Annbjørg Lien

Felefeber (Norwegian Fiddle Fantasia)

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The first album that Annbjorg Lien released after her attention-getting appearance on The Sweet Sunny North is a virtuoso performance from start to finish. Norwegian fiddling is less fast and flashy than Celtic or Appalachian styles, concentrating on delicate nunaces of tone rather than lightning-fast runs, and Annbjorg pulled out a set of beautiful and meditative pieces for this release. Her original compositions are arrestingly lovely, with the sleepy sounding title track sounding a bit like a Scottish lament played by a playful and creative pair of musicians. Elsewhere she plays solemn traditional hymns and sprightly folk tunes with vaguely Eastern European sounding time changes. The standout track is "The Plucked Halling," a musical tribute to a virtuoso fiddler who was renowned for his mastery of technically challenging tunes. This track quite appropriately strings together over a dozen different melodies in quick succession, and does it with a stately grace that is amazing to hear. Felefeber was a splendid breakout album, and a perfectly balanced and expertly played work that arrived just when it would be most noticed.

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