Ultra Audio: Recording of the Month, February 2013.
Emilia Amper, one of Sweden’s most exciting young folk musicians, is also one of the finest nyckelharpa players in the world today. (In fact, she can even boast of being a World Champion on the instrument, a title she won in 2010.) For Trollfågeln, her first solo disc, she has devised a programme which demonstrates the numerous facets of her own musical personality, and of her instrument.
With its roots stretching back to medieval Europe, the nyckelharpa (‘keyed fiddle’) almost died out in the middle of the twentieth century, but has made a remarkable comeback and is attracting an increasing number of performers in Sweden and around the world.
Firmly grounded in Swedish traditional music, Emilia Amper has also worked with musicians from many other backgrounds, and regards folk music as a common international language, and a way of combining tradition with spontaneous improvisation in a playful reflection of our own times.
Consequently, on Trollfågeln (‘The Magic Bird’) a traditional dance tune such as Bredals Näckapolska stands next to Emilia’s own take on rock music, Kapad (‘Hijacked’). Similarly, Ut i mörka natten (‘Into the Dark Night’), a song about budding love that she’s written and composed herself, is contrasted with Herr Lager och skön fager, her setting of a poem from the late 1800s describing the sad outcome of a love affair.
Solos are mixed with settings in which Emilia is joined by a string ensemble from the famous Norwegian chamber orchestra the Trondheim Soloists, or by another well-known virtuoso on the nyckelharpa, Johan Hedin, as well as by some of her regular collaborators: Anders Löfberg, Dan Svensson and Olle Linder. In turns hypnotic, melancholy and meditative, groovy and jubilant, Trollfågeln is a breathtaking roller-coaster of a disc.
Trollfågeln comes in an attractively designed digipak, with a full-colour booklet containing photo material and an introduction in five languages (Swedish, English, French, German and Japanese), as well as texts by the performer about the music and the nyckelharpa in English and Swedish.
Extra material for download