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GO Danish Folk Music GO0421 

This is a lively youthful Nordic co-operation between Danes Sofie Bollen, violin; Emma Kragh-Elmøe, violin / viola; and Veronika Voetmann, cello; and Swede Albin Sundin, cittern, with Malthe Kaptain guesting on trumpet on the ganger. Probably not too hard to see how they worked out their group name with the string emphasis!

All but the last track are written by members of the band – very scrupulously fair, so two tracks each – and these original compositions draw on and enhance the various traditions of Denmark and Sweden, with a few generous nods in the direction of Celtic influences as well. There is a lush quality of tone brought on by the cello, giving a bottom line against which the other instruments pick out the idiosyncrasies of Swedish rhythmic structures which range from driving to hauntingly melancholic. Throw in the Danish appreciation of Irish influences and the mixture becomes intriguingly compelling.

I don’t know the backgrounds of the individual musicians, but I feel that there may be some classical music credentials in there as well. The overall effect is striking, with all the sets achieving a sparkling clarity of tone; the arrangements allow each instrument to be fully appreciated. The music draws the listener in right at the start, and keeps the interest all the way through, as it’s very easy to get immersed in the subtleties of what’s going on. Crisp, precise playing and an enjoyment of what they’re doing are the other elements that shine through.

Let’s hope we can get to hear groups like this in person before too long.

Gordon Potter


This review appeared in Issue 140 of The Living Tradition magazine