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Gjallarhorn - Grimborg CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.04 | 7 ratings

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3 stars This is not prog folk, not even ethnic pop/rock or 'world music' which means basically pop music with ethnic elements. This is pure ethno music, played by ethnic instruments (fiddle, hardangerfiddle, shaman drum, didgeridoo, berimbau, tambourine, udu, djembe, viola, mandola etc) and songs are based on old traditional Nordic tunes. To me it's not clear on what ground Gjallarhorn is included in PA while ethno is generally out of question. Well, they bring together instruments from various corners of the world, all ethnic though. The problem lies in unequality: why one or two well-known ethno groups are here and others aren't? And it's also a question of credibility: to call this Prog Folk gives false expectations about the music. I'm not VERY much into ethnic or world music, but I'm sure there are lots of 'world' bands even more suitable into PA than Gjallarhorn. At least PIIRPAUKE (world music/jazz/art rock) would be a good addition, right?.

End of lecture. Gjallarhorn is pretty good music and it's after all always great to find different kinds of music to listen to. So I'm definitely not saying Gjallarhorn shouldn't be here, instead I'd add lots of groups from various music genres (which ARE to be crossed over!!) and invent more honest subgenres for them.

This band is from my country, Finland - Swedish speaking parts of it, and their musical roots are Scandinavian. One ethno artist I've listened to is Swedish Lena Willemark and this sounded very much similar. I 'found' her via HECTOR ZAZOU, who makes very interesting albums with a large number of guest singers from Björk to Laurie Anderson. (Pardon my advertisement.) Gjallarhorn's vocalist Jenny Wilhelms has equally clear and strong voice just perfect to evoke images of vast untouchable landscapes with mountains, lakes and fjords.

The leaflet has introductions to songs in Swedish, English and French. One example: "Based on a medieval ballad from Sweden, about the King who dresses up as a sailor and steals away the girl he loves, then takes her out on the high seas to see if she tryly loves him, before he reveals his real status. She is furious but very convincing about her true affection." The sound is dominated by fiddles and rich percussion. If I would dive deeper into Ethno, Gjallarhorn would be a very good starting point. And that it must have been to many people around the world. "With their dynamic world music arrangements Gjallarhorn has brought the old Nordic tonality to a modern audience in both the jazz, rock and world music field."

Matti | 3/5 |


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