Various Artists

Nordic Roots, Vol. 3

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Vol. 3 of the Nordic Roots series, highlighting releases from the Northside label, remains, as they say, "cheaper than food," and though you might not be able to make a sandwich out of it, it's certainly tasty. There's a good pick of tracks from the label's releases; together, these tracks give an idea of both the similarities and diversities of Nordic music. It might seem like a jump from the neo-electronics of Gjallarhorn's "Suvetar, Goddess of Spring" to Harv's acoustic "The Lever," but there's a feeling that draws them close together. Apart from the catalog tracks making an excellent introduction to the genre, the pleasant surprise comes from the bonus -- four live cuts from the label's Nordic Roots Festival, held each April in Minneapolis. The wonderful Väsen (with Harv), Swap, Ranarim, and Hedningarna get to strut their stuff in live performance, and show that none of them are instrumental slouches. Much of the music here is instrumental, but it's none the worse for that, and throws the singers into high relief, such as Värttinä and their incredible high harmonies, or the golden throat of Garmarna's Emma Härdelin. The whole package shows what a niche Northside has created, and that Nordic music continues to hold a real gold mine of riches.

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