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Prog Folk

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Wow ! Although I did ask Max to include a bunch of Norwegian bands , I had not dared mentioned this one, because they play what I call downright folk music . Only their desire to make truthful folk might make this prog in the adventurous side of it. Almost entirely acoustic, this album is a bit the Norwegian equivalent of Kebnekaise (Sweden) or Malicorne (France) and one feels like some foot stomping and square dancing when listening to this. I have not heard the other albums but would like to thank my library to have this one in stock - that alone is quite a feat. Good female vocals sung in Norwegian.
Report this review (#32771)
Posted Tuesday, September 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Let me first say that I was in doubt whether to give it five or four stars, but I settled on four. A four plus! The song material on this one is great and the arrangements are good and sound fresh, not dated. It's not that experimental, but it's good solid folk-rock. The songs are sung in Norwegian, although "Ravnene", "Alison Gross" and "Harpa" are originally English folk-tunes translated into Norwegian. "Ravnene"(the ravens) is one of the best tracks on the album! It's english equivalent is the song "Twa Corbies" and I have a version of it done by Steeleye Span. Folque's version is without doubt the better! The main reason, in addition to the wonderful arrangement, is Lisa Helljesen - Folque's excellent singer. I absolutely love her voice! Lisa sings on the next two albums too, but then she left the band and on the rest of Folque's albums Jenn Mortensen replaced her. Alas I say.. Not that Jenn is a bad singer, it's just that Lisa totally outshines her. There are some male vocals here too, nicely done by Jörn Jensen who left soon after this album was finished, and Jörn and Lisa sings together on a few songs, most notably "Alison Gross". I wouldn't say there is a bad track on the album, although "Nissedans" tends to be a bit repetitive. Favourites include the forementioned "Ravnene", the stunning "Harpa" (this song tells the same story as Loreena McKennitt's "The Bonny Swans", Clannad's "Two Sisters" and Pentangle's "Cruel Sister" if you know those), the wonderfully arranged "Reven og Björnen" (possibly the best arrangement on the album), the solid folk-rocker "Skjön Jomfru" and offcourse the groovin' "Reinlender", an instrumental which was a Norwegian radio favourite in the mid-seventies! I surely recommend this album together with the following two - "Kjempene pá Dovrefjell" and "Vardöger".
Report this review (#32772)
Posted Tuesday, September 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album has a lot of energy, reminding me a lot of the French band Malicorne. Folque is folk more in the "world music" sense rather than the "acoustic guitar" sense if you know what I mean. It feels like it's from a very long time ago rather than the 20th century. If you're tired of the average folk album from the UK, listen to this. Note that I have no idea what the lyrics translate to.

The female singer has an interesting voice and style. She really can sing. The male vocalist is good as well, but what makes the album for me is the string instruments (violins?) and not so run-of-the-mill percussion. The strings are particularly good on the instrumental track "Springar".

4.5 stars if I could.

Report this review (#230765)
Posted Sunday, August 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Folque's debut album with the name Folque has everything I could need from music so it's impossible to not acknowledge it. I love folk music and think that folk obtained some form of perfection in the sixties and seventies. Then came some bands on Ireland, "The Dubliners" and "Wolfe Tones" and made folk music popular. In Sweden Jan Johansson's jazz interpretations of folk music were successfull too. Then came the electric folk with magic bands like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. Since I was fifteen, Steeleye Span has been one of my favourite bands that exist. In Sweden an acoustic duo made folk popular as well, called "Folk & Rackare" and they are totally awesome too. "Folque" here merge together some of the best aspects of folk and rock music. They continue the folk tradition with anciant ballads and melodies. The songs are sung with a sweet female voice, quite similar to Carin Kjellman of Folk & Rackare's. The songs are played with a warm and partially electric style in Fairport Convention style. The bass play is similar to Steeleye Span's and on this record they play a Norwegian verison of Steeleye Span's "Alison Gross" too.

When I record contains inspiration from so many of my favourite bands, the result should be a success, and it is. Wherefore? Because Folque also does something of their own here. The music is truely Scandinavian and it is so right. A perfect balance are also the premise for the success. It is not too electric and heavy and not too pure traditional. People could argue if the music is prog, I don't care, the beautiful pretentions do qualify this record to be discussed here.

1974 was this, Folque's first record released and it contains twelve wonderful tracks. The vocalist Lisa Helljesen, the violinist Trond Villa, the guitarist/mandolinist Morten Bing, the vocalist/guitarist/dulcimerist Jörn Jensen, the banjoist/bassist/guitarist Eilif Amundsen and the bassist/pianist Trond Överland have we to thank for this music. We can see them on a street on the beautiful cover. Every song on the record is beautiful but they are listed incorrect at this site. This is the correct order: 1)Skjön jomfru(10/10), 2)Ravnene(10/10), 3)Springar(9/10), 4)Sjugur og trollsbrua(10/10), 5)Nissedans(10/10), 6)Harpa(10/10), 7)Sinclairvise(9/10), 8)Reinlender(10/10), 9)Alison Gross(9/10), 10)Steffa går til Selfjord(8/10), 11)Reven op björnen(9/10), 12)Heimat låta(8/10). As you see the majority of these songs are as good I think music can be. Within the music style's own perfectional limits it's as good as it can be, and the rest are close to perfection as well. "Skjön Jomfru" have I read, is the same song as Fairport Convention's "Matty Groves". That song and "Harpa" together with "Ravnene" and "Nissedans" are so lovely that you can't hear them to many times. It's a mystery for me that Folque's records have got so low ratings. I guess some progers don't think folk rock is rocky enough. I hope they'll change their minds. It's worse to play too heavy than too soft. "Folque" is heavenly music to me! Five stars!

Report this review (#1302447)
Posted Monday, November 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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