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World Music CD Reviews Europe

HARV

By PAUL-ÉMILE COMEAU
Published April 7, 2006

Töst!
NorthSide

GJALLARHORN
Grimborg
NorthSide

Harv consists of two young Swedish fiddlers, one of them also a member of Hedningarna. But on Töst (their second album), a guitarist and percussionist support, as do guest musicians such as Ale Möller. The repertoire is mostly original compositions, with a few traditional tunes in the mix. Although the title is regional dialect for “quiet” or “hush,” such description hardly describes the group’s gritty sound. Rather, the musicians play the Hardanger fiddle and the moraharpa (a medieval precursor to the nyckelharpa) with impressive gusto. On their third CD, Gjallarhorn (pronounced Yal-lair-horn) continues its exploration of old Swedish music from Finland, many songs steeped in Nordic mythology. Instrumentation draws parallels to Harv with the addition of vocals by fiddler Jenny Wilhelms, another member playing didgeridoo and jews harp, which gives the group a more eclectic and worldly sound. A few of the tracks, such as “Kulning-Cow Calling,” are downright eerie. Both albums will be appreciated by Swedish folk fans.