Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CD Review: Annbjorg Lien's 'Khoom Loy'

Annbjorg Lien
Khoom Loy
Compass Records

As a Norwegian fiddler and traditional musician, Annbjorg Lien has enthralled listeners throughout the world for years. Khoom Loy, which is Thai for 'Paper Lanterns,' is a fun romp throughout the Scandinavian and Celtic fiddling worlds with lively nyckelharpa, guitar, zither, banjo, pedal steel, B3, mellotron, bass, assorted percussion, and various brass. The songs are mostly instrumental, but Annbjorg's vocals on "Khoom Loy,'' suggest a strong folk influence. The jazzy, jam outro on "Natten" and "Needles Eye" are most akin to many of the Dave Matthews Band jam sessions with lively percussion, strings, and horns. The buzuq, bouzouki, tabla, sarod, and related instruments provide a Middle Eastern and South Asian element on "Den Storste Daarlighed" and "Til." There are spirited moments, contemplative melodies, and jazzy sounds that truly encapsulate the essence of world music today. Nothing is cheesy here. This is one of the best albums from Annbjorg's repertoire. ~ Matthew Forss

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