Valramm / Valramn

Lure

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This quartet of multi-instrumentalists spice up their repertoire of traditionals and a few originals by adding sounds very untraditional to their native Sweden: the bouzouki, the viola d'amore, and the hurdy-gurdy, to name but three. The effect is a bit like Hedningarna, but without the amplification, studio effects, or vocals. Some of the songs, like "Solleröpolskan" are a tad dull in their rumination, but tunes like "Blekingepolskan" compensate for it with their creepy grandeur. The boys aren't afraid to experiment either: "Hallinghålet" consists of an improvised willow flute backed by just a bass. It could have been a disaster, but it is very engaging.

Although Valramn is not the most distinctive of the current crop of Scandi-folk bands, they are inventive and entertaining, and they do avoid the twin traps of attempting to graft too much rock or jazz onto their traditional-music base. It's worth a listen if you're a fan of this kind of music.