Corvus Corax – Seikilos / Gaudia Vite live

Since the late 80’s Corvus Corax from Germany are trying to re-create the spirit of the medieval minstrels with pipes and drums. They have become popular guests at countless festivals and medieval fairs with their spectacular shows, wearing the title “Die K├Ânige der Spielleute”.

“Seikilos”, described as an ‘an exotic journey into music spanning 2 millennia’, was originally released a few years ago. It has now been released in a luxurious digipack by the new label Staupa Musica, alongside the full length live DVD “Gaudia Vitae”. Both album and DVD were deleted for long due to the collapse of EFA distribution in early 2004.

When you compare their earliest albums, like “Ante casu peccati” or “Congregatio” with their most recent work, things have changed quite a bit. The early cd booklets look modest and low-budget, with no photos of the band. On the glossy cover of “Seikilos” the band is posing half-naked showing their muscles and tattoos. The music of Corvus Corax has become more uptempo and dynamic and perhaps a little less traditional. The really heavy and modern crossover tunes are however reserved for their side-project Tanzwut, traditional acoustic medieval music still forms the base of Corvus Corax.

The album “Seikilos” can be called quite varied. Heavy percussion and bagpipe tunes like ‘Chou chou seng’ and ‘ Titenka’ are alternated by slower tracks like the medieval ballad ‘Ballade de mercy’. In general this is a solid album, without any real surprises.

That Corvus Corax especially has a reputation as a live band becomes clear from the DVD “Gaudia Vitae”. It contains seven live tracks recorded in 2002 on various German locations, mainly with material from the “Seikilos” album. With the huge drums, multiple bagpipes, strange outfits, show elements and festive tunes like ‘Saltarello’, Corvus Corax has no problems entertaining the crowd.

The other features of the dvd also make it essential for fans. They are treated to ‘on the road’-documentary, various private lofi videos which are very nice to watch (like the outdoor performance of ‘Skudrinka’ and ‘Palestinalied’ in Berlin in 1993), an extensive photo gallery and lots of background information about the band. This double package is certainly value for money if you appreciate the ‘ Spielleute’.

artist: Corvus Corax
label: Staupa Musica
details: cd + dvd, 2005