323

Sinikka Langeland: Starflowers

By

Sign in to view read count
Sinikka Langeland: Starflowers 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 that actually traces back to 1995, when she released Har Du Lyttet Til Elvene Om Natta? on the German Grappa label.

Kindled by her mother's Karelian heritage and advice, Langeland studied kantele playing as well as traditional rune singing and Norwegian kveding, while being physically remote from Finland, yet still immersed in its traditions as a resident of Finnskogen, the center of the Finnskog culture. Paired here with Scandinavia's best improvisers (bassist Anders Jormin, trumpeter Arve Henriksen, reedman Trygve Seim and percussionist Markku Ounaskari), the group sets to music the lumberjack-poet's philosophical and spiritual musings as he partakes in Finnskogen's natural grandeur.

Like most of Eicher's productions, the program's musical arc is a song in itself. Starting in a floaty, meditative atmosphere, the album opens with a phrase recalling Gregorian chant with its unmetered, repeated notes intoned above the kantele's ringing, harp-like chords. Then, each member of the ensemble enters gradually during "Den lillle fløyten, whose touching, children song-like verse finds echo in Langeland's symbiotic, almost nursery rhyme arrangement.

The recurring chordal figure of "Sølv introduces brief modal breaks thrice throughout the album—on "Støv, and after Ounaskari's inspired, introductory solo on "Sterjernestund —creating not only unity, but temporizing landmarks amidst the recording's somewhat elusive narrative plot.

"Treet Som Vekser Opp-Ned shifts gear as Ounaskari's cymbal work gets busier behind the ensemble's antiphonal exchanges. Arguably Borli's most powerful text here, "Sus i myrull, a manifesto decrying humanity's meaningless, materialist race ("Life is rich enough to forget the hours and bread and death ), follows the half-sprechgesang half-incantatory chanting of "Saltstein.

The rhythm section's loose yet driving rhythmic patterns propel the sole climaxed instrumental "Vindtreet, an Ornette Coleman-themed track in which the soloists converge towards an entrancing second theme played in unison that quickly disintegrates into a free jazz frenzy, with Seim taking obvious pleasure in torturing his horn.

In shading this particular folk genre's historically-charged performance practice with atmospheric and cutting-edge improvisation, the Langeland-Eicher tandem has artfully reconciled both art forms' imaginary boundaries, creating, by the same token, a trend that is to be perpetuated.

Track Listing: H

Personnel: Sinikka Langeland: vocal, kantele; Arve Henriksen: trumpet; Trygve Seim: tenor and soprano saxophones; Anders Jormin: double-bass; Markku Ounaskari: percussion.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Fringes of Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Right Up On CD/LP/Track Review Right Up On
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Wanderlust CD/LP/Track Review Wanderlust
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Imagination CD/LP/Track Review Imagination
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 23, 2017
Read Evolution CD/LP/Track Review Evolution
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 23, 2017
Read On A Monday Evening CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "On A Monday Evening" CD/LP/Track Review On A Monday Evening
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 12, 2016
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Tyrant Lizard" CD/LP/Track Review Tyrant Lizard
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 2, 2017
Read "Swallowed by the New" CD/LP/Track Review Swallowed by the New
by Doug Collette
Published: November 5, 2016
Read "Suite Três Rios" CD/LP/Track Review Suite Três Rios
by Paul Naser
Published: July 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!