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METTE KATHRINE - Familiealbum 

METTE KATHRINE - Familiealbum 
Go’ Danish Folk Music GO1321CD 

Described as the “queen” of Danish folk music, accordionist Mette Kathrine Jensen Stærk is probably best known as one half of popular duo, Jensen & Bugge. She is a great interpreter of traditional Danish music, particularly dance music, but over the years she has composed many tunes and here she presents an album of these compositions. Many have been inspired by, or written for, family members, and they have been brought to life here by various members of her extended musical family, so the title of ‘family album’ is particularly apt. The idea is enhanced by the addition of lots of portrait style photos in the album packaging, which also tells the stories behind the tunes in both Danish and English, making a very pleasing final product.

The music has been beautifully recorded, with a bright clean sound throughout. Mette’s accordions are supported by fiddle, guitar, piano, organ, mandolin and hardanger from among Scandinavia’s finest musicians, among them Kristian Bugge her duo partner, Morten Alfred Høirup, with whom they often form a trio, and Johs Stærk, Mette’s husband.

The album has an obvious Danish sound, but there are echoes of other traditions in there too: the opening jig, polka and reel set has a sound not unlike that of a good English dance band; Reel Emil could easily be a Quebecois tune (without the feet); while Klodeschottish is a Breton influenced swingy composition that is very hard to sit still to. A highlight for me was Julepolonaise, a happy tune where the interplay between fiddle, guitar and accordion is a delight. And I loved the closing Helgesminde with a beautiful accordion and organ arrangement. A lovely way to end a very pleasurable CD.

Fiona Heywood


This review appeared in Issue 142 of The Living Tradition magazine