A handful of times in your life, you hear a band or a soloist who rocks your world. You hear the music on the radio or at a live show, or at a friend’s house, and you fall in love. Sometimes that song or that record will become a “gateway drug” to a whole new genre or style that opens up to you and becomes a lifelong passion. I remember the first time I heard Irish folk supergroup the Bothy Band in about 1980 or so. Luckily, I was at home recording a radio show when the piece came over the airways, into my remote West Virginia cabin, and I captured the piece to cassette tape. Look at me now. I’ve been performing trad-Irish music for a living for 15 years, and playing it for 40.
Which brings me to the subject of this review: Swedish folk supergroup Väsen. Many years ago, the 27-year-old trio played at a local music festival near here and I picked up an album. On that day, they opened my ears to the ancient beauty of traditional Swedish polskas, marches, and waltzes. And the lofty places that this music can reach in the hands of a skilled combo. Since then I have fallen deeply and hopelessly into the wonder and magic of Swedish music, and the band itself has continued to nourish the tradition by injecting their own brew of modern influences, from pop to classical to Celtic.
Witness the new record Brewed, set to release on April 28 but available now at the shows on their current American tour. Lucky me! I caught up with them in Santa Cruz, California last week. Consisting of all original tunes written by band members, this record maintains their track record and gives it a bump. Recommended!
Väsen cosists of Olov Jahansson (nyckelharpa), Roger Tallroth (guitar), and Mikael Marin (5 string viola). This band was previously reviewed on Fiddlefreak HERE and HERE. Below is a track from Brewed, written by Roger (in 7/8 time!) and a video showing a wee jam at home in Sweden. Enjoy.
LISTEN: Gudda (Roger Tallroth)