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Sinikka Langeland: The Magical Forest

Read "The Magical Forest" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Norwegian singer and kantele player Sinikka Langeland leads her Norwegian-Finnish-Swedish Starflowers quintet through a series of songs built upon myths and legends from Finnskogen, the forested area in eastern Norway bordering Sweden where Langeland has been based since 1992. The name means “forest of the Finns," reflecting the history of Finnish migration to the place during the 17th century. The quintet is augmented by the singers of the Trio Mediaeval, giving the folkloric element in Langeland's fusion of traditional and ...

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Sinikka Langeland: The Magical Forest

Read "The Magical Forest" reviewed by John Kelman

Some pairings seem, in retrospect, to be made in heaven; so inevitable that it's only when they actually take place that it becomes clear how predestined they were all along. Sinikka Langeland--a forward-thinking traditional singer and kantele (Finnish zither/dulcimer variant) champion garnering significant attention in her home country of Norway over the past two decades--has, since coming to ECM with 2007's Starflowers, achieved even broader recognition for her somehow other-worldly, effortlessly beautiful music that is at once antiquated and timeless. ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Sinikka Langeland: The half-finished heaven

Read "Sinikka Langeland: The half-finished heaven" reviewed by John Kelman

She may have debuted on ECM (and, consequently, far beyond the borders of her native Norway) with 2007's Starflowers, but Sinikka Langeland has, in fact, been around for more than two decades, with her first album, Langt Innpå Skoga, released on Norway's Grappa label in 1994. Composer, singer and master of the kantele--an antiquated Scandinavian dulcimer/zither variant that Langeland has turned into a living, breathing instrument--it was on Starflowers and her 2011 ECM follow-up with the same ensemble, The Land ...

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Sinikka Langeland: The Land That Is Not

Read "The Land That Is Not" reviewed by John Kelman

Four years after her relentlessly beautiful ECM debut, Sinikka Langeland returns with the equally breathtaking The Land That Is Not. Following Starflowers (2007), the Norwegian singer/kantele player took a detour with Maria's Song (ECM, 2009), an intimate recording of folk songs and compositions by J.S. Bach that expanded upon territory visited on Påsketona (Nordic Sound, 2004). Few projects emerge entirely from a vacuum, and if Langeland's empathic Scandinavian quintet appeared to coalesce out of the ether for Starflower, the truth ...

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Sinikka Langeland: Starflowers

Read "Starflowers" reviewed by Martin Gladu

In Horizons Touched: The Music Of ECM (Granta, 2007), guitarist Steve Tibbetts writes about folk artists: “Sometimes they start a musical movement that perpetuates or re-forms, sometimes they birth a musical dead end. Without much extrapolation, the first part of Tibbett's affirmation applies equally to producer Manfred Eicher, acclaimed for his talent at creating unique genre-crossing collaborations, as it does to vocalist/kantele player Sinikka Langeland. Starflowers, Langeland's first effort for ECM, is a project based on Norwegian Hans Borli's poetry ...

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Sinikka Langeland: Starflowers

Read "Starflowers" reviewed by John Kelman

ECM has always looked for new ways to interpret traditional music from different cultures. As far back as 1973, saxophonist Jan Garbarek's Triptykon used a traditional Norwegian folk song as the starting point for open-ended improvisation. More recently, British traditionalist Robin Williamson has teamed with artists normally associated with free improvisation for The Iron Stone (2007), combining original and traditional music with contemporary and centuries-old words, for some adventurous and often edgy free play that breaks down every barrier of ...


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