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Fully Rigged

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Album Review

Ale Möller is one of Sweden's leading roots musicians, while Aly Bain has paid plenty of Scottish dues over the years, notably with Boys of the Lough. What brings them together on Fully Rigged is the common ground between Celtic and Nordic culture that's to be found in the Shetland Isles, those bits of rock which, along with Orkneys, dot the North Sea between Norway and Scotland. The fact that Bain grew up in the Shetlands and absorbed its traditions greatly help, but what's quickly apparent is that although the Shetlands might officially be Scottish, their music is very much a cultural crossroads, dating back to the Vikings settling them in the ninth century. On fiddles and many other instruments they explore their heritage. On "Da Day Dawn," for example, they combine a Shetland New Year tune with a Swedish cattle call (played on a cow horn) to beautiful effect. And "The Unst Bridal March" could have come from either tradition, a tune that seems to have changed little over the years. Bain, interestingly, utilizes the handanger fiddle, a specifically Norwegian instrument, a great deal with some Nordic tunings, like on "Bonaparte's Retreat," a traditional American tune (moving away from the focus), but one played in the DDAD Bear Tuning typically found in Sweden; in other words, Scandinavian culture has a wide influence. Those inevitably include the sole male dances known as hallings, which became part of the Shetlands, as shown in the "Hallings From Dalsland" played here. Ultimately, this album shows just how much cultures merge and mingle into each other over time, and such wonderful playing — it's impossible to fault this pair, who fits together as if they'd been musical partners for years — makes everything seem natural.


Born: Unknown

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The traditional music of Sweden has been preserved through the playing of multi-instrumentalist and composer Ale Moller. A former member of folk groups Filarfolket and Friot, Moller helped to spark interest in Swedish folk music in the late '80s and early '90s. He currently works with violinist/vocalist Lena Willemark, drone-fiddler Mats Eden, and percussionist Tina Johansson in the Nordic Quartet, a group dedicated to resurrecting the medieval ballads of Scandanavia. Together with Jonas Knutsson,...
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Fully Rigged, Ale Möller
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