Finland's Innovative Folk Collective Frigg Release New Album 'Perintö' (English - Heritage)
By Stevie Connor. Photo Credit: Antti Kokkola
"Frigg’s music shows a deep understanding and knowledge of old playing styles: a lot of old, a little bit of new, wonderful skill and just the right amount of feeling. With this recipe, PERINTÖ (English: HERITAGE) was born: an entity that tells the story of what traditional Finnish folk music is at its very best.
The spirit of traditional folk music encapsulates the philosophy of appreciating everyone’s personal distinctive playing style. Frigg respects this right and approaches tunes from different parts of Finland in a unique and individual way: some are performed with playful ornaments, others are celebrated with some rhythmic, syncopated bowing, and if the spirit of the tune allows it, some rely on the hypnotic power of a simple drone.
Polskas, waltzes, and other dance tunes are arranged partly for the whole band and partly for smaller groupss. Even behind the simplistic interpretations, there is a sense of artful arrangement and instrumental skill. We are talking about a real living cultural heritage. An elegant entity to be enjoyed sitting, lying down or dancing! " - Juhani Näreharju.
It’s February 2000. The new millennium is taking its first breaths, the fuss and excitement slowly subsides, and the world did not end after all! A group of teenage folk music enthusiasts spend a weekend shut away in Pelimannitalo, a folk music house in Kaustinen – the heart of Finnish folk music. Violins are played, musical thoughts flying about, new songs learned with gusto. A true passion for traditional Nordic music is audible, visible and aglow! The first demo tapes are recorded, and the future is being planned. This group starts calling itself Frigg.
The band’s line-up is established as an ensemble of four violins, string instruments and a double bass. In the spring of 2002, the band’s first album is released, and Frigg is becoming a popular topic of discussion amongst the Nordic folk music circles. As the Nordics become ever smaller, European folk music events quickly become familiar to the band.
Frigg’s pace only accelerates and a hunger for more grows. Their music is living and taking on new directions and nuances. Audiences are in awe of the band’s ability to transport listeners to traditional Finnish polska, bluegrass and Balkan rhythms and all the way to the dynamics of classical music, as if there were multiple groups performing on stage! The tight ensemble performance and a candid stage presence work. Frigg is able to turn their gigs into a scenic experience, giving their listeners a break from the greyness of the world.
Frigg will go on to visit the WOMAD Festival at the invitation of the BBC, visit the Rainforest World Music Festival in the rainforests of Borneo, and tour Japan and Australia. The joyful Nordic folk music laced with Bluegrass is a knockout in North America and one state after the other get their share of Frigg fever. As icing on the cake, Frigg is invited to perform at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival along with the best of the best in Roots music. In addition to their own concerts, the band performs spectacular projects together with symphony orchestras, choirs and brass bands. New music is released at a steady pace, with albums repeatedly appearing in the listings and raving album reviews of fRoots, Songlines, Rhythms.au and numerous other world music portals.
And now, after two decades, ten albums, around a thousand gigs in thirty countries and tens of thousands of kilometres travelled, that same passion still burns. The hypnotic combination of that now-famous violin sound, the irresistible forward-pushing strum of string instruments and the pulse from the double bass, all together continue to create new paths. Just like the steady flow of a mountain stream in the springtime, the origins of which are precisely known.