Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Ta:lik Records TA177 

This debut album combines Irish and Scandinavian traditions, jazz and classical virtuosity, from three fine innovators. Nuala Kennedy is a ground-breaking singer and doyenne of contemporary Irish music on the wooden flute. Vegar Vårdal comes from Norway's Hardanger fiddle tradition, and is also a master of jazz violin. Norwegian accordionist Frode Haltli is something of a genre-bender, mixing traditional dance music with jazz and classical influences. Together The Snowflake Trio handles a bewildering range of material: the old nonsense song, What Will We Do, Nuala's elegant waltz, Green Lady, inspired by a Scottish castle, the eerie Norwegian lullaby, Gjendines Bådnlåt, with words by South Uist poet Ùisdean Laing, the wonderfully named funky frolic, A Face for Scuba, and perhaps the slowest ever recording of that iconic Irish slip-jig, The Butterfly.

There are Norwegian pieces old and new, from the modern waltz, Fjellvåk, to the traditional lament, Den Bortkomne Sauen. Most tracks combine Irish and Nordic elements, and the trio improvises and experiments constantly. The results are certainly enjoyable and stimulating, but this is not easy listening: it needs a bit of intellectual engagement from the listener. Nuala's vocals, on about half the tracks here, are high and insistent, while Frode and Vegar throw in a discord or two to keep things interesting. Sun Dogs is a CD I've come back to several times, and it always reveals more, but I still don't feel I've absorbed its spirit, so be prepared for the long haul. One to linger over.

Alex Monaghan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Many CDs we review are available from The Listening Post.
Check to see if this CD is available.

The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.