Habadekuk - Kaffepunch

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GO' Danish Folk (www.gofolk.dk)

Denmark's Habadekuk are a very welcome addition to the current wave of 'big band'-style folk groups. Similar to the English band Bellowhead, the members of Habadekuk are drawn from numerous bands, projects, and solo endeavors. The wonderful fiddle player Kristian Bugge acts as a kind of master of ceremonies for the eight-member band. While the ensemble does take up the occasional song (“Gefion” is a comic tune about life on board a ship with a less-than-competent crew), the main emphasis for Habadekuk is on the tunes and the strong arrangements. As to what is kaffepunch, the Danish recipe calls for coffee, sugar, and schnapps: a marriage of caffeine and drunkenness, which aptly fits Habadekuk and this album.

The horn section – Rasmus Fribo (saxophone), Jacob Holdensen (trumpet), and Anders Ringgaard (trombone) – are incredibly tight. Live, the horns really swing and punch up the melody of the old Danish tunes. Theis Langelands' piano is also important to the band's success, because while Langelands can certainly swing and add noticeable salsa influences (“Den Ny Maskerade”), he manages to ground the high-flying band so that they seem to be whooping it up in your neighbor's living room. Further traditional touches are furnished by Peter Eget's accordion, and the solid rhythm section of Søren Lund (bass) and Rasmus Brylle (drums) guide Habadekuk through its thrilling repertoire. Polkas, hopsas, jigs, reels: Habadekuk take the old Danish tunes out for a new airing.

"Den Ny Maskerade "

“Otte Mands Dans” is a lovely highlight on Kaffepunch – an airy, slow tune, which gives way to a light minimalist beat by Brylle and Lund, clearing the way for a beautiful Holdensen trumpet solo buttressed by swirling accordion. It's a great example of how Habadekuk work together, so that no one instrument overwhelms the other, but each manages to stand out.

"Otte Mands Dans"

“Keraus” (origin: from Hans Christian Andersen's collection, 1826-1836), led by Bugge's fiddle, is but one of the band's party-oriented tunes which continuously builds on its sound, adding band members as the melody develops, and increasing its frenetic pace until the whole group stops on a dime.


Today's crop of larger folk bands seem to have hit upon a winning strategy: the sheer joy of playing together. Having seen Habadekuk live a couple of years ago at the Oysterbands' Big Session, I can attest to these guys having a ball on-stage; they're perfectly attuned to each other, grinning at each other's solos and the big noise being produced. That enthusiasm is present on Kaffepunch, and it is transmitted to dancers and casual listeners alike. - Lee Blackstone

Visit the band online: www.habadekuk.dk

The CD is available from cdRoots

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