(Here is the 2nd article of Galileo’s Travel Guide serie)

It’s often a general rule that extreme conditions breed fantastic music. Scandinavia’s dark and dismal winters, followed by its too-short summers, have produced one of the most interesting music styles of the world genre.

I could be biased, given that I live here, but it’s my opinion that the music of the Nordic countries is one of the richest musical traditions on this planet. Only recently has Nordic music undergone a revival of sorts, and artists such as Norway’s Annbjorg Lien are now putting this music back on the map.

It’s so easy to imagine many of the songs from this album coming straight out of a Norwegian winter. Annbjorg Lien composes music that mixes traditional Nordic styles with elements of jazz, rock and traditional styles from other countries such as India and Africa. She plays both the normal violin and the Norwegian Hardingfele, which is the violin’s 9 stringed cousin.

Joining her are a host of other highly capable musicians, combining their talents to create a landscape of drums, whistles and synthesisers.

Lien’s ability to switch from darkened wintry dirges to elated spring melodies, coupled with her willingness to give up centre stage to the other musicians around her, make this album well worth a listen. Her playing is as intense as her own compositions are complex and magical.

Here is a piece called Loki, fittingly set to a photographic backdrop of pictures from Svalbard. The island lies midway between Norway and the North Pole and is considered to be one of the hardest places on earth for people to live.

While Lien’s work on this album is not all strictly adhering to the Nordic style, the influences she borrows from other genres enhance the experience, rather than detract from it.
Her musical career spans decades. Any 1 of her many studio albums will be well worth your time.


Baba Yaga
(Grappa Music, 1999)

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About The Author

Collaborator - RREVERB

Singer-songwriter Galileo Griffin has travelled the world collecting all kinds of music along the way. Originally from Australia, she now resides in Stockholm, Sweden, where she presents a weekly world music radio programme and haunts various concerts, open mic nights and jam sessions in this creative city. She has a passion for music of all kinds and can find something to appreciate in almost every genre from classical to pop. She joins the RREVERB team to share her enthusiasm for one of the few artforms that knows no borders and speaks all languages.