Kalle Almlof
& Jonny Soling,
Ost och Vast
(GIGA Folkmusik, 2005)

Jonny Soling comes from East Dalarna and Kalle Almlof from West Dalarna, a region in the heart of historic Sweden. Their homes are about 50 miles apart, but the traditional music in Orsa in the east and Malung in the west sounded different 100 years ago.

Soling and Almlof came together to play the music of the old times mixed up with their own music. They called their album Ost och Vast (East & West) and composed the title track for a wedding between two fiddlers coming from those two parts of the region.

Soling and Almlof are sought after as fiddle teachers and are well known as performers in the Swedish folk scene. The album features 24 dance tunes like polskas, waltzes and marches, self-crafted or learned from other fiddlers. Producer Mats Hellberg asked the two to include tunes by Anders Frisell, a fiddler who used to live in the region and whose tunes have strong links with the East and West Dalarna.

Soling and Almlof take turns in playing the melody fiddle, leaving the other to play the theme. And no matter who's taking the lead, their playing is excellent. Swedish dance tunes always have a melancholic touch -- may be it's because of the long winters with the little daylight -- and the fiddle is the perfect instrument to express these feelings. "Idioten" (Idiots) is a witty tune from South Dalarna that steps out, not only because of the rude title, but also due to his lack of melancholy.

The album is an interesting collection of classic old tunes and new compositions by a pair of brilliant fiddlers.

by Adolf Goriup
31 March 2007