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9 Years have passed since Willy Schwarz released an album of original songs. “Love is a River” is well worth the wait. Opening with the bluesy tale of Murat Kurnaz, the so-called “Bremen Taliban”, he then remains in topical fervor with a plea for pity on the baby born a hungry refugee. This is accompanied by the harp-lute dozongoni from Mali. We then jump to Romania, where Willy recorded his own soulful version of a Gypsy lovesong, backed by cymbalom and fiery violins. This is followed by a musical last will and testament – with a rocking bridge, and a light-hearted dialog between an English-speaking God, and Adam, who answers in German. Willy improvises a scat accordion/vocal solo – all with special guest Dave Goodman on guitars.
Then, Willy sings his translation of an old Yiddish love-wail, accompanied by a band featuring reeds wizard Matt Darriau. This is followed by the album’s most haunting number, a song about the largest still-standing bunker from 2nd Worldwar, with a background of deep gongs and harps that places the listener somewhere inside the hulking dark structure. There are 2 versions of Bunker Valentin; German and English.
Then, in “Language of the Heart”, Willy compares music to love, where “each have intertwining parts we must play”. This is followed by a song dedicated to his older brother, as he enters retirement; “Time on your hands”. “Hard time”, by contrast, is a classic 60s Dylan-style protest song about the horrors and injustices of the GW Bush years, and their continuing legacy.
After this tirade, Willy sings his own text to a tender Swedish Christmas carol. This is followed by a cheerful 3-part a cappella canon with a Caribbean feel. The album is rounded out with it’s theme song, a timeless anthem to the power of Love, set to an unforgettable old Irish aire.