Live at the Nordic Roots Festival

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Live at the Nordic Roots Festival Review

by Chris Nickson

Väsen has developed into possibly the most delightful and accomplished acoustic group to emerge from Sweden. Since they became a quartet with the addition of magical percussionist André Ferrari, they've progressed by leaps and bounds, able, it seems, to play anything with a touch of brilliance. But their concerts have long been a thing apart, imbued with heavy touches of humor to go with the virtuosity, and that's captured here. In guitarist Roger Tallroth, who keeps very much in the background, they have one of the stalwarts of Nordic music, while nyckelharpa player Olov Johansson has proved to be a leading light of his instrument, with an ideal foil in violist Mikael Marin. Whether exploring the possibilities of a jazz-folk fusion on "Shapons Vindaloo" or sharing the stage with artists like Harv ("Polska After Mats Berglund/Sold or Sale") or Norwegian Annbjørg Lien ("The Phantom"), there's a marvelous sparkle to every phrase and note, and always a sense that the music could go anywhere -- which it frequently does. It's not just folk music anymore.

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