Three Swedish Fiddlers

Three Swedish Fiddlers

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If the guitar is the national instrument of Spain, and the bagpipes are the national instrument of Scotland, the national instrument of Sweden is surely the fiddle. This disc presents three fiddlers who play in the folk idiom of the province of Dalarna, accompanied by nothing more than the occasional foot stomp. Having multiple fiddlers keeps the sound from being as shrill or scratchy as that of a solo fiddler, but the playing is basically unison, with one or another fiddler ducking out now and then for a bit of dark ornament, implied bass, or quasi-drone. Although the tunes have the usual gothic quality characteristic of Scandinavian music, the beats are from dances and are generally cheerful.

The tunes are a mixture of originals and reworkings of classics. Some are almost orchestral in their massed power and trills ("Polska From Ore"), while others are decorously romantic ("Waltz From Transtrand") or jaunty and more polyphonic ("Polska From Bingsjö"). If you already know some Scandinavian music (like JPP), it's fascinating to see similar things in a more schematic form.

This album occupies a kind of middle ground. It's entertaining and accessible in its own right, but probably not a good place for beginners. If you're already into American folk fiddling or Scandi-folk acts like Väsen, dive right in.

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