Faerd,
Faerd
(Tutl, 2002)

The word for this album is "delightful."

Faerd is an unpretentious yet top-notch disc of music from the Faroe Islands. The album's program is mostly traditional Faroese music. The one original tune is "Davy," which Eskil Romme wrote in memory of the late Scots musician Davy Steele. A Shetland tune, "Da' Cross Reel," also sneaks into one of the medleys. The Faroese pieces are largely taken from the notebooks of folklorists who visited the islands.

In addition to Romme, who plays soprano sax, the lineup for this album is Nanna Luders (vocals), Peter Uhrbrand (violin and viola), Karen Tweed (accordion) and Ian Carr (guitar). They all have other projects, but play together here as if they've been playing together all their lives. The relaxed feeling adds to the pleasure of this album.

It's difficult to single out high points on Faerd, for it meshes together so well. There's a mix of vocal and instrumental numbers, ballads and dance tunes. The liner notes give the general background of the music, though the tracks are not discussed individually. The album is reminiscent of Karen Tweed's collaboration with Timo Alakotila, May Monday, though Faerd is folkier. Although Romme's soprano sax is the stereotypical "light jazz" instrument, here it gives the music a distinctive flavor not often found in folk.

For an enjoyable musical trip to the Faroe Islands or an opportunity to sample some terrific playing, grab Faerd.

- Rambles
written by Jennifer Hanson
published 13 December 2003