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Caprice, Sweden

cd cover This vocal, fiddle and accordion trio from Sweden, showcased recently in Rotterdam at WOMEX, captivated an audience of easily bored world-music industry types with an unassuming artistry, self-deprecating humor, and deeply affecting performance style. All with extensive experience in Sweden and overseas, the trio join for the first time on this recording, with stately effect. Ethereal soprano Gunnel Mauritzson, no slouch on tin whistle and spoons either, also teaches folk singing at Stockholm's Royal College of Music. A native of Gotland, Mauritzson projects a remarkable stage presence, a master of traditional choral, folk, jazz and (of all things) Balkan styles.

"Ack, Ack..."
(MP3 excerpt)
Björn Ståbi, heir to a musical family and a veteran fiddler and singer, plays with a nuanced subtlety and intuitive feel for the instrument's unique qualities. Ståbi's career has bridged medieval, folk and rock styles; he is also an accomplished visual artist. Bengan Janson, who ranks among Sweden's foremost traditional accordionists (while a much-sought-after studio musician), also sings backing vocals. He and Ståbi have worked together for a decade, as their close instrumental articulation shows. Janson's light keyboard touch enhances the soloist without ever overpowering her voice, and leaves ample acoustic space for the higher registers of the fiddle. Mauritzson contributes several arrangements of Swedish oral sources in a variety of folk-music settings, as in "Ack, Ack Om Det Vore Drag" (she calls it a "Yiddish schottische"), and the soul-piercing melodic sweep of "Naudljaus," a Swedish-Irish synthesis. Nara presents Swedish roots at their most sublime. - Michael Stone

Available at cdRoots

Audio (c)(p)2001 Caprice, Sweden

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