In recent years, Northside Records has carved a unique niche as the American home of some of Scandinavia's finest folk and folk-rock artists. This compilation gives you 20 tracks by 15 of the brightest Northern Lights, i... more »ncluding the Gothic, almost grind core rock of Hedningarna, winners of a Swedish Grammy for previous efforts, virtuosic fiddling and world percussion from Väsen, culture-clashing Celtic music from Swåp, a British-Swedish quartet, mutant swamp funk from Hoven Droven and the strangely compelling music of Tapani Varis's jews harp. As might be expected from people who spend half the year in frozen darkness, some of the tracks have a deeply melancholy feel, but the playing is always energetic enough to cast off a few rays of sunshine. --j. poet« less
In recent years, Northside Records has carved a unique niche as the American home of some of Scandinavia's finest folk and folk-rock artists. This compilation gives you 20 tracks by 15 of the brightest Northern Lights, including the Gothic, almost grind core rock of Hedningarna, winners of a Swedish Grammy for previous efforts, virtuosic fiddling and world percussion from Väsen, culture-clashing Celtic music from Swåp, a British-Swedish quartet, mutant swamp funk from Hoven Droven and the strangely compelling music of Tapani Varis's jews harp. As might be expected from people who spend half the year in frozen darkness, some of the tracks have a deeply melancholy feel, but the playing is always energetic enough to cast off a few rays of sunshine. --j. poet
"...and that's a relief. No, this is something better -- a truly unique compilation of equally unique artistes blending pre-Medieval tradition with post-modern flourishes.
I had heard of Garmarna and Hedningarna before buying this disc, but my knowledge of them was scant at best. As for the rest, I knew not a thing. But I took a chance and what a surprise. This disc touches on music that covers both ends of the spectrum: from quaint, straight ahead renditions from groups such as Chateau Neuf, Den Fule, and the instrumentally exciting Väsen, to the experimental stylings of fiddler Hege Rimestad, riff rockers Hoven Droven and the aforementioned Hedningarna.
The thing that will surprise most about this style of music is how immediate it all sounds, both foriegn and familiar at the same time. Hints of jazz and classical seem to pepper certain aspects of the arrangements of some, but the most obvious is the connection it bares to Irish folk music.
If you want a new musical experience and like what you've read here, I say take a chance on this and the other Nordic Roots compilations. From there, buy individual albums by the artists themselves, especially Hedningarna and Garmarna. (The Garmarna track here is not really representative of their newer material by the way, but still worth checking out!)"
Unexpected and very cool!
Brianna Neal | USA | 05/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
""20 tracks, 78 minutes, Cheaper than Food!" proclaimed the sticker on this CD, peeking out at me from a store's disorganized rows of miscellaneous world music discs. `Cheaper than food?!' I thought, bewildered. `What sort of thing is that to say about a recording? If that's the best praise anyone can offer, it doesn't bode well for the quality of the content ...' But economy and curiosity won out and I bought it anyway. What a surprise--it was great! A caption from the back of the package sums up my reaction perfectly: "An ideal introduction to the vibrant traditional music scene developing across the Nordic lands: incredible playing, catchy tunes, brilliant arrangements and strange instruments playing pre-medieval as well as modern compositions. All this music at a very special price." Neo-traditional would probably be a better description of most of the selections, as they combine the quaintness of traditional tunes and folk instruments with elements of rock, technopop, jazz, world fusion music and new age. Swedish and Sami, Finnish and Norweigan, the groups featured on "Nordic Roots" display verve and virtousity, inviting the listener to delve deeper into this fascinating genre--obviously the reason for such an inexpensive sampler. Featured artists include Vasen, Hedningarna, Garmarna, Groupa, Hoven Droven and Wimme. Despite the fact that I actually have Scandinavian roots, I'd never had any exposure to the music of that region. So this album was well worth the price I originally paid--a totally new musical experience. Happily, NorthSide has continued this intriguing series, further introducing and promoting their artisits in "Nordic Roots 2" and "Nordic Roots 3", both of which are also "cheaper than food". Give one a try!"
Cheaper than food but just as satisfying
woburnmusicfan | Woburn, MA United States | 04/22/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the first of (so far) three samplers of Scandinavian bands on the NorthSide label. NorthSide has used the catchphrase "cheaper than food" for the low(!)-priced series. All of the musicians here play traditional Scandinavian music, with varying amounts of modern influences added. Much of it sounds like a variation on Celtic music, with fiddles and accordians a-plenty. One band, Swåp, is a purposeful blend of Scandinavian and Celtic sounds, with two Swedish fiddlers and a British guitarist and accordianist. Hoven Droven is the only band here that uses anything you could call a rock setting for its music. Garmarna's "One Day He'll Cry", Loituma's radiant blend of vocals and kantele harps, Chateau Neuf's tribute to an especially tasty blueberry pie, and Groupa's "Imeland" are all excellent. There are a few tastes I don't care to acquire, such as Tapani Varis' jaw harp and Wimme's combination of Lapp chanting and ambient music (on both of his cuts, there is a processed vocal that sounds like Donald Duck using a vocoder). But these are exceptions on a disc that is overall very entertaining. You are not going to find better value for your musical dollar anywhere."
Wonderful music, amazing price!
dzintars | 07/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this CD when I knew little about Scandinavian music at all. This was the perfect introduction to what is out there, and North Side really showcased the best contemporary nordic talents. You get everything on this CD from happy little choirs to the folkish rock sounds of Hedningarna. Since buying this anthology I have bought recordings by many of the artists featured on it. North Side should applaud themselves for creating such a wonderful marketting scheme: sample for a very low price and then buy the artist's full CDs at normal price. I just ordered Nordic Roots 2 and cannot wait for it to arrive!"