As a charter member of the noted Swedish group Swap, Karen Tweed has been applying her British-forged piano accordion to ancient and new-fangled music for several years. In 1998, while booked into a small Danish festival, she met the Finnish keyboard master Timo Alakotila of JPP, Troka, and Aldargaz fame. After jamming with him and other musicians who were in town at the time, a seed was sown. Up until now, Tweed has resisted recording anything resembling a solo album, preferring to devote her energies exclusively to the group dynamic. But the idea of a series of duets with Alakotila proved too tempting so the two of them decided to hunker down in the studio with some invited collaborators. The result is a deceptively simple, cooly charming set of acoustic instrumentals. The influences range from polyrhythmic Swedish polskas to dance tunes from the British Isles, Ireland, and Scotland. While all of the selections are transformed to a degree by the lead players' styles and backgrounds, it is also interesting to note how well Celtic and Scandinavian traditions play off one another in such a spare, modern setting. While Nordic music tends to be darker and a bit more subtle in its attack, these traditions have been closely interrelated ever since the Vikings established themselves at Dublin and other ports of call along the Irish coast. The tracks share a wistful, reflective delicacy, and if squeezeboxes, 12-string guitar, fiddle, viola, cello, piano, plus a flugelhorn, seem like an odd mixture of sonic textures, for some reason it works like a charm here.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Christina Roden