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Ongiara

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Description

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS
Title: ONGIARA
Street Release Date: 05/08/2007
Domestic
Genre: ROCK/POP

Amazon.com

There is a hushed grace to each Great Lake Swimmers release, a wonderfully fragile quality--a la Bonnie Prince Billy or Songs: Ohia--that is responsible for their devoted, near-religious fan base. While Great Lake Swimmers have been slowly building excitement with their previous two releases, Ongiara is truly on a whole other level, deserving to move them from buzz-worthy to legendary. Singer/songwriter Tony Dekker and company hit all the magical marks on this disc; the fragility is palpable, yet the primarily acoustic, bluegrass-affected instrumentation (from guitar to banjo to upright bass) is meaty enough to make every track feel lush and full. The list of guest performers is equally noteworthy, from Sarah Harmer's understated vocals on disc closer "I Became Awake," to the gorgeous string contributions of Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy, Arcade Fire) on the aching track "Where in the World Are You." Hearing Dekker half-whisper "when the wind takes you/it takes me too" in "Changing Colours" (a song equating the individual growth of two people in a dying romance with the change in seasons) is quite literally the sound of musical perfection. In fact, much of this CD gets better with each listen, and there's no better testimony than that. --Denise Sheppard
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nettwerk Records
  • ASIN: B000OHZKB8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,403 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I am ashamed to say that I was not aware that the Great Lake Swimmers existed until a couple of months ago. As a musician and someone who prides themselves in keeping an eye out for great music, how they, or shall I say Tony Dekker, slipped by me is a mystery. Long story short, I'm glad that I read a review in Paste magazine that prompted me to go out and buy this CD. Without question this is the best CD I've heard in 2007... IN ANY GENRE. In fact, I would be willing to say with authority that I would rank this CD with just about any of the great singer/songwriter CD's of the 70's (e.g., Late for the Sky, Pink Moon, Old. No.1, Flying Shoes, etc.)Yes, it's that good. From the first song, "Your Rocky Spine", you know you are in for something special. By the time you hit the end of the second song, "Backstage With the Modern Dancers" and Dekker pulls out the line, "And out there on the wooden floors, the sweat from their pores, I'm writing a list of songs I can sing by myself." I don't know about anyone else, but I think that's about as good as it gets in lyric writing because of where it lays in the song. It is completely unexpected and extremely intimate, almost too intimate. It's the kind of lyrical risk that only truly courageous songwriters take. There's a spirit of deep longing and melancholy throughout this record, but there is also a feeling of "all is not lost", a spirit of hope that plays off of the loneliness as well. The songs are recorded using spare instrumentation (mostly acoustic guitar, banjo, double bass, and drums played with brushes). You do hear an electric guitar here, a keyboard there, an occasional orchestral instrument, but the arrangements are very understated. The vocals sound distant and are delivered with a sense of urgency and yearning.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Having been raised a classical musician, who also loves everything from Yes and Led Zeppelin to Tool and System of a Down, I am always looking for new things to expand our already bursting at the seams collection of eclectic music. Thanks to Minnesota Public Radio's The Current, we found Great Lake Swimmers. I think I have pretty high standards for my music and really seek complex composition and true musicianship. This album fits the bill. His voice is haunting and melodic, the banjo peaks your curiosity and the lyrics are wonderful. I recommend this to anyone looking for a great CD to listen to while having a cool summer drink.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had never heard of Great Lake Swimmers when this album popped up as a suggestion here on Amazon. I listened to the sample tracks and read some of the reviews and gave it a try.

Ongiara has become one of my favorite albums. The quiet, calm, soothing music and vocals of Tony Dekker are the perfect, relaxing end to days that are so often filled with nothing but noise. The perfect music for a long drive or to play in the background as you fall asleep. Simplicity is Tony Dekker's greatest virtue, but he never lets the music get boring or overly sleepy. It's just simple, beautiful music done well.

There is a folksy americana sound to Great Lake Swimmers that is somewhat similar to Fleet Foxes or Iron & Wine, but that doesn't quite define their music just right. However you describe it, it's beautiful music. Give it a try.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is just a heartbreakingly beautiful, soulful folk album, like some kind of tear-jerking prayer. I listened to it continuously for the first month I owned it. The recording was made in what sounds like a big, wooden building with gorgeous acoustics, which adds to the resonance of both voice and instruments. While some compare the sound of GLS to Nick Drake, I think there is more innocence to their sound, which gives their music a thread of hope under the melancholy.

I brought this into my high school classroom and my precocious, artistic students immediately embraced it, adding it to their own iPods. Great Lake Swimmers bridge traditional folk music, singer-songwriter lyricism and new folk. I think many ages and generations can appreciate this particular album.
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Format: Audio CD
The Great Lake Swimmers' Ongiara is probably the best new record I have bought in 2007, and believe me, I have bought many! As is always the case with great and beautiful music, I find no need to put a label on this record, it should be equally thrilling to those who like world music, alt country or rock music. Unfortunately I haven't been able to purchase the previous, self-titled record from this band but I'll definitely keep looking while also eagerly awaiting the next release.

Gudjon, Iceland
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Format: Audio CD
It's been a while since my husband and I have come across such a beautiful and entrancing compilation of work. The lyrics and banjo-guitar accompaniment are beautiful. Wonderfully voiced, I could listen to this all day. There's not a bad track on the cd. This is definitely an extremely mellow and "chill-out" work, but it would appeal many; indie, bluegrass and country-music listeners alike.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
There is no shortage of pretty songs on Ongiara. In fact, all of the songs are pleasant and unobtrusive at the least. My problem with this album is that it never, as a whole, sank its talons in, even after repeat listens. Compare this, for instance to the more recent self-titled album by Fleet Foxes, which I found both accessible and deep.

Perhaps I just don't have the sophistication to appreciate the 'Swimmers Ongiara for what it is. I will say that the lead track, Your Rocky Spine, is one of the most brilliant and poetic love songs I have ever heard. Every time I listen to it, I cannot decide if it is a love song to a woman, borrowing imagery from the land, or the opposite. I suppose if pressed, I would cast my lot with the latter.
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