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Reviews: Jensen & Bugge, Hav Og Land [Sea And Land]; and Dwight Lamb & Jensen & Bugge, Live in Denmark 2010

Jensen & Bugge
Hav Og Land [Sea And Land]
[GO’ Danish (2011)]

Dwight Lamb & Jensen & Bugge
Live in Denmark 2010
[GO’ Danish (2011)]

Accordionist Mette Kathrine Jensen and fiddler Kristin Bugge are childhood friends that have been performing together for ten years. In celebration of this anniversary, they formed a band with Bjarke Kolerus (clarinet), Thomas Hedegaard (double bass), and Morten Alfred Hoirup (guitar, vocals) and recorded their debut album of traditional song and dance. It’s a fun recording, with duo performances mixed along with the full band tracks. They search out the best of the old tunes — the most interesting in terms of melody and structure — and then give them their own spin. Its music learned from the old musicians and dancers, and refined through years of playing at village halls and at dances. But they’re not bound by tradition, as the clarinet solo on “Set Of Waltzes” shows, or in their use of acoustic bass to underlie the strong rhythmic structure of the tunes. Jensen and Bugge are among the vanguards of traditional Danish musicians, as this recording aptly demonstrates.

It was a chance encounter at the Tonder Folk festival that brought Dwight Lamb to the attention of Jensen & Bugge. Mette Kathrine heard a recording of a traditional Danish accordion player at a record vendor, inquired who it was and learned it was an American living in Iowa. To make a long story short, Jensen & Bugge met up with Lamb in the U.S., invited him to visit them in Denmark to play music, and the rest is history. Lamb’s great-grandfather, as it turns out, emigrated from Denmark to the States in the 1880s and passed along his knowledge of the music to later generations, including many tunes no longer played in Demark. This recording documents Lamb’s visit in 2010, where he joined Jensen and Bugge on a tour of small village halls. It’s a recording steeped in history, with Lamb playing many forgotten tunes, and Jensen and Bugge enthusiastically joining in. It’s a wonderful and vivid example of the folk process at work. [www.jensen-bugge.dk; www.gofolk.dk]

–Jim Lee (Simi Valley, CA)

Jensen, Bugge & Lamb at the Nisswa-Stamman Festival, Nisswa, Minnesota June 2011:

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