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World Music CD Reviews Celtic & Irish

FRIGG

By Marty Lipp
Published June 27, 2006

Oasis
NSD

As traditional-music audiences have loosened up and are ready to accept some blurring of genre lines, young bands like Frigg have been liberated to explore roots music from cultures other than their own. In Frigg’s case, that means the band may leaven its usual Scandinavian polskas and schottisches with alt-country or even Celtic via Quebec. The group’s multi-fiddle sound is reminiscent of the more-established JPP (to whom several players are related), though a bit lighter and more eclectic. The album starts off with a few traditional Nordic numbers done in Frigg’s elegant but earthy style; innovative arrangements will keep listeners’ interest from flagging. The title track is a slow, stately tune whose sound is broadened with the addition of an orchestra. The thick aural landscape “Mäenpään Heikin Valssi,” augmented with Estonian bagpipe, is reminiscent of Sweden’s Hedningarna. The skittering “Fantonem” is a frenetic Swedish polska that’s a kissing cousin to bluegrass, while the album ends with a bittersweet march often played to mourn the passing of veteran folk musicians. Frigg’s respect for tradition is palpable even when willfully breaking from it.