Zenobia I Vintermørkets Hal
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Zenobia
I Vintermørkets Hal
GO' Danish Folk Music (www.gofolk.dk)

The second release from Zenobia, the classically-trained Danish trio, is all about winter. This season in the Nordic countries can be extreme, and these songs celebrate winter with all of its darkness and cold, its grey skies and snow, as well as the holidays and other gatherings that bring families and friends together this time of year.

The trio really shows their growth over the last couple of years with the arrangements on this record. All the arrangements showcase Zenobia's musicality and good taste with songs that could easily sound trite or kitschy in the wrong hands. There is plenty of their signature sound of voice, piano, and accordion, and as on their previous outing they arrange music so the piano and accordion do not interfere with each other. Other pieces are expanded with bass, harmony vocals, and a string quartet. There is also really nice use of electronic trumpet, an unexpected but fitting choice.

It's impressive how Zenobia mines the song tradition of Denmark. Most of these songs come from Danish composers of the 19th and 20th Centuries, and the choices all work well for this ensemble. There are also two originals from accordionist Mette Katherine Jensen. "Julepolonaise," (listen) a waltz for Christmas, unfolds nicely starting with solo accordion and adding harmonica and piano on subsequent choruses. Jensen also wrote the music for the title track which translates "In The Halls of Winter Darkness." (listen)

As I listened to this record and wrote this review on a cold December morning, I looked out my window at snow on the ground, the trees that had dropped their leaves, the thin layer of frost covering everything. The music mingled with sounds of a winter wind blowing outside and family gathered inside. This music feels like winter, reflecting not only the dark and cold, but also the ways we come together to warm ourselves during these snowy days. - Greg Harness

CD available from cdRoots

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cd cover

Listen
"Så Tænder Vi Et Lys I Kvæld"

 

CD available from cdRoots

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