Baltinget - Classic
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cd cover There is something of the music of the English folk dance scene of thirty years ago in Baltinget. This Danish quintet's Classic has the same kind of acoustic feel in not just the arrangements but also in the playing. The accordion, the bass, the fiddle, the percussion all bring to mind early Albion Country Band, maybe even Oak and Swan Arcade. One almost expects Shirley Collins to burst into song.

But Baltinget is not a retro-folk group. Here are five musicians who play in the here-and-now, allowing influences of other genres to have an effect: a touch of swing, a little rock, a smattering of classical and more.

The melody lines are played by fiddler Tove de Fries along with Jesper Vinther Petersen on accordion and harmonica. Throughout the 13 tracks, they play in unison or switch lead between themselves while adding harmonies. The Perrevais set, for example, starts with de Fries playing alone before bursting into an exuberant reel where she is joined by Petersen's accordion. At times, they match each other note for note, but here and there one musician or other wanders off with an inventive ornamentation or harmony line that enhances the overall sound exquisitely.

A tight accompaniment allows the band to develop a living, dancing sound throughout the album. Peter Marquand Sejersen adds a strong foundation on bass; guitarist Klaus Ravnsborg is a creative accompanist, always finding the right approach whether finger picking or strumming; and Jesper Falch plays cajon, cymbals and shakers, sounding like he is doing so much more, while never overpowering his colleagues.

Baltinget has created a sound that on the one hand has a feeling of nostalgia, but on the other shows a great sense of adventure. Here are five musicians who appear acutely aware of their strengths; while capturing the rhythms of dance, they emphasize the beauty of the tunes. - Jamie O'Brien

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