Pettersson & Fredriksson Virek
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Pettersson & Fredriksson
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cd cover Virek is the second CD released by the Swedish duo Petterson & Fredriksson. Daniel Pettersson plays nyckelharpa and kontrabasharpa (an older type of nyckelharpa), while Daniel Fredriksson plays both the mandola and the låtluta, a 10-stringed lute. Three of Virek's ten tracks are traditional, and the other ones are original compositions. Their ambition is not to create pastisches of the melodies from their home-province of Västerbotten, but rather to write personal tunes such as "Stället" and "Juli," both original and beautiful melodies with arrangements that do them justice.

As a rule, the nyckelharpa carries the melody and the mandola orbits around it in various ways. The two Daniels are both technically skilful, but they have very different playing styles. Pettersson is more laid back and airy, while Fredriksson is the more energetic and agressive. It is easy to hear that the latter has his roots in rock. He uses drones and riffs more than any other mandola player in Sweden. On the strong opening track "Häxan" this gives the tune a dark, threatening mood. When he uses the same style on the slower, more delicate tunes, it doesn't work as well, as the nyckelharpa becomes choked behind the massive, intense mandola sound. "Stjärnan" is overdone; to accompany such a simple melody Fredriksson uses arpeggios and riffs that would have made better use in the metal world. However, more often than not the two instruments are more even in terms of intensity and style.

All this variation in the interplay between Daniel Pettersson and Daniel Fredriksson can be exciting, but this also makes the album quite demanding. Listening to Virek is an intense experience. - Staffan Jonsson

CD available from cdRoots

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