Nordic Music on A Midwinters Day

Yes, I know that we have done an entire issue on Nordic music which gives you a smorgasbord of listening possibilities, but this is my personal listing of the Nordic music I like to play in the Library while working on a winter’s day when nothing is more pleasant than to be warm and watch the snow fall while good music plays.

Once upon a time there was a company called Northside that released more Nordic music of the neo-traditional kind than bears thinking about. Naturally they released samplers of this music, three called Nordic Roots. As the reviewer noted ‘There’s a pleasing dissonance in Nordic traditions, often a restraint that hints of something without ever going there, that’s found much more in Nordic music than is often the case with music from the Irish and Celtic traditions.’

My all-time favorite band? Frifot for the superb mix of vocals and instruments done in a somewhat more restrained manner than many of the other groups found on the Nordic Roots samplers. Read this review to see why!

Fiddler Jack Merry introduced me to this tasty recording: ‘Ahhh, Nordic traditional music. What better to listen to on a cold, snowy day when a good book beckons and there’s no place one has to be? Hambo in the Snow certainly has now made our list of Nordic music for a winter’s day. And I must say that Garrison Keillor has good taste in music! Hambo in the Snow is from a trio of Minnesota Nordic musicians’. Truly lovely music indeed!

Alban Faust is a German musician and instrument maker who relocated to western Sweden about a decade back. This music is a bit unusual for Nordic music as it has both drones, Swedish bagpipes, and Hursy hurries. Quite tasty, well-worth hearing!

A Swedish group, Gallarhorn, has a lovely quirky feel to their stringed instruments that reminds me of winter weather made musical, as exemplified in their Grimborg recording. As the reviewer says ‘It was difficult not to rave about a mix of songs that was accessible yet seemed to provide a glimpse of a far older era, a time when the forces of nature were intimately and personally connected to the human world. Vocalist Jenny Willhelms summoned these forces with her voice, while her whole persona emanated the qualities of some reborn Scandinavian deity, at once both inviting and forbidding.’

Not subtle in any manner whatsoever, Swedish sextet Hoven Groven is one I put on when I need to be woken up. And it works. I’m particularly fond of their recording with vocalist Wimme, a Sammi artist. Very primal!

Finally is one from Garmarna vocalist Emma Härdelin which our reviewer says ‘is a Goddess. Really. Truly.’ Triakel’s Sånger från 63º N recording features her as vocalist in her latest endeavor, as Garmarna is apparently defunct.

Now I’m off to the Kitchen to see there are any of those open-faced homemade pickled herring and onion sandwiches left.

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