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FRIGG - Polka V

FRIGG - Polka V
Private Label FRIGG00009

This is Blazing Fiddles on steroids! If you like that style of multiple fiddles with interesting and different backings you should look out for Frigg.

From the opening bar of this recording, the listener is immediately engaged, in fact, the first track Vierivä (The Rolling Schottische) slaps you in the face and screams, “wake up and listen to me.” This is powerful stuff, sometimes out and out rock based, sometimes subtle, mellow and melodic, sometimes a little old timey/bluegrassy, sometimes with a wild gipsy feel, but always top notch musicianship - elegant and fascinating arrangements, complex rhythms and perfect production all the way through. The band's own press information describes the music as “Nordgrass” which just about sums it up.

Frigg is the Norse goddess of love – the wife of Odin. Frigg, the band, are seven very accomplished Finnish/Norwegian musicians, including four fiddle players, the other three playing combinations of mandolin, cittern, bagpipes, guitar, dobro and double bass, giving their arrangements a depth of character and making for interesting variation throughout. This is their fifth album and it displays a musical maturity and a feeling of musicians who are very much at ease with each other.

Apart from some very fine tunes, it is the arrangements which make this album so appealing to me – there may be rocky backings to some of the tunes, but these often make way for delicate quieter passages before exploding back into the full blown arrangement. The combination of the “in your face” material and the sometimes quite haunting, subtle melodies (Elinan Ja Teron Häävalssi [Elina & Tero's Wedding Waltz] and Kiulupolska [Pail Polska] for example) make this a very nicely varied album. Plenty of dynamic here.

If you are a lover of fiddle music in different, modern, quirky settings this is one for you.
Friggin great stuff!

Jim Byrne

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This album was reviewed in Issue 93 of The Living Tradition magazine.