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GO’ Danish Folk Music GO1013

This CD is another transatlantic bridge, bringing together Maja Kjær Jacobsen from Silkeborg in mid-Jutland, Denmark, and David Boulanger from Montréal in Québec. Maja plays fiddle and Hardangerfele and sings; David, fiddle and feet. David may be better known to readers as a current member of Québecois superheroes La Bottine Souriante, who are noted for their arrangement and augmentation of material.

This album could not be more different. Here we have a great selection of tunes and songs stripped back to let their pure integrity shine through. No flash showing off and no grandstanding, simply two musicians whose empathy for their material and for each other’s playing results in some of the crispest and cleanest playing I’ve heard in a long while.

There is no culture clash, either – whereas Québecois music has always been a fusion of several influences and Scandinavian music more isolated from others, there are more than enough areas of commonality to allow Maja and David to swap leads, with the other adding in to produce an overall sound that is dynamic, sensitive and deeply satisfying. There’s lots of contrast, too, in the material chosen, with the typical double-stopped, foot-driven Québecois jigs and reels being counterbalanced by the more haunting and lyrical Nordic slow airs. The resultant mixture is both captivating and exciting, reminding us of the delights that can follow from allowing musical thinking to expand with like-minded players.

The use of Hardangerfele gives an extra tonal depth and Maja’s sensuous vocal track adds to an overall production of which all involved should be mightily proud.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 98 of The Living Tradition magazine.