Listen Up: Wednesday, October 17, 2007
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PHOTOS: 1
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen

Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen
(Adventure Music America)

There is as much yearning as there is unmistakable joy in the instrumental, pragmatically if unimaginatively named Mike Marshall & Darol Anger with Väsen. The two Americans and the Swedish trio converge on this mix of original and traditional songs that feel as much like classical recordings as they do Irish dance-festival staples.
Marshall and Anger have worked together frequently and are called “new traditionalists,” perhaps because their music mixes folk with classical sorts of structures. It’s not airy New Age stuff, though. Rather, it’s based on American folk traditions that sometimes date back to Celtic and even earlier Scandinavian roots. This makes the old/new sound — call it “world music” for want of a better short deDELETEion — with Väsen even more intriguing.
And never mind that one of the songs is named “Couscous” and has a Middle Eastern flavor and that another, “Os Pintinhos,” is a Brazilian folk song and sounds like what you might hear at a gypsy caravan’s sunset celebration. The group contends, probably in its more academic moments, that music all comes from the same unnamed sources.
All five musicians are known — where they are known at all — for pushing the boundaries of what’s normally done with mandolin, violin, baritone violin, five-string violino grande, and 12-string guitar.
On a consistently good album, standout songs include “Skridskolaten,” which takes the listener on a journey that hasn’t ended yet, and the Swedish traditional dance tune “Penknife Killer.” The former moves the mind, and the latter moves the feet.
It is a welcome paradox to listen to music that evokes the past while it invokes, however slightly, the future. This is a rare disc capable, at its best, of doing just that.
— Tom Geddie


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