[Nordic Tradition (2011)]
The All Weathers Country
Anders Larsson, who sings and plays mandola in the duo Anders and Patrik and the group Svanevit, has released an album of lilting, or wordless dance music. In rural Swedish villages, lilting was used for live dance music in place of instruments, and Larsson has developed his own way of interpreting this old vocal styling. It’s a very rhythmic form of singing, to which Larsson adds his own sense of spontaneity and improvisation. This all makes for an interesting listening experience; but, without lyrics, it’s a somewhat limited one for someone not dancing. Larsson brings in guest vocalists on five of the tracks to vary the sound a bit, but with 19 tracks and 55 minutes of music, it’s easier to sample in bits and pieces than to listen to in its entirety. [www.nordictradition.com; www.musiker.se]
This third recording by the Belgium trio Turlu Tursu finds them moving on from performing traditional material to their own compositions inspired by various world music cultures. The lineup is a bit unusual, a power trio of bass, drums and accordion, sometimes playing with a rock like intensity, at other times encompassing a free flowing jazz fusion. Fabian Beghin’s witty and vibrant accordion playing is the groups’ main focus, and he switches off to play the bansuri, or wooden flute on a number of the tunes. His intensity is matched by drummer Etienne Plumer, whose busy, jazzy style drives the group. Nicolas Dechene is a fluid player who uses his bass as another lead instrument, firing off a torrent of notes to complement Beghin’s accordion. The music spans the globe, touching on Spain, Brazil, Italy, the Nordic region, and other continental countries. It’s a recording full of progressive ideas and fusions and makes for great, “crank it up loud while driving down the road” music.
—Jim Lee, Simi Valley, CA