Mats Eden and Tina Quartey - Vagen in
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Mats Edén & Tina Quartey
Vägen in
Amigo Musik (

cd cover Mats Edén and Tina Quartey are among the most well-known folk musicians in Sweden. They were important figures in the Swedish folk music scene in the 1980's, playing with the groundbreaking bands Groupa and Filarfolket. These musicians have worked together for almost 20 years, but this is their first recording as a duo.

While many other folk-drummers in Sweden use a multitude of cymbals, toms and other percussion to make their playing interesting, Quartey sticks to a sparse kit. On many tracks, her only instrument is the Brazilian berimbau. It blends excellently with Edén's ringing viola d'amore as it produces both distinct rhythms and resounding, somewhat nasal tones.

Vägen in (The Way In) begins with the long, meditative "Lullaby Suite," one of several Edén compositions. It functions somewhat like an overture as it presents moods and rhythms that are to be found on many of the other 14 tracks. There are, to put it simply, two different sides to this album. On one side we have quiet and often improvised pieces such as "Is/Ice" and "Vägen in." On the other side there are the loud, high-energy and strongly metric pieces. The latter are the most fun. There are a handful of brisk Norwegian tunes where the high tempo allows Quartey to play rhythms that are either inspired or taken directly from Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music. The result is a beautiful mosaic, full of small details and nuances that sound unrehearsed.

Quartey's clarity and her deep knowledge of Scandinavian folk music gives space and support to Edén. He says, "Playing together with Tina is like gliding in a musical sailplane." The Norwegian "Trumpen hass Trond" is euphoria in fast, divided triplets. It sounds heavy and saggy when played by many other fiddlers, but here we can really sense what Edén means with his sailplane. The interplay is free of resistance.

The instruments are used with lots of creativity, and the arrangements are often innovative. This is perhaps no surprise, considering the lack of fiddle and drum duos preceding them. Vägen in is a bewitching album of personal and daring character. - Staffan Jonsson

CD available from cdRoots

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