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Etnisk Musikklubb EM98

A feast of fiddling from Norway, Sweden and Shetland, places with well established and well connected fiddle traditions, this album seeks to bring these connections alive and showcase them in a new and exciting way. And it does what it says on the tin.

The trio (Olav Luksengård Mjelva, Anders Hall and Kevin Henderson) between them play fiddles, viola, hardanger and octave fiddle, and these tools are all they require to produce a sound that is at times dainty and refined, almost chamber music like, and at other times gutsy and powerful.

Shetland reels, Swedish polskas and Norwegian hallings (I didn’t know either – wedding dances!) sit side by side, and though very different, blend well together. The boys make clever use of harmony, diverse tones, textures and volumes, and the album is full of pleasant surprises - the arrangements at times not quite going where you expect them to, but always in a good way.

Some well know tunes like Da Greenland Mans Tune, Midnight On The Water (the connection being it was learnt from a Shetlander, Aly Bain), Da Full Rigged Ship and Da New Rigged Ship sit alongside tunes which are new to me from Sweden and Norway, and among them are some real gems. Seek it out.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 93 of The Living Tradition magazine.