{moss} by Trolska Polska

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Trolska Polska
GO' Danish Folk Music (www.gofolk.dk)

"Nyføding" (full song)

"Trolls, giants, gnomes, and pixies… Through legend and folklore these mysterious creatures have always been present in Scandinavian culture. Whether we believe in them or not, they exist somewhere in our Nordic conscious." Those words come from the liner notes of the new album from Trolska Polska. According to the band, {moss} pays tribute to trolls, so much so that the band defines their musical genre as Nordic TrollFolk.

I must admit my own ambivalence concerning instrumental music that is supposed to have a specific meaning. Part of me wants to follow the composer's guidance and conjure up those particular images, or at least to begin listening with my thoughts in that particular starting place. Another part of me wants to let the music speak directly to me and my experience in ways that only music can, ways which are completely different than those in which words or images are communicated and absorbed. More about this topic in a moment.

Trolska Polska, an ensemble of seven musicians from Denmark and Sweden, is led by Martin Seeberg, a veteran of a number of Danish folk bands including Instinkt and Valravn. Seeberg composed all the tunes on this record, and plays violin and viola. These tunes sound like traditional Nordic tunes to my ears, and I'm deeply in favor of that style of composition.

"Sinkadusen" (excerpt)

“Sinkadusen” is a rollicking tune with a nice bouncy feel. The flute carries the melody throughout, joined now and again by various combination of strings. The fall-apart ending is quite amusing. “Rumpenisserne” is a great dance tune led by the fiddles with a sing-along chorus of “hey-de-la-ley,” ending in a Danish version of “Yeeeeeee-haw!”

“Nyføding” is my favorite tune on this record. It's a quieter, slower, more somber piece featuring another flute-led melody with nice percussive pizzicato effects from the strings. When the cello takes over the melody, the feeling changes to a darker but no less effective mood. I couldn't help but find myself swaying to the soft breeze of this tune.

"Rumpenisserne" (excerpt)

I tried to think about trolls and giants and gnomes and pixies, but those are not the visuals that danced across my brain. My mind showed me glimpses of forests and horse-drawn wagons and campfires, but no mysterious creatures. I don't count that as a fault, but rather credit this effect to the expansiveness of these tunes that lets each of us hear them in our own situations and places and times.

Regardless of whether you experience trollfolk as you listen to this record, Trolska Polska's {moss} is an enjoyable and rewarding set of new Nordic folk music. - Greg Harness

Find the band online: www.trolskapolska.dk

Hear a live performance by the band from 2014

Buy the CD at cdRoots

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