Flode - Bjorn Stabi and Per Gudmundsson
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Björn Ståbi and Per Gudmundsson
Giga (www.giga.w.se)

cd cover Two of Sweden's elite fiddlers, Per Gudmundsson of Frifot and fiddling icon Björn Ståbi, join forces on this new release. The vast majority of the tunes are from the province of Dalarna, the part of Sweden where Ståbi has his roots and Gudmundsson lives. Typical of the music from this region are the richly ornamented polska-type tunes, often in minor keys.

The tunes are also special in their use of microtones, assymmetrical three-beat rhythms and intricate rhythm patterns. These factors would seem to discourage interplay, but these two fiddlers collaborate in a way that can best be described with the Swedish word flöde (flow). Per and Björn first met in the 1970's and have cooperated numerous times since. The dynamics and closeness stem from these many years of playing together. Even on the most complicated polskas they follow each other smoothly; it is never forced or contrived. The texture is simple on most tracks: one plays the melody and the other the harmony. These are often played on the lower strings, adding a deeper dimension to the tunes.

Each fiddler is also featured in solos. Here one can more clearly sense Gudmundsson's intense and embellished style in contrast to Ståbi's more delicate tone. Björn Ståbi chose as one of his three solos an Orsa-version of the famous "Hårgalåten." This has a playfulness and intensity that the over-exploited original lacks. Gudmundsson's second solo, "Polska efter Höök Olle," is one of the strongest cuts on the album, with its many bluenotes and quirky rhythms.

Flöde is best summed up by Per Gudmundsson himself. In the booklet he says: "It's about lightness and flow." It is, indeed. - Staffan Jonsson

CD available from cdRoots

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