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World Music CD Reviews Europe

BAZA BLAR

By Robert Kaye
Published September 9, 2005

Nysch
Xource

Calling its unique music "Transglobal Tripfolk," Bazar Bla is a highly capable trio of Swedish musicians. Featuring Johan Hedin on soprano and octave nyckelharpa, Bjorn Meyer on 6-string basses, and Fredrik Gille on various world percussion instruments, Bazar Bla's fourth album reflects the advancing acumen of this tightly interwoven ensemble. The liner notes call it "folkmusic." Yet don't think for a moment this is rustic or boorish. Bazar Bla's instrumental interplay is like a great jazz trio; its use of dynamics and textures --  particularly via Gille's percussion -- similar to symphonic scores. The album begins with the sprightly "Grannlaten." As on several tracks, Hedin and Meyer lockstep the melody, each sporadically cavorting away from the motif, adding variation and highlighting their respective musicianship. Meyer's 6-string acoustic bass, with its high F-string, often sounds like a sonorous acoustic guitar as he plays evocative chords and/or linear bass lines. Nordic music, like many European genres, has the uncanny ability to embrace joy and sadness arm-in-arm. Bazar Bla excels in this capacity, as it does in so many others.