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Review: Våkenatt For Hardanger [Vigil For Hardanger]

Various Artists
Våkenatt For Hardanger [Vigil For Hardanger]
[Kirkelig Kulturverksted (2010)]

The Hardanger in the title of this compilation recording isn’t in reference to the traditional Norwegian fiddle, but to the region of the country that gave the instrument its name. Judging from the photos on the cover and CD booklet, it’s a beautiful, unblemished area of lakes and mountains where the Norwegian government would like to build a powerline and major highway through. A group of musicians and activists have joined together to record a collection of songs and instrumental pieces to draw attention to, and protest against, those plans.

The music is mostly contemporary in nature with a mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation with both folk and jazz overtones. It was recorded in an old church, which gives everything a nice sense of openness and space. Tracks range from traditional and modern sounding instrumental pieces to standard male and female singer-songwriter styled pieces that lose some of their effectiveness because there is no English translation. But still, a strong statement against development in an unspoiled area that will be changed forever if the road is built. [www.kkv.no]

—Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)

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