Vialka
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Vialka

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After two days listening to new bands pillaging post-punk sounds to which they have no cultural entitlement, I found an album in the promotional pile, by an unknown French-Swiss duo, that made life worth living. Vialka play fiddly European folk music at high volume and velocity in a White Stripes setup, with Marylise Frecheville on clattering percussion and Pyrenean polyphonic singing, and Eric Boros on speed-metal gypsy guitar and shouting. Vialka can switch styles in seconds, leaping from light- fingered folk melodies to bruising metal power chords to declamatory cabaret in one exhilarating piece. My face hurts. I can’t stop smiling. Four stars! - Stewart Lee / The Sunday Times


Guy is wearing a Peeesseye t-shirt on the inside-front cover of this rather sumptuously packaged offering from Dual Plover which is as good a sign as any of impending originality and stimulation. In fact it's a very honest, open and affectionate recording which manages to tease, frustrate, fortify and amuse all whilst being not in the least bit facetious or arrogantly ironic. Marylise Frecheville and Eric Boros' play is lovely, a constant bickering of guitars and percussion that raises musical ideas, questions and quandaries with avidity and spleen. Boros' unaffected notes are the spidery, stepwise grid underneath which Frecheville's percussion swerves and waltzes, her voice shooting off in epic tantrum or chuckling spree as the fancy takes her. The sheer joy of composition is happily at the forefront of all these pieces, "100% Hello" and "One for the Road" both like watching a game of Mousetrap in fast-forward and just as colourful. You can't help but know that a cup of tea at the merch stand with these people would be very, very nice.

An arrangement of a traditional Shona mbira piece is expertly done, referencing the mbira's cyclical patterns, syncopation, interlocking motion and repetition as key sites of exploration for both players' instrumentation, whereas tracks like "Dutar" ask you to keep track of what is being repeated yourself, to mentally arrange these non-stop offerings of disparate riff and rhythm as they're constantly juggled back and forth not in mimicry of song but in celebration of its fecund and elastic components. A wonderfully intimate rendition of "Hole in the Bucket" rounds off the record, a perfect summation of the cooperative, pragmatic and slightly mad tendencies of the music previous and testament again to the sincerity of approach that makes the rest of the album so enjoyable. Despite having some of its mania sapped by the deliciously candid production this is well worth investigating. (8/10) - Joe Luna / Foxy Digitalis


What a performance! Everything I was hoping for! I love Vialka, and I had a lot to do with their inclusion in this year's line-up. I was hoping they would tear the roof off and show everyone how good they are. Mission accomplished, me think. Marilyse Frêcheville, so tiny, displays such a tremendous level of energy, she is a formidable drummer. They played almost all the latest album, plus a few key tracks from their past efforts, including "Village Mentality" which hadn't been taken out of the cellar for a while, judging from Eric Boros' hard time remembering the lyrics! Easily the best concert of this first day. - François Couture / Monsieur Délire


Discography

Succès Planétaire International CD (2009)
Plus Vite Que La Musique CD (2007)
split with Kruzenshtern I Parohod CD (2006)
Curiosities Of Popular Customs CD/LP/CS (2005)
Everywhere And Nowhere DVD (2004)
Republic Of The Bored & Boring mini-CD (2003)
Tonight I Show You Fuck CD (2002)

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Bio

The dynamic duo of Marylise Frecheville and Eric Boros have been lugging their nomadic turbo folk sound and modus vivendi all over the planet since the turn of the century, originally as the rhythm section of the performance striptease jazz-punk trio NNY, and since 2002 as Vialka. They have resided in Switzerland, Slovenia, Canada, and are currently calling a remote village in France their home between tours. Deriving its influences from traditional and modern underground music from around the globe, Vialka's music is based on the frenetic interaction between Marylise's syncopated drumming and singing and Eric's orchestral guitar playing - and is delivered with ecstatic energy, humor, lust for life, and a sophisticated musical language and subliminal connection all their own.

After releasing their first two albums "Tonight I Show You Fuck" (2002) and "Republic Of The Bored & Boring" (2003) on the mysterious Manufracture label, they founded the "VIA" nonprofit cooperative for the production and promotion of working artists (officially the Vialka Association 1901) and henceforth began releasing their own material: "Everywhere And Nowhere" (2004), a video documenting their work together over the first five years; "Curiosities Of Popular Customs" (2005), their first full-length recording; a split disc with the Israeli "klezmercore" combo Kruzenshtern I Parohod (2006 - co-released with Auris Media in Israel); "Plus Vite Que La Musique" (2007); and their latest album "Succès Planétaire International" (2009 - co-released with Dual Plover in Australia) - their third recording with Bob Drake.

Vialka is not just a musical project, but a social scientific experiment, attempting to meet, communicate and work with extraordinary and little known musicians and artists from everywhere and nowhere - with particular interest in polluted dictatorships, bleak colonies, and monarchic democracies. They have toured extensively in over fifty countries (100+ concerts per year) across Europe, Africa, North America and Asia, and have collaborated with Chinese musician Xiao He, French mbira player/drummer Andrew Dymond, Italian saxophonist Jacopo Andreini, Macedonian artist collective OPA, Swiss cinematographer Sébastien Riond, French eco-designer Cédric Carles, the legendary former-CAN singer Damo Suzuki, and New Zealand drummer Kieran Monaghan.