Rafael Pacha -
A Bunch Of Forest Songs

(Selected & Revisited Recordings Between 1999-2022)

The tracks:
  1- Piper's Dream(4:51)
  2- Akelarre(4:49)
  3- Inma's Song(4:52)
  4- Ossian By The Door(4:38)
  5- Balkan Rashness / Pivo UStaklu(3:51)
  6- Bean Sidhe(6:05)
  7- Dance Of Rohan(4:07)
  8- Artañola(3:03)
  9- La Mujer Del Músico(7:50)
10- Kenningar (Swordwater)(4:39)
11- Piper's Nightmare(5:46)
12- Stormchaser(4:16)
13- Broceliande(4:38)

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Here's a new name for me. However, Spanish multi-instrumentalist Rafael Pachaturns out to be quite a prolific guy who has already many projects to his name. My bad. Turns out that Rafael is the main composer of the Prog/Folk group The Guildmaster of which I had never heard of as well. His background is from folk-music. First, he playedwith the groups San Barandán and La Banda Del Lago and in the 1990s he embarked on a solo career. He appears to be a long-time collaborator for various progressive rock groups such as Last Knight, The Samurai Of Prog and Inner Prospekt. He also worked with Samurai Of Prog drummer Kimmo Pörsti on Pörsti's solo albums and they did an album together Views From The Inner World (see review), released in 2022 by the Seacrest Oylabel. He also collaborated with ManoelMacía, doingseven albums so far. With other Spanish prog musicians he was part of the Circle Project, which released the album Bestiario.
As a solo artist, Rafael has by now recorded over ten albums as well as a couple soundtracks. Only one of these was released as a physical CD, but you can find others on Bandcamp.

Recently, Rafael decided to make some of his recordings from 1999 to 2022 available on a CD. For this, he selected 12 songs, including one previously unreleased track which were reworked and remixed with Kimmo Pörsti playing drums on all the songs. Several other guest musicians were invited as well, including Carlos Aragon (uilleann pipe), Juan Arriola (violin), Alessandro di Benedetti of Mad Crayon on keyboards, Marco Bernard (The Samurai Of Prog) onShuker bass, Juan Miguel López (whistles and pipes), Jose Manuel Milan (violin), and Rafael Moreno on Irish traverse flute.

Now, I won't go into any detail discussing the various individual tracks. I have enjoyed the album on several occasions as one whole - a few times even by choosing “restart” when the disc reached the end. It is a great selection of songs that clearly draw on European folk traditions, most of all Celtic Irish/Scottish folk, but with traces from other geographic and cultural areas as well (check the titles to get a sense of this). In addition, one at times can discern Rafael's and his co-musician's progressive rock legacy.

While I won't call the album original in any way (let's face it - it is next to impossible to be original within this genre), it has been a while since I got an album to review that I enjoyed as much as this one. If you like folk-rock or folky prog, give Rafael Pacha's music a try, I am sure you will enjoy it!

**** Carsten Busch (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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