Duo LiveOak's 'Piva' -
'... an attractive selection of rarely-heard songs.'
Singer-songwriters have been a part of Western European culture since mediaeval times, a continuity reflected in our habit of calling them troubadours even now: Bernart de Ventadorn, John Dowland and Paul Simon have much in common. For much of that eight-century span, they have accompanied themselves on some kind of plucked string instrument -- harp, lute, mandolin, guitar or whatever else was popular at the time. If they were lucky, others picked up their songs and performed them to a wider audience, which brings us to Duo LiveOak.
Performing together for thirty years, Nancy Knowles and Frank Wallace have explored the whole eight centuries. Piva is dedicated to Renaissance songs of Italy and Spain, by composers such as Juan del Encina, Francesco da Milano, Bartolomeo Tromboncino and Philippe Verdelot.
Wallace plays lute and vihuela de mano (the most important member of the guitar family in sixteenth century Spain) to accompany his own and Knowles' singing. Nancy Knowles, who does most of the singing, has a lovely soprano voice and Wallace accompanies her sympathetically [listen -- track 5, 3:47-4:19].
Copyright © 16 October 2005
Malcolm Tattersall, Townsville, Australia