Review: Rajna – Offering

Back in October last year, I wrote about Deleyaman, a multi-cultural act whose dark take on world music was reminiscent of Dead Can Dance. Their labelmates on Equilibrium, Rajna, are a French duo who sound a little like Dead Can Dance too as it happens. ‘Offering’ is their ninth album.

Employing a selection of ancient instruments they appear to provide an almost medieval form of music. Jeanne Lefebvre’s immense vocals are the obvious calling card (a solo turn on ‘Illa Saldé’ is the stunning evidence) but just as important are the arrangements from Fabrice Lefebvre. The title track is particularly poignant as the strings swell with Jeanne’s wounded cries, whereas ‘Epidauros’ is underpinned by Eastern rhythms which vary between menacing and frenetic. There’s even time for a Cocteau Twins-style moment; ‘Never Land’ recalling their mid-80s gentle period whilst Brendan Perry-soundalike and Deleyaman member Aret Madilian makes a guest appearance for the atmospheric finale ‘Quiet Hour’.

Although most of ‘Offering’ is sombre and slow-paced, it is never dirgey as the Lefebvres keep their songs varied and concise. This helps to create a moody and deeply involving set of songs that demand full attention.

Web Sites:
Rajna Official Site
Rajna MySpace

Further Listening:
Dead Can Dance, Deleyaman

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