Bella Union announce the release of “Road To Palios”

Bella Union records is thrilled to announce the release of Road To Palios, an exquisite cycle of instrumental duets for acoustic guitar and violin by Portland-based composer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Francesconi and his partner Mirabai Peart.

Fans of Joanna Newsom should already be familiar with the work of Francesconi. He was a member of her ‘Ys Street Band’, the principal arranger and instrumental foil on her hugely feted triple album Have One On Me, released in 2010, and musical director for that album’s live incarnation, which Peart was also part of. But as well as a master collaborator, Francesconi is a vastly experienced soloist, performing and recording in all manner of guises.

Though Francesconi doesn’t limit himself to one sound – he spans Baroque, Americana and jazz improvisation – he admits his (and Peart’s) main obsession is Balkan folk music, mainly from Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. “This colour seems to seep into everything I do. It’s not entirely conscious at this point… It’s my hands. It’s not me.”

The inspiration behind Road To Palios was a trip that the couple made in 2010 to the Greek island of Lesvos. The road is a real road, and Palios is a real village – “it might not be there for much longer, but we found it” – and The Road To Palios feelslike a journey, stretching out over time and distance. Some song titles show the way; “Pontic” is from the Greek “Pontus”, meaning, “sea”. “Kalamatianos” is a traditional Greek dance. “Far from Shore” and “Parallel Flights” speak for themselves.

As you would expect, Joanna Newsom is a fan, to put it mildly. Fransesconi, she says, is, “one of the most awe-inspiring musicians I’ve known. It’s nearly impossible to believe he’s picking those strings with one hand.”

Here we have seven questing tracks; sometimes meditative, other times stirring, but always flowing and compelling. Once embarked upon, it’s a unforgettable journey, into Balkan territory and the heart and soul of two extraordinary musicians.

Road To Palios by Ryan Francesconi and Mirabai Peart is released 3rd December 2012 on Bella Union records.


15 years of Bella Union Records, a special compilation in conjunction with Rough Trade, is available in our store now.

The tracklist is below:

CD One

1. M Ward – Primitive Girl
2. Veronica Falls – Stephen
3. Wild Nothing – Shadow
4. Beach House – Lover Of Mine
5. Andrew Bird – Effigy
6. Laura Veirs – July Flame
7. Fleet Foxes – Montezuma
8. The Acorn – Crooked Legs
9. John Grant – TC & Honeybear
10. Stephanie Dosen – Vinalhaven Harbor
11. Explosions In The Sky – Your Hand in Mine
12. Hannah Cohen – Don’t Say
13. Poor Moon – Holiday
14. Treefight For Sunlight – Time Stretcher
15. Vetiver – More Of This
16. Lawrence Arabia – I’ve Smoked Too Much
17. Cashier no. 9 – Oh Pity
18. Marques Toliver – Magic Look

CD Two

1. Van Dyke Parks – Be Careful
2. Mountain Man – Buffalo
3. Peter Broderick – Colin
4. Midlake – The Jungler
5. I Break Horses – Hearts (RAR mix)
6. Dirty Three – Everything’s Fucked
7. My Latest Novel – Wrongfully, I Rested
8. The Czars – Goodbye
9. Our Broken Garden – The Departure
10. Lift To Experience – To Guard & To Guide You

Exclusive Bonus Tracks

11. The Walkmen – The House You Made*
12. The Low Anthem – Down There By The Train*
13. Jonathan Wilson – Journey from Eden*
14. Zun Zun Egui – Battlefield*
15. Lanterns On The Lake – Below It*
16. Father John Misty feat. Phosphorescent – I Would Love You*

Zun Zun Egui play community music workshop shows

Ever a band keen to have their music connect far and wide beyond the usual circuits, Zun Zun Egui have spent the past week undertaking a series of community music workshops with prisoners, elderly dementia patients and pupils with special needs.

Organised by Superact, a not-for-profit arts organisation that uses the arts to inspire communities and individuals, the band have visited The Verne Prison in Weymouth, Abbeyfield Care Home in Taunton and Ellen Tinkham School in Exeter, learning how to deliver bespoke music therapy workshops before meeting and working with the inmates, patients and students themselves.

The week culminates with a show at the Bikeshed Theatre in Exeter on Saturday (Sep 15) as part of Acoustica Festival, more info here. They then play a hometown show at Brisfest (Sep 22), before heading out on European tour with Dirty Three in November – full list of dates here.

Follow Zun Zun Egui’s adventures on Twitter: @zunzuneguirocks

For more info on Superact visit

Alternative Mercury prizes…

Michael Hann on Zun Zun Egui’s ‘Katang’ –

If British urban music is starting to celebrate Africa in the form of Afrobeats, Zun Zun Egui showed that indie can do the same – without it being a Vampire Weekendesque appropriation of individual sounds. These Bristolians’ trick is to take African forms and turn them into art rock, rather than taking art rock and making it sound a bit African. Katang was a multilingual, polyrhythmic, insanely disparate album of breathless invention, a stylistic one-off that showed them to be the rarest of things in current UK guitar music: sui generis.

See the full list over at The Guardian.