Malicorne was founded by Gabriel Yacoub and Marie Yacoub in 1974. It is also the name of a French town, famous for its porcelain and faience. Since several of their albums are called simply Malicorne it had become the custom to refer to them by number, even though no number appears on the cover. Malicorne 1 consisted of the Yacoubs, Laurent Vercambre and Hughes de Courson. The combination of electric guitar, violin, dulcimer, bouzouki and female vocalist immediately brings to mind Steeleye Span, their English equivalent, thus placing them squarely in the electric folk genre. The four of them were masters of twelve instruments. Their first four albums consisted of mostly traditional French folk songs, with one or two songs by Gabriel Yacoub and one or two instrumentals per album. Again like Steeleye Span, they occasionally sang group harmonies a cappella.
Malicorne's second album was and might even be the best in a series of powerful studio albums. Stylistically similar to the first album but infinitely more mature, the quartet was already moving in a more compositionally interesting direction by infusing the traditionals with multi-instrumental arrangements of great thought. The use of the crumhorn in the classic "Le Mariage Anglais" brings the music closer to what Gryphon was creating across the channel, a similarity solidified when Brian Gulland later joined the group. The diversity here is exquisite, including a somber ballad ("La Fille aux Chansons"), an a capella piece ("Marion les Roses"), a lively instrumental ("J'ai Vu le Loup, le Renard et la Belette") and much more. Already, Malicorne were starting to incorporate electric instruments into the mix to good effect, pushing this, their second album, even closer to progressive areas. The arrangements, tracking choice and sheer musical quality makes this one of the best folk albums of the 70s.
"Simply put, this is one of the best recordings of French medieval music. If you like medieval music get this disk without delay! It is obvious that Gabriel Yacoub and company love this music and play it with such tender passion it is almost as if they were making love to their instruments.
For those not familiar with Malicorne, they are a bit like Pentangle without the jazz and blues influence. Traditional instruments, along with guitar and tasteful percussion transport the listener to a magical sanctuary where one may meet the Ancestors of the Foretime. The singing of Gabriel and his wife are perfect beyond description. This is timeless stuff and sings directly to the human soul whether or not one speaks French.
Get this cd and Colin, which are Malicornes' firt two recordings and their most traditional. You really cannot go wrong with this disk. Vive Malicorne!"
01. Le Mariage Anglais
02. Le Garçon Jardinierme Lombarde
03. La Fille Aux Chansons ( Marion S'y Promène )
04. J'ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard Et La Belette
05. Cortège De Noce
06. Branle La Peronelle
07. Le Galant Indiscret
08. Marions Les Roses
09. Suite Bourrée, Scottish-Valse
10. Le Bouvier
Gabriel Yacoub (acoustic and electric guitar, epinette de Vosges, vocals)
Marie Yacoub (electric dulcimer, bouzouki, hurdy-gurdy, vocals)
Laurent Vercambre (violin, bouzouki, psaltery, harmonium, mandolin, vocals)
Hughes de Courson (electric guitar, bass, crumhorn, percussion, vocals)