Twenty years, ten albums, tours around the world, awards and nominations at home and rave reviews abroad: Frigg can justly be described as one of the greatest success stories in Finnish folk music. Originally a Finnish-Norwegian combo, Frigg have settled into a lineup of seven Finnish musicians with a strong focus on stringed instruments (four violins, double bass, guitar, cittern and mandolin) and with musical material written by three of the band members.
On this, their eighth studio album to date, Frigg sound like Frigg – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The musicians are thoroughly steeped in the Kaustinen fiddler tradition, and the familiar bluegrass influences and prog-rock twists are also to be found. Esko Järvelä’s compositions are driven by pomp and circumstance but also include austere melancholy and chamber music sounds. In the only traditional tune on the disc, Varpunen [Sparrow], Järvelä really goes to town with the arrangement. The pieces by Tero Hyväluoma and Petri Prauda are more closely associated with specific locations, whether in Ireland or at Kaustinen.
Tracks that we might specially mention are the very Frigg-like Early Bird, the meanderingly melodic Overtyyri and Maanitus, where Senni Eskelinen playing the kantele brings a refreshing addition to the sound palette of the disc.
Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi