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RANNOK - Gammelt, Nyt, Lånt og Blåt / Old, New, Borrowed And Blue

RANNOK - Gammelt, Nyt, Lånt og Blåt / Old, New, Borrowed And Blue
Gofolk GO0417

A third album from this Danish duo - actually it's been a while since their last one Dejodejo, four years, and their mix of fiddle and piano has evolved a fair bit. I would say this CD is less eclectic, more rooted in their own tradition - as Danish as pastries for breakfast! Fiddler Michael Graubaek now plays baking paper as well as other stringed instruments, presumably after he has eaten the pastries, and pianist Theis Langlands at last has a decent beard, but their music has also matured, becoming more rounded without losing its sense of excitement and fun.

Gammelt, Nyt, Lånt og Blåt is everything you would expect a Danish folk album to be: a bit of jazz, a hint of classical, some beautiful eerie tunes, and a lot of rhythmic dance music. No strong English accent this time, although Rannok do acknowledge the British origins of an old Danish dance tune which they call Kiplev Marked but which you probably know as Davy Davy Nick Nack. They also play a 1799 version of the Sussex tune, Hunt The Squirrel, published by Playford in 1709, and later making its way to the Danish island of Lolland. That's the borrowed bit of the title: the blue bit best fits the memorial tune Trads Mindevals, a beautiful old melody played achingly slow here.

Old material is plentiful on this recording, from the jaunty Hamborger Sveitritt which apparently combines eating and dancing, to the graceful Klink Vals from northern Jutland. Finally, there are new compositions here too: the delicate Ude På Vejen Der, the more robust Jig #1 which sounds almost Canadian to me, and the unashamedly celtic-influenced title air. Charming piano solos, virtuoso fiddling, great accompaniment, and subtle use of a few guest musicians: Rannok's music is stylish and polished. They blow it of course, on the hugely enjoyable pastiche Farmors Vals (nothing to do with agriculture) and the Cajun-Country exuberance of Ole Kjaer #17, but the lads do manage to regain their composure for Hopsa Med Mol, the more stately Hanegal, and the final funeral march Toreby Ligsalme. I would definitely recommend this CD to anyone with a love of Danish music and a sense of humour. I should also mention the wonderful job which Eva Langlands has done of translating the sleevenotes into English: they are a joy to read! 

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 120 of The Living Tradition magazine.