Splendens".

For their next effort, the EP "Words Never Spoken", the band had turned to the medival music of their native Germany for inspiration, in particular the Minnensang tradition. The obligatory line-up changes had also affected the outfit; with Hurll-Bastian, Wachter and Kersting out of the band at this point. Jrg Bielfeldt shared the drummer spot with Stoltz for this release, and Henrik Mumm was their bassist.

Adaro signed for SPV Records soon after; and when their third album "Minnenspiel" was issued in 2002 they had modernized their sound; moving away from clearly defined folk territories. The line-up remained mostly unchanged for this production; with the only minor change being that drummer Bielefeldt did not participate on this release.

Adaro's fourth album, "Schlaraffenland", was released in 2004. An expanded version of their 1999 EP "Words Never Spoken" was also issued this year. Despite being a rather popular act these productions turned out to be the last ones for this German act, who officially disbanded in 2006.

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ADARO discography


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ADARO top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.90 | 2 ratings
Stella Splendens
1997
4.00 | 1 ratings
Words Never Spoken
1999
2.00 | 2 ratings
Minnenspiel
2002
3.03 | 4 ratings
Schlaraffenland
2004

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ADARO Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stella Splendens  by ADARO album cover Studio Album, 1997
2.90 | 2 ratings

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Stella Splendens
Adaro Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars Yeah, I’m not really sure I get this band much. I already admitted in a review of their ‘Schlaraffenland’ CD a while back that the only reason I even bought that was because the group’s hurdy-gurdyier (gurdiest?) and vocalist Konstanze Kulinsky is pretty hot. Well once I got exposed to them through that record it was inevitable I would eventually get back around to the A’s in my record collection and give them some attention again. Turns out that took almost two years, but here we are.

This is the band’s debut album, released in 1999 on the Akkudisc label. Like ‘Schlaraffenland’ this one is all over the place musically, although the lyrics and at least the acoustic instruments marginally qualify them as a progressive folk band. If “Mariam Matrem” (the radio edit version) were the first song you ever heard though, you’d probably write them off as a 90’s dance rock act with a bit of a medieval vibe. A lot of their stuff would support such a judgment; songs like the rocking “Ave Maria” (no, not the song you’re thinking of) go even further, almost into Nightwish / Stream of Passion territory.

But much of the album is heavily steeped in stilting, hard-driving acoustic German folk interlaced with plenty of modern rock trappings. Besides the whining drone of hurdy-gurdy the band employs more and more bagpipe as the album progresses, as well reed and woodwind instruments like crumhorn, recorder and Spanish shawm. Most of these are played by the other lead vocalist Christoph Pelgen, who also plucks away on his bouzouki from time to time.

The lyrics are German, or some form of that language, and pretty much every song has vocals. At times the band gets cheesy with spoken-word vocals such as on the almost danceable “Fremosos Miragres”, and for the most part they come off as a group that seems like they’d be more at home on a stage than in the studio. Almost every track has the feel of a stadium rocker at least in part, and I imagine the band has a pretty visual live show.

The closing “Desire” is the most progressive track with several tempo shifts, some pleasant instrumental breaks and a whiney closing guitar riff that makes for a good ending. I can’t say as this band does much for me, but props to all of them for great proficiency in a wide variety of instruments, and for an energetic performance. Three stars for those things, and mildly recommended to Krautrock and possibly some open-minded prog metal fans.

peace

 Schlaraffenland  by ADARO album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.03 | 4 ratings

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Schlaraffenland
Adaro Prog Folk

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

3 stars I have to admit I bought this CD for one reason and one reason only: because there’s something appealing about a lovely German girl with long dark hair playing a hurdy-gurdy and holding a fish. There, I said it.

Okay maybe that’s not a good reason, but as it turns out this is also a decent album. Not great, but decent nonetheless. On first spin I was almost disappointed though, since the opening title track is a sort of mixture of pop, dance and rather strident German vocals. The liner notes are all in German, but I looked up ”Schlaraffenland” and apparently its equivalent to the old English mythical land of Cockaigne where the drudgeries of peasant life are vanquished and social norms are turned topsy-turvy. Okay, whatever. Life was hard back in those days, so what’s the harm of a mythical land of milk and honey?

Babelfish translates “Wer alten Weibern traut” to “who trusts old women”, which means nothing to me. But the tune is interesting, although leans closer to hard rock than folk. Konstanze Kulinsky’s vocals are barely perceptible here, although she has an interesting way of sort of plucking her hurdy-gurdy that lends a folkish air to the music. There’s also a bit of dobro in the background that sounds more like a flat bass, and some sort of airy keyboard-sounding thing that is probably an accordion. Nice instrumentation, even if you can’t understand what the heck they’re singing about.

Kulinsky airs out her beautiful vocals on the mellow “Nu ruh mit Sorgen”, but honestly I could do without Christoph Pelgen’s singing which reminds me of some old German metal-head trying to squeeze out a ballad. Again the guitar is closer to metal, but the hurdy-gurdy and accordion give a nice touch.

“Lieg still” actually is a sort of ballad though, with both Kulinsky and Pelgen sharing vocal duties again. Here the accordion and cello are the distinguishing instruments, but again I hesitate to call this folk music. This feeling is reinforced with “Herrm wer hat sie begossen” which sounds closer to a German Nightwish than anything else.

But the acoustic ”Es ist ein Schnee gefallen” saves the day with Kulinsky’s gorgeous vocals and a very exquisite but undetermined string arrangement that might be acoustic guitar and dobro, but I can’t tell for sure. Later on in the album a similar “Wohl dem Leibe” also rates high mention as an acoustic folk ballad with great and eclectic instrumentation including a primer by Kulinsky on an electric hurdy-gurdy. Honestly, I never knew such a thing existed.

“Minne ist ein ser Nam” and “Komm her zu mir” are a couple more neo-prog numbers, alternatingly heavy and mellow but more emphasis on electric guitar and the keyboards and very little acoustic accompaniment; while “Der Edelfalk (Es ist nit alle Lieb verloren)” is a pleasant light acoustic tune but the acoustic instruments (and even some of the vocals) get buried a bit behind the overbearing Fender Rhodes keys.

Toward the end “Frau, du sollst unvergessen sein” comes off like a torrid German version of a Bluehorses semi-punk ditty, while the closing “Psalm XIII” has great acoustic arrangements, but again Pelgen’s vocals are a bit annoying.

Adaro are a band that don’t have a whole lot of exposure in the United States, and I actually had to pay a pretty penny to have this CD imported. I’m not sure it was entirely worth it, but you don’t get too many opportunities to hear a comely female wail on a hurdy-gurdy, so now I can add that to my list of experiences. Three stars, mostly for ”Es ist ein Schnee gefallen” and “Wohl dem Leibe”, but I’m not sure I’d recommend this unless you can get it without shelling out nearly $30US like I had to.

peace

 Minnenspiel  by ADARO album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Minnenspiel
Adaro Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

2 stars 2.5 stars really!!

According to theirsite, this quintet had given up their mostly medieval music by the time of their fourth album, but on this third one, there is already almost nothing medieval except for the odd hurdy-gurdy and the odd bagpipes. For the rest, we have an album that is loaded with electric guitars bad 90's-drums (played by an almost laughable dragon-killer Ulli Stotz) and its programming, bad gothic-style female German singing and a bunch of guests to thicken the sound.

So most likely, this album is ready for a bout of slandering, right? Well actually not everything is bad on this album, but you'd expect it to be recorded roughly a decade earlier (92 instead of 02) as it reeks many clichs of that era. The first few tracks exude a bit of charming ambiances that can eventually be reminiscent of Blackmore's Rainbow with a harder edge. By the fifth track, the listener is solidly bored, just hoping that the FFW on the remote control comes unstuck soon enough before your patience is up and you pop out the Cd from your deck. The light prog feeling is not really that obvious unless you relate Adaro again with BN, but there are simply too many weaknesses, the awful Min Vrouwe Is Quot epitomizes everything wrong with the album as we veer into some kind of 80's pastiche, while other tracks (like Det Schall) can remind you of Mostly Autumn and its cartload of clichs as well.

While this writer has never heard the two previous albums, he's not really apt at judging whether this group was really, really, REALLY progressive at one point, but based on this album alone, the answer would be: not really likely; They might try hard, but ultimately fail to deliver the goods, no matters how much Blackmore is a fan of them (as I've read somewhere). Ultimately the only advice I can give progheads is to get a good listen at the two previous albums instead of this one. But if BN does not frighten you, you're likely to find some kind of happiness in here as well. And Konstanze is more to my taste than Candice, but not Heather.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to windhawk for the last updates

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