acoustic · classical · nyckelharpa · Scandinavian · viola · world

Väsen: Mindset

Väsen Photo ©mcamillo2011
Väsen Photo ©mcamillo2011

I’ve gushed about Väsen before. Forgive me for doing it again, but this trio of Swedish tallboys keeps getting better and better, if that’s possible. Their new record is called Mindset (NorthSide NSD6097).


Superlatives seem inadeqaute to describe the music of Väsen. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen them live, swaying and sawing and smiling as they play off one another, but they inhabit their own planet. A planet defined by traditional Swedish folk melodies and original compositions. A world where jazz, classical, and progressive elements commingle with northern darkness and playful joy.

The word väsen has several meanings: spirit, essence, noise. Mikail Marin plays 5-string viola, Roger Tallroth plays 12-string guitar, and Olov Johansson plays nykelharpa, a bowed, 16-string instrument related to both the hurdy-gurdy and the fiddle. In 1990, Olov became world champion of both the modern chromatic and older historical nyckelharpas at the first-ever Nyckelharpa World Championships at Österbybruk, Sweden. The trio has been performing and recording together ever since. Enjoy!

LISTEN: Polska For Tom Morrow (MP3)

LISTEN: Maja & Tobbes Brudvals (MP3)

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