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Go Danish Folk Music GO1921 

This album title translates from the Danish as Raw And Unsweetened. Appropriate title! In the main, this is good, unadulterated playing of traditional music from fiddler Steffan Søgaard and pianist Kristian Jørgensen, and it is all the better for this straightforward approach.

All but two of the tunes are traditional and the majority of these come from a large 18th century manuscript which was discovered in the loft of an old building. This has proved to be a gold mine for this duo and here they include some tunes that have not been heard for 200 years. Every tune makes good listening and there is not one played in a rhythm or at a tempo that this dance-caller-reviewer would not find to fit his purposes.

The duo sounds like it has had vast experience of playing for dances. From the first track we can hear that there has been careful programming to ensure variety, with the fiddle ranging through different tonal colours and techniques like feathering and pizzicato. Careful listening suggests that Steffan uses different tunings and on one it sounds like he is playing a viola. Similarly, Kristian uses a variety of accompaniment styles from the old-fashioned bass note and chord vamping through to other places where the piano playing seems to surround the tune in the way that is favoured by Cape Breton keyboard players. At times there is a ragtime feel and jazzy chords emerge.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 141 of The Living Tradition magazine