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Fri Flyt
Flyr fritt
Etnisk Musikklubb (Norway)

cd cover Fri Flyt hails from Norway, but take their inspiration from Norway and lots of other locales in Europe. They're funny and wild and can play in and with folk music, including those asymmetrical rhythms from the Balkans and Turkey. Earthy and folky, this Fri Flyt makes its approach with warmth and solid musicality, combining different musical traditions in unlikely ways, but the results seem as homey as if there really wasn't any combinatorics going on.

"Svarteper i Sandviken"
The first song "Hodjas reise," (which translates into English as "Hodja's journey," Hodja being a mythical Turkish trickster, about whom many entertaining stories can be found on the web) is a reworking of the main melody of the general Arabic 'Ah Ja Zeyn' into a Bulgarian/Macedonian structure. A wild clarinet fronts this party from the beginning, then comes a totally normal shift in tonality for a instrumental solo, normally for a violin or woodwind, but here the tonality shift sets up .... a joik solo by Ingor Ántte Áilu Gaup, whose voice is quite amazing and definitely in Wimme's league. (Joiking is a characteristic vocal style of the Sami people - Ingor's version of which can drop as low as the lowest Tuvan throat singer, though without the overtones.) This first tune is a great one to do the cocek to!

The CD has an amazing amount of variety, in traditions expressed and borrowed from, as well as style and mood: there are some straightforward joiks on the CD, a couple of Greek pieces, some Scandinavian tunes (a march and a pols), and a doina-esque arhythmic Bulgarian song and several originals.

Although the notes provide a different explanation, "Fri flyt" (literally, "free flow") sounds a lot like the name of the lively accordionist, Gabriel Fliflet. His wet full sound and technique is more reminiscient of musette and Western Europe, though he gets in some Greek-sounding licks, too. Fliflet's originals take full advantage of Balkan rhythms, being counted mostly in 7 and 9; the band seems very comfortable with them, and they are quite lovely tunes, some with humorous interludes. The clarinetist/bassoonist Peter Bastian lays down some gutsy Oriental-style sounds, though he can provide more mellow fare as well. Flexible fiddler Oluf Røe helps round out the sound and sings Greek on several tracks (though singing is present all over this CD, only Oluf and Ingor on track 11 seem to involve words). Olav Tveitane provides a competent fat bass alternating with sensitive acoustic guitar work. And drummer Ole Hamre provides enthusiastic, infectious and sometimes unconventional work. Several of the performers are outstanding soloists (and there is other work available - for example, the accordionist and drummer's CD "Ivar Aasen Goes Bulgarian," that I would just love to hear). But it is the combination and juxtaposition of these efforts that really works here.

Fusion experiments often suffer from birthing pains, but not here. Here we have a CD that seems not to come from an idea or an attempt to attract attention by being different - it seems to represent a group of musicians with different backgrounds and experiences who are having fun and simply making music together within and through all of the different styles that they enjoy. I would have wished for more of the great dance tunes, but they pass my litmus test with flying colors: To the question "When the CD is over, do you wish there was much, much more?" the answer for me is an emphatic yes. - Don Weeda

Audio: "Svarteper i Sandviken"
(p)(c)2001 Etnisk Musikklubb, Norway, used by permission

Available at cdRoots

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