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Review - Bla Bergens Borduner CD

Blå Bergens Borduner CD Amigo AMCD 72.

Anders Norudde säckpipa, hardangerfela, fiddle, moraharpa, willow flute
Göran Fredriksson bouzouki, hurdy gurdy
Ulf Karlsson säckpipa, fiddle
Stefan Ekedahl säckpipa, cello, flute

Some years ago, I would regularly listen to the internet radio station DRFolk, sadly now closed.

Every so often, I would hear music so good that I had to track it down. On such album was this one - Blå Bergen Borduner (Blue Mountain Drones).

Released 1993, this was one of those influential recordings that inspire.

and continues to do so. Quite radical for the time, the four piece band collected music from the Swedish regions Värmland, Närke and Dalarna and performed them, along with their own compositions, with imagination and sensitivity, pushing the traditions forward, but always with respect. Between them, BBB played a wide range of instruments common in Scandinavia plus - a novelty for the time - up to three Swedish smallpipes. Underpinning everything was a compelling drone provided variously by ‘cello, hardanger fiddle, moraharpa (an early version of the nyckelharpa), hurdy gurdy, mandola and, of course pipes.

Many of the tunes are now familiar, particularly Konvulsionsläten and Säckpipslåten Från Norra Råda, although not necessarily under those titles. My personal favourite is Ha’gjort Valsen, by Göran Fredriksson, a spine tingling tune that really deserves to be equally widely known and played.

The band split up soon after this recording, but all continued to perform and Anders Stake, now Norudde, went on to form the seminal folk/rock/electronic band Hedningarna (look them up!). The original members still get together from time to time and a new CD was promised, but that was in 2010…I cannot recommend this CD too highly - pure quality from start to finish. The CD is long sold out, but digital downloads are available - seek them out: you won’t be disappointed.

Ian Clabburn