Phønix combine folky Danish step dancing songs with a touch of world beat. In the end, it's their roots they know the best. Bagpipe, accordion and clarinet act as a drone behind the tunes led by the fiddle. The addition of congas and other odd percussion make the songs more interesting, but the playing is too subdued and careful to make much of a difference. Many of their attempts to blend Danish and other cultures became circular and built to nothing (like Gog og Gokke). However, Phønix can scour the Saxon out of the Anglo when playing dance tunes like Elle-Pelle M.F. These songs bounce as well as anything at a cieli. On this live album, they have no trouble rousing the crowd to their feet, cheering and pounding their boots. The same will be heard from any Celtic/Nordic/English folk fan listening to this who is looking for some Danish roots music served with a slight dash of spice.
Ostinat Expressen play dainty waltz times like "Glaeden Og Sorgen" (Joy and Sorrow) and "Vals Til En Prinsesse," polkas like "Ping-Pong Polka," clogging tunes like "To Firture," and some odd Danish meters like "Den Lasede" that would confound the best dancer. Flute, clarinet, fiddle and accordion lead each tune with the bass tracking the dance steps. The band is reserved and only move beyond their traditions when they are sure of the outcome. Each tune is memorable in itself, with the band kicking in licks from country, bluegrass, jazz and swing. Although after a while you may yearn for vocal coloring to spice it up, this album is sure to take you back home, as long as that home is near Copenhagen. - Brian Grosjean
Available at www.folkmusic.dk
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