Haugaard and Høirup / Gæstebud (Feast)
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cd cover Haugaard & Høirup
Gæstebud (Feast)
GO Danish Folk Music (gofolk.dk)

Harald Haugaard and Morten Alfred Høirup had never even met before they were matched up to represent Denmark in a pan-European music competition about 7 years ago. Instantly, a symbiotic relationship between Haugaard's explosive fiddling and Høirup's lyrically driving guitar was forged. Their 5th CD may be one of the best fiddle/guitar sessions ever recorded.

The only comparison I can make to Haugaard & Høirup is the magic duo work of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, keystones of Irish folk music. Like Hayes and Cahill, Haugaard and Høirup start and finish each others phrases, twisting the voices of their separate instruments into a cyclone of harmonic energy. A live Haugaard and Høirup set leaves audiences with toes tapping, hands clapping, and hearts begging for more.

With their infectious humor, the duo has toured the world in a personal quest to make friends for traditional Danish folk music. Along the route, many friendships with musicians from other countries have grown strong. So, when planning for their fifth CD, they acted on a dream - to invite musician friends from other traditions to play Danish music with them. It didn't matter that the guests invited to this feast weren't familiar with any of the Danish tunes, neither are most Danes. The CD booklet describes how they wanted to let Danes know that the finest musicians in other lands find this music interesting.

The title track is original tune by Høirup, arranged with guest musicians from the Quebecois group Le Vent du Nord. Benoit Bourque on feet, vocals, and one-row diatonic accordion, Simon Beaudry on guitar and Olivier Demers on fiddle add a Quebecois echo to the H&H sound. The fun continues by adding more: hurdy gurdy and vocals by Nicolas Boulerice, and bass by Finn Tapani Varis make it an infectious happy tune.

Another collaboration is with the Danish Klezmer singer Channe Nussbaum. The song about a young woman who is yearning to marry, despite her mother's advice that men are not all so kind, is a haunting melody that will stick with the listener for a long time after.

Other guest performances include Eileen Ivers and Bryan Doyle (Irish fiddle and guitar, NYC), Alstair Fraser & Helen Davies (Celtic fiddle and harp, Scotland), Sofia Karlsson (singer, Sweden), Tapani Varis (bass, Finland), Karen Tweed (accordion, UK), Ruthie Dornfeld (fiddle, USA), Hans Jorgen Christensen (fiddle, Denmark), Carl Erik Lundgaard (two-row accordion, Denmark), and Ale Møller (mandola, Sweden).

The recording sessions were kept as close to a spontaneous jam as possible. Haugaard & Høirup created the arrangements, faxed and e-mailed them to their guests ahead of time, but the resulting music was a mutual surprise, born and finished live in the studio.

This CD is a showcase for a lot of fine talent that deserves a wider label than folk music. Jazzy, funny, cheerful, and brilliant, Gæstebud could be the soundtrack for a lot of gatherings of freinds and families around the world. With a 15-page booklet that acts as a tour guide to this international event, this gem of a CD will certainly make even more friends for Haugaard & Høirup - their next recording session might have to be a 2-disc production. - Patrice George

Artists' web site: www.hhduo.dk

CD available from cdRoots

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