Piers Faccini & Vincent Ségal ‘Songs of Time Lost’ (No Format) 4/5

piers-faccini-vincent-segalA few summers back a wonderfully inspired collaboration between French cellist Vincent Ségal and West African singer Ballaké Sissoko entitled ‘Chamber Music’ was one of the surprise world roots hits of the year and in a slightly different vein Ségal has this time come up with another unlikely music marriage with guitarist/vocalist Piers Faccini, who is of Italian descent, and this similarly cuts across musical borders to incorporate elements of UK/US folk, blues and even Italian roots music. Folk-blues is the order of the day on a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s ‘Quicksilver Daydreams’ and here the cello is used as a surrogate bass to good effect. A melodic take on a 1930s song that was sung and co-written by Marlene Dietrich, ‘Wenn ich mir, was wünschen dürfte’, is accompanied by some delightful cello and guitar. Faccini comes into his own on the Italian repertoire of largely Neapolitan-inspired songs and this includes the plucked cello sound and delicate vocal delivery on ‘Cammina Cammina’ while there is a lovely early music feel on the cello to ‘Villanella di Cenerentolla’, which is a sixteenth century song that has been given a folksy modern update, and is all the better for it. A pared down cello and vocals feature on a Roman song of yearning love, ‘Dicitencello Vuje’ which is arguably the pick of all the Italian songs. For several of the English language songs, Nick Drake is the main inspiration and Faccini delivers a pretty convincing whispered delivery on ‘The closing of our eyes’. More exotic musical connections are made on ‘Cradle to the grave’ which has a strong New Orleans influence and on a Creole folk song, ‘Mangé pou le coeur’ with cello providing a sparse backbeat. This is quite simply music that defies categorisation and will be of interest to anyone who likes to hear lyrical music from across multiple frontiers.

Tim Stenhouse