Eponymous album from The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc(August 01, 2012)
On the face of it an album composed entirely of fiddle music may give some people a slight pause – and it’s undeniably true some will find the debut eponymous album from The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc just too much fiddle music. Well that’s their loss, because this album holds every facet of the fiddle you could hope to hear from lively and energetic to sad and mournful. Their journey takes their instruments to places that few imagine fiddles could travel from tradition to originality. The Nordic Fiddlers, who come from a spread of northern reaches are Olav Luksengård Mjelva (hardanger fiddle, octave fiddle) Anders Hall (fiddle, viola) and Kevin Henderson (fiddle).
Combining the traditions of their individual home lands with the collective wealth of each other’s heritage with tunes from Norway, Shetland and Sweden, they also add tunes from Scottish and American shores. This melange creates a fine blend of unadulterated fiddle music – there are reels, polkas, waltzes, laments and celebrations – it appears that all fiddle music is truly here. From the enigmatic and inspired ‘Un-named Shetland Reel’ through the haunting echoes of the long-travelled ‘Da Greenland Man’s Tune’ and the edgy encouragement of the once-disapproved-of 'plattgympa' dance turned into ‘Maria’s 27th Birthday Plattgympa’ to the luxurious delicacy of ‘Waltz after Lasse in Lyby’ this album expands the know fiddle universe.
There's a breadth and depth of music here that's well worth exploring. It's also music that you will enjoy for its enthusiasm, complexity and scope. Any fair review should state it’s still fiddle music however well-dressed and well-travelled, then again it’s also true to say that this is an album you should add to your collection.
Reviewer: Dan Holland