Live together in perfect harmonica...

Arina Stam
Dança de Tranca
Traditional harmonica



01. Dança - 1:28
02. Länsmansvals - 1:16
03. Beira Minho - 3:05
04. Reel de Trois-Rivières - 2:34
05. Svi Per Jerkers polska - 1:59
06. Danza da Ribadavia - 1:50
07. Nos Os Dois Em Corridinho - 2:43
08. Reels (Québec) - 1:46
09. Hewlett - 2:47
10. Galop de la Malbaie - 2:17
11. Xulita Redondita - 3:26
12. Reel Du Cultivateur - 1:46
13. Soldiers' March from Leksand - 1:39
14. Valse Du Péril - 2:46
15. Reel à Jean-Marie Verret - 1:40
16. Carmela - 2:23
17. Rosinha - 2:30
18. Brincadeiro - 2:57
19. Chula - 2:34
20. Fals - 2:01
21. Mazurca - 1:35
22. Reel de Bellechasse - 2:19

The musicians:

Arina Stam: harmonica, footstamping [4], [5]
Danielle de Baat: classical guitar [1], [3], [6], [7], [16], [18], [19], [20], steel string guitar [4], [10], [12], [14], [15], [16], [22], egg-maracas [8]
Linda Rigters: classical guitar [6], [8], [9], [11], [17], cavaquinho [3], [18]
Jolanda Romeijn: cucharas (wooden spoons) [6], [8], [15], tambor (drum) [11], [18], triangle [3]
Dees van Dijk: güiro [8], egg-maracas [19], triangle [11], castanets [3], tambor (drum) [3], zambomba (friction drum) [16], table-drum [18]




 The harmonica 

Many people learned to play the harmonica in their youth before they chose a "real" musical instrument. The harmonica has never been taken seriously, probably because it is a diatonic instrument and not all melodies can be played on it. Diatonic harmonicas are characteristically tuned to produce the natural tones of the scale without any sharps or flats. Another restriction is that only the middle octave of the three octave range is complete, with the lower and upper octaves having a "gapped" scale. Fortunately this problem is solved by the chromatic harmonica where, with the necessary dexterity, it is possible to play any tone. This is because it includes a slide button which, when pressed, will raise any tone by a semi-tone. The handicap remains however that (even with a chromatic harmonica) the traditional playing style requires a harmonica in the appropriate key. An example of playing in a minor key with a chord, which is not possible on a diatonic harmonica, is the section in G major of Xulita redondita [11]. 


The mazurkas, waltzes, and polkas on this CD have their origins in post-medieval Europe. This dance music was played by farmers and labourers in inns and at noisy celebrations to entertain ordinary people during times of hardship. A distant ancestor of the harmonica is the sheng which was already played in China in 3000 BC. In the first half of the 19th century, a great many instruments were designed with free reeds. These are essentially the precursors of today's harmonica and accordion. The factory production of these instruments began in Germany in about 1850. The Hohner factory (which was set up in 1857) is still the largest in the world. Harmonicas and accordions soon became all the rage because their music was danceable. It was finally possible to play the melody and bass simultaneously, by using the tongue to block and unblock a number of low notes within a single chord [2], [20]. Because the harmonica is so marginal it is difficult to find tunes which have originally been written for the harmonica. In fact, Sweden and Québec are almost the only regions where traditional music is played on the harmonica [2], [5]. Most of the music featured on this CD was found on old records and played on other instruments, such as violin [4], [10], [15], [20], accordion [3], [6], [7], [11], [12], [14], [16], harp [9], [13], bagpipe [9], [16], [18] and flute [19]. In our arrangements we strive to maintain the original strength. For the music from Québec we chose guitar accompaniment, although piano is a more traditional accompaniment [4]. For Spanish and Portuguese music guitar accompaniment is very common. The percussion instruments are chosen according to the respective traditions of the country or region. To preserve the original atmosphere, Arina had to resort to some unusual techniques. For instance, the trill of the flute in the Swedish march [13] was produced by using the slide button of a chromatic harmonica. Playing equal intervals, which is relatively simple on a bagpipe or violin, also required a special technique. For the traditional style of playing melody and chords simultaneously a different Hohner Chromonica had to be used for each key. The exceptions are the (chromatic) Hohner Larry Adler Prof. 2016 [9] [16], and the non-chromatic Hohner Echo Harp [5].

text from the booklet 

Arina Stam played the gaita gallega (Spanish bagpipe), hurdy-gurdy, and harmonicas with the music group Ames. This group played music primarily from Galicia and Portugal. But recently she has returned to playing intensively the love of her youth: the harmonica. She teaches hurdy-gurdy and harmonica. Dança de Tranca is a collection of traditional European dance music compiled by Arina Stam. Determination and passion for the meticulous recreation of the original, traditional European folkmusic characterizes Arina Stam.


No comments: