Fotefar & Håvard Lund -Fest
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Fotefar & Håvard Lund
Fest
Kirkelig Kulturverksted (www.kkv.no)

These Swedes take a skewed view of their native traditional music. They do loopy things with the rhythms, crash sonorities up against one another, and splatter timbres up against a wall with Pollock-esque abandon. They'll pull you into a tune thinking it's going to be all traditional and sedate, then they'll twist the harmony up into something unrecognizable. Lena Jinnegren's matter-of-fact vocals have an off-handed air about them that says, "Join this party or don't. We're going to keep playing either way." The medley "Dronningen/Livet är likson en fest" starts with a mild-mannered waltz with clinking and laughing party sounds in the background. Then Jinnegren clears her throat and leads everyone in a big singalong that makes you wish you know more of the language so you could join the fun.

There are a couple of tiny a cappella interludes between numbers that are in and out in less than half a minute. They do a sweet acoustic guitar driven rendition of Bach's "Wachet auf" which takes an unexpected turn into minor-key, off-beat rhythm territory. Håvard Lund's bass clarinet adds a wry combination of gravitas and droll humor to several numbers. The stirring "Herregud ditt dyre navn ære" has a dark melodic line that hints at Dowland's "Flow my Tears," played over a dire scratchy guitar tremolo. They finish up the party with Lund's "Ad undas," a humorous little number for squawky harmonica, jaunty bass clarinet, and theremin-y violin that sounds like it's straight out of a 1920's cartoon soundtrack. It's this blend of the sublime and the irreverent that makes Fest such a surprising and enjoyable listen. - Peggy Latkovich

CD available from cdRoots

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"Lille Jon"

 

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