Sjef Oellers 10-Feb-2001 Trä/Karelia Visa

The Finnish band Hedningarna has released about half a dozen albums up to 1999, of which I have two: Trä and Karelia Visa. Both albums are quite a refreshing mix of ethnic/world music and European folk. The band has a preference for traditional instruments such as lute, oud, violin, mandolin, bagpipe, harp, tambourine, etc., but the way the songs are arranged give the band a full, almost rock-like sound. Most tracks have a somewhat droning, trancey feel. The (mostly?) female vocals are good. Another positive point is that the music has a fresh, modern sound without sounding over-produced or plastic. A minor complaint is that some tracks sound rather alike. A larger use of dynamics and/or variation would be welcome. Of both albums I like Trä a bit more, but both are good places to start with this band.

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