Groupa’s Hypnotic Hybrid of Folk and Musical Improvisation

Groupa - Silent Folk
Groupa – Silent Folk

Silent Folk (Footprint Records, 2014)

One of the irresistible charms of world music is its promise – its promise of a journey. Nothing delivers on that promise more than Sweden’s progressive folk band Groupa and their latest offering of Silent Folk out on the Footprint Records label. With a whole host of previous recordings like Frost, Fjalar, Lavalek, Imeland and Manskratt, Groupa freefalls into their other worldly brand of Nordic folk on Silent Folk that spirits away the listener on a spectacular mental trek.

Dashed through with intertwined flute lines by Jonas Simonson and fiddle lines by Mats Eden and grounded to earth by percussion and jew’s harp by Terje Isungset, Silent Folk hikes a soundscape that at once sounds rooted to the earth and at other times takes to the wide open sky.

Moody, mysterious and meditative, Silent Folk is a hypnotic hybrid of folk and musical improvisation. Taking off with “Silkeskastanj” Groupa captures the listener with an eerie blend of fiddle and flute, surrounded by a wealth of percussion that intrigues as much as it enthralls. Title track “Silent Folk” is no less provocative with the addition of the twangy goodness of jew’s harp. At 9.53 this lush track is utterly captivating with the occasional bell tinkling, heavy drums that come across as thunder and what sounds like bottles, whipping up what I can only describe as modern music for the primitive traveler.

The flutes on “Fundrar/Hurven,” the fiddle work on “Offerdalshalling” and percussive wonders on “Elvespringar” provide plenty of wondrous twists and turns on the journey of Silent Folk to satisfy any progressive music fan out there. There’s also the more folksy sweetness of “Kryptorp” and the imaginative edginess of “Halling from Elsewhere” that prove to be irresistible temptations to music fans.

Silent Folk is exotic, compelling and gloriously gripping. This is a journey you want to take again and again.

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Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.


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