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World Music CD Reviews Europe

GRANNAR

By Marty Lipp
Published October 13, 2005

Glädjepojkar
Evolving Tradition

While the Scandinavian neo-trad scene has created many hybrids and cross-pollinations, it has also allowed musicians to revive and preserve music of specific regions. The trio Grannar highlights the traditional music of southern Sweden—not too surprisingly, it is where the university-trained musicians are from. While the lineup of fiddle, bass and sax is not traditional, they play music that evokes the gentler sounds of pre-industrialized Europe. While the songs have the steady pulse of folk dance music, their dynamic is more stately than the required beats-per-minute on today’s dancefloors. While listening, one can easily imagine a room of Swedish couples gliding across a wooden floor to the polskas and other Swedish folk rhythms. In keeping with their respectful but not slavish approach to traditional music, the trio also includes several original compositions that slide easily into the dance card. While Grannar’s sophisticated approach to folk music doesn’t electrify it, neither does it over-intellectualize it or suck the juice out. Here’s music that is lovely and engaging, suitable for those know how can dance to a polska beat, and those who just want to sit back and soak it in.