Forr sa har jag dansat - Bosse Larsson and Ole Hjorth
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Bosse Larsson and Ole Hjorth
Förr så har jag dansat
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cd cover Fiddlers Bosse Larsson (b. 1941) and Ole Hjorth (b. 1930) are two important tradition-bearers of folk music from Sweden. This CD contains 34 tracks; ten are solos, the rest duets. The playing is in keeping with the traditions of northern Uppland and Bingsjö. Larsson and Hjorth are knowledgeable fiddlers and they play both dialects with ease.

Most tunes are after or by Viksta Lasse Larsson (1897-1983), a legendary Uppland fiddler with whom they both studied. The title of the album, "Once I used to dance," tells us that these fiddlers belong to the older generation and that is reflected in the music in many ways. It is sparsely arranged; one melody and one harmony. Förr så har jag dansat certainly sounds charming, due to the nature of the tunes and the character of the fiddling. A majority of these tunes are in major keys and the playing is exuberant and driving, though after hearing the first few tunes we know what not to expect from the album, namely surprises.

Hjorth's style of accompanying Larsson's melodies is to a great extent built upon chordal arpeggios as opposed to the more common parallel close harmony. A good second adds depth and contrast to the melody in a way that these harmonies don't. Some of the solos do stand out. Hjorth plays "Näckpolska," a thrilling tune played on 'troll tuning' (A-E-A-C#). Larsson's most interesting solos are "Lilla Hin" and "Variant på Frisells storpolska," a captivating Viksta Lasse version of the famous Dalarna tune.

Although they have been playing together for more than thirty years, they sometimes seem constrained in their interplay. The faster tunes in particular lose clarity and dynamics. In the faster passages the bow strokes are a little muddled, and the playing could be more clean. If one doesn't need perfection or fancy arrangements in the tunes, preferring the authentic sound of the oldtimers, this is a good pick. - Staffan Jonsson

CD available from cdRoots

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