CD Review – Fika

Elysian Fields
Move MCD 603

Written by Paul Cooke

Elysian Fields is an ensemble formed to create new music for the electric viola da gamba. Its founding members were The Marais Ensemble’s Jenny Eriksson and two jazz musicians, saxophonist Matt Keegan and pianist Matt McMahon. Fika is a Swedish concept which emphasises the importance of community, evidenced in two of the compositions which feature the affecting voice of Susie Bishop: Sofia Karlsson’s Frid på Lord is frequently heard in Sweden at Christmas, and the folksong Vi ska ställa till en roliger dans has its origins as a dance considered suitable for boys and girls making their first acquaintance. Låt till Far, previously arranged for a baroque trio by The Marais Project, is here performed by violin, viola da gamba and piano. Matt Keegan’s Cold Soul, inspired by the Scandinavian landscape, displays qualities which resonate throughout the album: majestic but nevertheless meditative, it seems to provide consolation for hard times.

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