Duhks The Duhks

With their self-titled debut on Sugar Hill Records, this Winnipeg five-piece of twentysomethings aim to take world music to another level and succeed through 13 varied tracks. Surely, like countless breakout bands from this prairie town before them, the cold has inspired this quintet to stay indoors and hone their craft. Truly a smorgasbord of styles that is hard to classify, the Duhks (pronounced "ducks”) are an acoustic ensemble that create some truly original music by blending their varied influences that include Afro-Caribbean rhythms with roots music. The result is a delectable disc, produced by world-music innovator Béla Fleck, whose vibe ranges from folk ballads, old-time juke-joint standards and jazz arrangements to bluesy-rockers and traditional Celtic reels. The diverse disc opens with the gospel/blues "Death Came a Knockin’,” which showcases the vocal talents of Jessica Havey, and runs as deep as a well. The song bristles with the emotion and energy of an Aretha Franklin or Mavis Staples anthem. Instrumentals "Gene’s Machine” and "The Magnolia Set” highlight the rest of the band’s talented players — the frenzied fiddle of Tania Elizabeth, the break-neck banjo playing of Leonard Podolak, the guitar chops of Jordan McConnell and the percussive passion of drummer Scott Senior. From the old-time traditional Celtic tale "The Wagoner’s Lad” to the French/Acadian "Du Temps que J’éspais Juene,” these Duhks will leave you quacking for more of their acoustically-charged sounds. (Sugar Hill)