Connecting Bridges

Annbjørg Lien – Khoom Loy
Annbjørg Lien

Khoom Loy (Compass Records, 2012)

Chameleonic fiddler Annbjørg Lien crosses boundaries and embraces a wide range of musical influences on her latest album, titled Khoom Loy. She uses an electric band and a large number of international guests and musical instruments, which makes her music sound richer, more vigorous and unexpected.

Annbjørg Lien demonstrates that at times she can firmly stick to tradition or play fine classical music; while at other times she can rock out, playing edgy folk-rock and dynamic pan-global world fusion. Accompanied by her band and guests, Annbjørg Lien shows us the music she is passionate about: Norwegian folk, Celtic, Indian, world fusion, rock and classical.

Khoom Loy is the Thai name for paper lanterns. It Lien’s eighth solo album “This is a tribute to a lovely ritual of the East: releasing lanterns in remembrance of the dead, or as a prayer for a good life. “Khoom Loy” is the Thai name for these lanterns, which are made of rice paper and bamboo,” explains Annbjørg Lien in the liner notes. “They serve as bridges connecting us to the past and the future, the east and the west, tradition and innovation.”

Throughout the album Annbjørg Lien uses various types of fiddles, including Hardanger fiddle and keyed fiddle, sometimes overdubbed. She also provides vocals for the first time in some of the pieces, including “Den Storste Daarlighed,” which also provides a tantalizing fusion of the Indian tabla with Irish whistles.

Her band includes Bjørn Charles Dreyer on guitars, zither, banjo, pedal steel guitar, electric guitar and electronics; Hans Fredrik Jacobsen on flutes, vocals, ram’s horn and Jew’s harp; Bjørn Ole Rasch on harmonium, mellotron, minimoog, vocals, Hammond B3 and samples; Per Elias Drabløs on bass; and Per Hillestad on drums and percussion.

The guests list is impressive: Pat Broaders on bouzouki and vocals; Tareq Abboushi on buzuq; Suresh Raj Bajracharya on sarod; Prabhu Raj Dhakal on vocals; Rabin Lal Shrestha on tabla; Durga Prasad Khatiwada on bamboo flute; Suman Sachin on vocals; Jiwan Rai on tabla; Petter Wettre on saxophone; Rolf Kristensen on guitars; Fredrik Sahlander on double bass; Rune Arnesen on drums and percussion.

Annbjørg Lien also invited the following ensembles and choirs to perform in Khoom Loy:

Orsa Spelmän:

Per Erik “Perra” Moreus – fiddle
Olle Moreus – fiddle
Leif Göras – fiddle
Nils-Erik “Nicke” Göthe – fiddle
Pether Olsson – accordion

Kristiansand String Quartet:

Pål Svendsberget – 1st violin
Lars Lunde – 2nd violin
Kjell Åge Stoveland – viola
Sarah Høigilt – cello

Gaasehud Male Choir from Kristiansand, under the direction of Ivar Kirkhus

Ytre Randesund Studio Choir:

Hans Fredrik Jacobsen tenor
Per Hillestad tenor
Bjørn Ole Rasch baritone
Per Elias Drabløs baritone

Annbjørg Lien comes from a musical family and learned traditional music from her father and classical music at the music school in Ålesund. She is the winner of the Garmeleng Prize for classical folk and the Hilimar Award in her native Norway. She is also a member of the world music fiddle group String Sisters that features top female fiddlers form various countries: Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Liz Knowles, Catriona MacDonald, Liz Carroll and Emma Härdelin. The String Sisters will be performing next month at the renowned Rainforest World Music Festival in Borneo.

Khoom Loy is another excellent album by fiddler and composer Annbjørg Lien. The strong attraction of Khoom Loy lies in its diversity, inspired by various global traditions.

Listen to samples and buy MP3s or the CD in North America.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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