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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

THOMAS LOEFKE and NORLAND WIND

By James Rodgers
Published April 26, 2006

Atlantic Driftwood
Alula Records

Thomas Loefke has found much inspiration in the history, nature, ambience and people of Northern Ireland, from lyrics and music to the name of his band. His latest release, Atlantic Driftwood, captures the country’s haunted beauty. Thomas’s harp work has a shimmering, mournful feel that grabs the listener’s ear and cries softly into it, but this is not a somber release. The 12 original and four traditional tracks celebrate the music and mood of the region. Atlantic Driftwood features strong support from members of Irish powerhouse Clannad and piper extraordinaire Finbar Furey, but it is the guitar and mesmerizing vocals of Kerstin Blodig that adds spirit, energy and celebration into the mix, taking Norland Wind, and us, to a higher plateau. Thomas obviously knows a good thing when he hears it, as her clear, unadorned alto is featured on 11 of the 16 tracks. Northern Ireland is rarely so lovingly portrayed, or well represented.