The Guardian / Delicately lucid … Sinikka Langeland The Half-Finished Heaven review – poetry-inspired folk-jazz

Sinikka Langeland
 Delicately lucid … Sinikka Langeland
 

Sinikka Langeland is a Norwegian folk-singer who plays the zither-like Finnish kantele, but she regularly collaborates with jazz musicians – including Trygve Seim, who appears alongside classical viola player Lars Anders Tomter and percussionist Markku Ounaskari on this set, partly devoted to the work of Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. It’s a session replete with beautiful sounds: Seim’s soft outbreaths pulsing through the tenor against Ounaskari’s deep, sepulchral booms; Langeland’s delicately lucid vocal tones against the precise but rough quality of Tomter’s viola; mysterious, metallic abstractions displaced by a pulsating viola rapture on Caw of the Crane. There isn’t a lot of jazz soloing, but it isn’t all on tiptoe – The Magical Bird is a deep, breathy jig and then an urgent groove, The Blue Tit’s Spring Song rocks, with Langeland playing a choppy strum instead of her usual lyrical figures. For music inspired by the life of forests, and so rooted in traditional folk forms, Langeland’s themes are often invitingly modern-sounding, too.

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