Kerstin Blodig - Trollsang
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Kerstin Blodig
Westpark (

cd cover German singer/guitarist Blodig has steeped herself in Scandinavian culture and folklore, translating that immersion into a collection of mystical songs based on Norse myth. She has a haunted soprano voice that works well in the context of the music. The songs here are of the original and the trad/arr stripe. The arrangements are spare, usually consisting of just Blodig's flashy guitar accompaniment, with occasional touches of percussion, bass and fiddle. Her guitar style is busy, full of harmonics, percussive effects, and extended chords. While it's technically impressive, it was innovative about twenty years ago, when Michael Hedges was doing it. And here's the only drawback to the album - Blodig slides too easily into New Age cliché.
The songs are strong, the playing is proficient, the voice is lovely - it's just been done before. For example, on "Liti Kjersti og Elvekongjen," a variation of the Elf King ballad, she wants so badly to be the young Joni Mitchell with her ecstatic, hooty high notes. More successful is "Vänner och Fränder" where she allows herself to let go with some sexy, swoopy phrasing. It's a gutsy take on an otherwise lightweight medieval ballad. On "Huldrehalling," an original dance tune, she uses all of her guest musicians to good effect. Kristine Heebøll's fiddle has that rich, drony hardanger drive. Blodig is a gifted musician, and when she's being herself she's a delight to listen to. - Peggy Latkovich

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