Tunng, Soy Un Caballo - Robin
Helen Newbery 18/05/2009
Rather than collaborating in the more usual sense, that is, on the same song at the same time, London-based folksters Tunng and Belgium's Soy Un Caballo have each released versions of the latter's 'Robin' on a limited edition gold 7-inch vinyl. And given their recent highly acclaimed tour with Tuareg musicians Tinariwen, Tunng are clearly no strangers to collaboration. Their version begins with almost imperceptible handclaps, gradually adding guitar and other instruments, until the lush voice of Sam Genders gives life to the song's almost mournful melody. Its apparently simple arrangement belies some complex rhythms, and the warmth generated extends into the closing harmonies.
Having previously worked with the likes of Sean O'Hagan and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Soy Un Caballo's Aurélie Muller & Thomas Van Cottom are also obviously collaborative musicians. Their version of 'Robin' is sung in the original French as a two-hander, and is a much more delicate beast, with a stripped-down approach and gentle harmonies. However, of the two bands, Tunng's version is actually the more convincing. Its arrangement makes the song seem more fully realised, whereas the Soy Un Caballo version gives off the faintest whiff of cheesy European lounge music, and also feels slightly twee.
Soy Un Caballo: 3/5