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Playing With Music PWM17

With Mountain Meeting, Bridget Marsden and Leif Ottosson, two musicians living in Stockholm, show a masterful understanding of their instruments and their music. The accordion and fiddle duo creates music which is reflective and thoughtful, through carefully crafted interplay between the two instruments, the Swedish and Finnish melodies which they play becoming part of a greater soundscape which sounds as though it’s the product of much more than two instrumentalists.

Leif Ottosson is a skilled and imaginative accordionist. His chosen instrument has an enormous range of different combinations of reeds creating different tones, with names such as Piccolo, Clarinet, Violin and Oboe. His imaginative use of these different timbres sees him become something of a one man orchestra, surrounding melodies played by Bridget Marsden with an array of harmonies, bass-lines and rhythms. When he joins in playing the melody, Ottosson sounds like another fiddler, mimicking all of Bridget Marsden’s stylistic quirks beautifully. It’s no wonder he’s been credited as “the first to have transferred the traditional fiddler’s style of playing to his instrument”. 

The music they create together is beautiful. It ebbs and flows, building to epic proportions before dying away to something minute. Their inspired approach sees their original and traditional melodies lie at the heart of their arrangements, but developing to become the basis for wider musical reflection. At its peaks, the music is both vast and sparse, much like the scenes of mountainous landscapes found inside the album cover. Indeed, in her written introduction to the track from which Mountain Meeting takes its title, Marsden Writes: “High up on a mountain side. Still, cool and calm. A place for thinking”.

Joseph Peach

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.