Ellika & Solo / Tretakt Takissaba
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Ellika & Solo
Tretakt Takissaba


cd cover At first blush, this would seem like the ultimate gratuitous, mashing-cultures-together conceit - Swedish fiddle and Senegalese kora. Fortunately, Ellika Frisell and Solo Cissokho are musicians of taste and restraint. They've been making music with one another since 1998, when they were encouraged to jam together at a poetry night in a Stockholm club. Though their cultures and musical traditions couldn't be more different, they manage to find a quite respectable common ground. The glitter of the kora plays nicely off of the playful twists of phrase and frisky ornaments of the fiddle. Each track starts with the two circling each other like dancers each doing her/his own steps, then coming together in the middle of the floor to create something lively and new. On some tracks they get a little drifty and it's obvious that they're winging it, but it never veers off into the self-indulgent.

Neither musician ever loses track of where the other is. The titles give lip service to European folk dances such as schottisches, polskas, and waltzes, and they may start out sounding like those styles, but before long the kora and Solo's warm voice take them off into a new direction. Most of the titles convey the dual nature of these pieces - e.g. "Schottische after Per Myhr/Nouria," The Bingsjö-Polska/Dounia," - but these are not technically medleys in the traditional sense. Rather, they are explorations into the possibilities that this unusual pairing opens up. It's all an experiment, but sometimes, experiments yield surprisingly good results. - Peggy Latkovich

Audio (p)(c)2002 and used courtesy of MNW/Xource Records, Sweden

Available at cdRoots

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