Swedish folk supergroup Väsen celebrates 30 years with the release of a new album on April 19. The title “Rule of 3” refers to these three decades as well as their favorite time signature, shared by both polskas and waltzes, forms which which they often play. The band is a trio, forming of course a solid triangular foundation for the music itself, and among writers, the Rule of 3 is “a writing principle which suggests that a trio of events or characters is more humorous, satisfying, or effective than other numbers.” (from Wikipedia)
The new album brings ever more lovely and quirky original music from the minds and instruments of this enduring group. My quick review will be the fourth write-up on Väsen to appear here in Fiddlefreak. In fact, the band has released 12 studio albums and 4 live ones since Roger Tallroth (guitar) and Olov Johansson (nyckelharpa) met on a fateful day in Røros, Norway to play a few tunes. The chemistry they discovered then led to a recording session with the addition of Mikael Marin on viola, and the rest is history.
The music of Väsen is a perfect example of how enlightened artists can transcend their own genre of music and create something that floats above it all. As always, the 15 original tracks on this record range from dark and deep to light and fanciful, with traces of jazz and classical bits on a solid foundation of Swedish folk tradition. They plow no new ground here, but they don’t need to. Good music is just good music, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Amen.
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