Roar Vangen,
(Hot Club, 2004)

The Norwegian guitar player and multi-instrumentalist Roar Vangen released his debut solo CD Streng (chord) in June 2004. The album is an astounding piece of music inspired by traditional music from Norway with strong influences from other styles -- the latter thanks to some brilliant guest musicians.

Celio De Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro plays percussion and brings in the passionate rhythms from Brazil. Finn Everson on flute and vocals has worked with different Norwegian musicians of different styles, the vocal group Bjelleklang being his most successful project. Magne Askeland on violin plays with the Norse Attack, whose style can be positioned somewhere between Irish and Norwegian folk. Last but not least, Embla Aarvik and Kirsti Stenseth add their beautiful singing.

The CD begins with some inspired guitar playing on "Gi fan i tullen." Vangen starts with a lovely tune and accelerates the rhythm more and more until the soft melody takes over again at the end. There are two more solo tracks by Vangen showcasing his talented guitar playing. Another highlight is the hauntingly beautiful "Fjellwind" (mountain wind), a mesmerizing melody played by flute, violin, guitar, bass and percussion. The enchanting "Til Dovre faller" features wonderful vocals and violin playing. There are also some very interesting tunes like a jig or a boogie with stunning arrangement and instrumentation.

The rhythms and melodies sometimes remind you of flamenco or even Asian dances. "Rotteracet" is one of those tracks you wouldn't locate in the north of Europe; it rather sounds like a fusion of Spanish and Indian gypsy music with influences from Brazil, for an absolutely gorgeous sound. The CD ends with another great dance tune, "Rundt og rundt" (round and around) where Vangen plays the bouzouki and bass.

The CD is a wonderful sample of traditional music styles fused together to a new sound and performed by excellent musicians. Those of you who understand the Norwegian language can find some more information at

by Adolf Goriup
22 April 2006

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