Swedish folk supergroup Väsen will release Väsen Street (NorthSide) on August 18, 2009. Olov Johansson (nyckelharpa), Roger Tallroth (guitar) and Mikael Marin (viola) have toured together for 20 years and are celebrating the milestone with this new recording. The repertoire here consists of newly composed material, old Väsen favorites not recorded earlier, and some traditional Uppland tunes. In the past they have collaborated with American string wizards Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, and sure enough Mike appears here on the six-minute track “Absolute Swedish.”
This is the band that I’ve heard introduced as the “best band in the world,” and I can’t argue with the claim. They have a unique stage dynamic that ranges from traditional folk to elements of jazz and classical, from dark and deep to light and whimsical. The combination of nyckelharpa—the traditional keyed fiddle of Sweden—with five-string viola and 12-string guitar (tuned ADADAD) creates the mind-bending Väsen sound. As complex as a concerto and as simple as an Irish jig, the music of Väsen soothes and challenges the listener at the same time. This record rewards repeated listening. Fiddlefreak recommended!