Annbjorg Lien, Baba Yaga

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
File under Norwegian Future Folk.

Baba Yaga might be a figure of legend, but Annbjørg Lien herself is very real. She's one of Norway's main musical exports, wonderfully eloquent on both the fiddle and Norway's national instrument, the hardangfele (which is slightly bigger than the violin and features resonant strings). Although the melodies here draw their inspiration from her native tradition, this is very much her own work, edging at several times towards prog rock (as on "Loki," which possesses a decidedly evil, manic streak). There's a delicious, deliberate complexity to the sound, but underneath it still possesses the rhythm and energy of music made for dancing — it's just tempered by a rock sensibility. Lien is a commanding player with a strong imagination in her compositions, but the other musicians frame her work wonderfully, and she's not afraid to relinquish centre stage to let them have their say. File (if you really must pigeonhole) under 'Norwegian Future Folk.'