Groupa mixes Nordic folk music with new thinking and innovation on their tenth album, Kind of folk - vol. 1 Sweden.
Groupa Kind of folk - vol. 1 Sweden
All Ice (www.all-ice.no)
Review by Maria Ezzitouni
The Scandinavian trio Groupa mixes Nordic folk music with new thinking and innovation on their tenth album, Kind of folk - vol. 1 Sweden. Most of the tracks are their own interpretation of long-established folk traditions from Sweden, with a few pieces composed by the trio of Terje Isungset (percussion), Jonas Simonsson (flutes) and Mats Edén (violins). It is music that paints pictures in the mind - a leafy forest, fields of flowers and light nights ("Slengpolskor"), as well as the opposite - sounds of the cold winter; biting wind, dark pine forest, snow and ice ("Eda"). Groupa's way of blending the old and traditional with the new and unusual is phenomenal, with music pieces for all moods. Some melodies such as "Lesjme Pers brudmarch" start in a traditional way and later on surprise the listener with unexpected sounds. Others starts off with the experimental and move towards the more conventional.
"Valĺt" is a good example of how they successfully blend the different instruments - the mouth harp, overtone flutes, viola d'amore as well as bells, stones and wood - into a harmonic melody.
Like all of this recording, it asks for your complete attention to be fully appreciated. The album gives the listener space for one's own interpretations, and as you listen several times, new sounds and variations appear. It instantly brings out emotions, much like the soundtrack to a film.
The three "polskorna" are my favourite tunes. On "Slengpolskor" the percussion brings a whole new dimension to the traditional dance form. "Vintersol" is composed by the ensemble. The percussion in the beginning seems to represent the sun melting the ice, and the glass-like sound towards the end is the ice melting, dripping down on to a snowy surface. It is simple yet powerful.
Groupa moves Nordic music forward by digging in to the archives of tradition, but they are not afraid of reinventing those melodies in a very different light. - Maria Ezzitouni
"We work a lot with finding room for the predetermined but even more so on what is not yet determined. We also try to rest in the simplicity of tone and melody. We have learned how to find harmonies by using our different talents." - Mats Edén
Read Maria Ezzitouni's interview with Groupa's fiddler.
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