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Album Review

For one outing, Väsen returns to its original trio format without excellent percussion work. Considering just how much percussionist André Ferrari added to the sound, the real surprise is that he's not missed in this material. The three players are rich and careful enough in their work and instruments that Trio sounds incredibly full — indeed, anything more would be overkill. It's also a compliment to say that their original material, which makes up the bulk of the disc, sits perfectly well next to traditional pieces like "Hejsmanpolketter." The band has played together for so long now that the communication between players seems telepathic, with the ability to trade off lines whether on the delicate "Johnsefins Dopvals" or the lively "Dr. Oldgren." Olov Johansson's nyckelharpa work is as inspirational as ever, continuing to mark him as a true virtuoso, but both Mikael Marin and Roger Tallroth can match him. That's perfectly evident on "Slunken" and the unusual "Viruspolska." But no one is flaunting his ability — everything is in service of the tune, performing with a stunning grace and an excellent sense of humor. There's not a note out of place or wasted anywhere — everything contributes to the whole. Of all the Swedish bands plowing the acoustic furrow, Väsen is the most accomplished and satisfying listen after listen.


Formed: 1989 in Sweden

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Väsen is a group of four of Sweden's best musicians who have, between them, been featured with dozens of Swedish and international groups, ranging from nyckelharpa orchestras and Swedish traditional bands to the Kronos Quartet and the chart-topping folk-rock band Nordman. Väsen's music is a uniquely beautiful combination of the traditional sounds of the viola and nyckelharpa (a keyed fiddle unique to Sweden), and the more modern sounds of alternatively tuned 12-string guitar and percussion ensemble....
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Trio, Väsen
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