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World Music CD Reviews Europe

KERSTIN BLODIG & IAN MELROSE

By ALLISON M. BROCK
Published April 19, 2006

Kelpie
Alula

Kerstin Blodig and Ian Melrose seem an unlikely duo for recording music together. On Kelpie (named after a spirit in Scottish mythology), they combine their Scandinavian and Scottish roots. Blodig provides most of the vocals, in Norwegian and English, while Melrose backs on guitar, also playing low whistle on instrumentals. The singing is truly beautiful, although Blodig sometimes over-dramatizes. Also overdone is the mixing, turning some tracks unnecessarily ethereal. Even so, most is enjoyable, like “Halling Fra Elverum,” a traditional Norwegian dance tune slowed, with Melrose picking the catchy melody on guitar—the sultry guitar riffs could easily be mistaken as part Spanish.  Joining at the end is Blodig, who matches Melrose’s playing with her own lilting.  “Guten Og Mann/Fillefant Ril” is a cheerful dance tune, with a reel behind it as a counterpoint melody. It’s the most Celtic-sounding track here, on which Blodig plays bodhrán and lilts, while Melrose takes off on whistle. There’s also the unexpected: a jazzy tune inspired by Dizzy Gillespie called “Paddy Goes To Tunisia,” as well as a Jethro Tull cover. The concept behind Kelpie may seem unusual, but the multi-talented pair manages a unique and pleasant sound.