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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Loell Duinn - Retrospective 2003-2008 - CD Cover Artwork
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exclusive interview

Olja Frolo
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Olja Frolo (lead vocals)
image © Loell Duinne 2011

Olja Frolo
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Olja Frolo (lead vocals)
Alba Iulia, Transilvania, Romania
image © Mishu Vass 2011


(02 September 2012) Loell Duinn was born in spring of 2003 growing out of various musical projects dating from 1995. The ensemble has clearly evolved and matured over time into its current form. Their sole release to date is the twelve track album Retrospective 2003-2008 (Loell Duinn / Quartier23 (Germany), 2011). While this album may be challenging to obtain in some territories, a brief listen to streams available at YouTube (example: "Green Fairy") will be enough to convince even the casual listener to search it out.

Today the band is based in Croatia. Founded by Alen Zarifoviæ (classical guitar, 12 string acoustic guitar, vocals) and Olja Frolo (leadvocals, percussion), Loell Duinn began performing as a duo. Soon they were were hosting different musicians and drew critical acclaim for excellence in their performance, but they felt less comfortable in music's metaphysical form. Their growth came through time and new experiences and ultimately two new members: Goran Brezac (drums, percussion) and Patrik Šæira (keyboard, accordian) with whom Loell Duinn becames a complete and stable project. Their album also includes Ivona Kiršiæ (flute, woodwinds) and Marino Matošiæ (accordion, woodwinds). Learn more about the artists in our exclusive interview with Olja Frolo.

The band say that they have have composed some fusion of Arabic, Spanish, Balkan and local sounds using different languages, such as English, Croatian, Swedish, local dialects and invented languages. All the songs are composed as vocal-instrument parts that are mello, melancholic melodies connecting ethnic/folk elements with norms of classical music through historical vision of medieval, renaissance and baroque music in a modern performance.

"Cantalena" (subtitled "The Construction of Love") is the album's rousing opening number. It blends the warm vocal work of the lead singer with world music and serves as the perfect introduction to Loell Duinn. Likely their most popular song, complete with music video, is entitled "Green Fairy." Layers of Olja's delicate vocals glide above keyboard washes, percussive strings and deep percussion. Listen for the orchestral tones of the keyboard washes between the lyrical passages.

A Middle Eastern theme is developed through the excellent combination of dense instrumental arrangements and Olja's ever swirling vocalise in the stunning track "Desert Voice." The crescendo is breath taking. The extended instrumental of "Ples Života" eventually opens into a lovely and upbeat Celtic-tinged vocal-based number. "Embraces" (subtitled "Swan Song") couples Olja's powerful vocal work with a dense orchestral arrangement. The relatively brief vocal passages in this stunning track left us longing for more.

Olja delivers another incredible vocal in the wordly track "Zlöto Mojé" alongside crisp percussion and strings joined by woodwind. Listen for her power in the verse and warm choral arrangements in the memorable chorus. We also especially appreciated the acoustic guitar part in the song. "Sea Gulls" is a densely arranged piece and also features an amazing vocal performances. Sung in English, listen to her power both in lyrical and vocalise passages in the track.

"Shera Aila" is clearly the most middle eastern-sounding track on the album. Atmospheric instrumentals are rooted in woodwinds while whispery vocals provide texture. The rich progressive-style organ and Olja's richer vocal passages almost perfectly echo the melody of "Embraces." We adored the acoustic guitar instrumental within the track.The two songs work extremely well together although they are separated on the album.

The first half of "Jesen na Jastuku" is a warm ballad that provides a notable contrast with other tracks on the album. A tempo change mid-song provides an upbeat bridge before the ballad texture returns. The orchestral woodwind-driven arrangements and warm evocatively presented vocals in "The Mirror of Lies" contribute to the strength of the song. Listen for the vibrato in Olja's stunning delivery.

The album's epic length track is entitled "Yearning." With a running time of over seven minutes, slightly longer than "Shera Aila," "Yearning" serves as an excellent summary of Loell Duinn's sound, embracing the full range of instrumentals and Olja's vocal work. The accordion and acoustic strings all work especially well in this moody track. The CD concludes with the everso gentle ballad "Kadá Zaspin Za Se." The very soothing vocal harmonies are absolutely the best on the album. Accordion and acoustic strings also blend uniquely with percussion in this wonderful concluding number.

While their first album encompassed five years of writing and eight years of calendar prior to release, Loell Duinn has now reached international acclaim. Surely we don't want to have to wait as long for the follow up to this amazing album from this talented ensemble.

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