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GO Danish Folk Music GO1215

Danish folk musicians Sonnich Lydom and Jes Kroman this year celebrate four decades of musical friendship with the present reissue of this album. Old School was recorded in 1981, early on in their partnership, shortly after the formation of their band, V. Poulsen’s Kapel, and around the time they were invited by Tom Anderson to play at the first Shetland Folk Festival – where by all accounts they were a tremendous success and to which they were able to return in October of that year armed with the cassette!

The term Kapel means “court orchestra”, and it could be said that the two musicians, with just a little help from guests Margaret and Alan Scollay (piano and guitar respectively), make a full and generous “mini-orchestral” sound. Sonnich and Jes themselves regard this record as “a unique documentation of the sound of the early 1980s” – by which they mean a joyful and spirited evocation of their musical home, albeit technically quite raw and refreshingly unpretentious. Both musicians are captured here in the days when they both played fiddle and diatonic accordion, and they display a natural empathy born of playing music in the streets by day and at countless pub sessions by night. The rationale behind the reissue of this album is less of a celebration than a belief that the new generation of ‘educated’ folk musicians needs a direct link to the tradition, which the ‘old school’ musicians such as Sonnich and Jes are able to provide. No argument there.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.