cd cover Frifot is composed of singer and fiddler Lena Willemark, multi-instrumentalist Ale Möller and fiddler (and occasional bagpiper) Per Gudmundson. The music is mostly traditional or traditional-sounding original compositions performed with a minimum of artifice. The arrangements are often spare and there seems to be little if any overdubbing. Fiddles and flutes carry most of the melodies, and then there's Lena Willemark's remarkable voice. She is capable of a wide range of
vocal expression, from tenderly (though not sweetly) caressing a ballad to banshee wails. The descriptions of the songs suggest that the subject matter is fairly mundane, except for the one about the virgin and the magical sleeping runes ("Skur Leja"). I was a little concerned that the ECM sound would remove some of the immediacy of this music, but it hasn't; the production is understated, with not too much "fjord echo." On the whole, this CD is more low-key than their previous releases, but the music is at an equally high level. - Joe Grossman

"Forgaves (In Vain)" and "Vindlaren (Winding Tune)" combine the best of this trio's attributes, with a passionate vocal from Willemark accompanied by Möller's unique mandola style that brings middle eastern and Mediterranean to their Nordic sound. The duel fiddling by Willemark and Gudmunson is raw and powerful and builds to visceral scream. - CF

"Forgaves" (traditional, arr Möller/Willemark)
"Vindlaren" (Ale Möller)
© 1999 ECM, used by express permission of the composers and ECM

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