Sinikka Langeland - The Magical Forest - ECM 2448



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The Magical Forest brings together Sinikka Langeland’s Norwegian-Finnish-Swedish Starflowers quintet with the singers of the Trio Mediӕval. It’s an inspired concept: the Trio Mediӕval, with their affinity for folk music and their unique vocal blend, adapt themselves ideally to Sinikka’s sound-world, which is at once archaic, timeless and contemporary. Quintet members Trygve Seim, Arve Henriksen, Anders Jormin and Markku Ouanskari are amongst the most strikingly original players in Scandinavia today. All bandleaders in their own right, they have been putting their concerted musical energies at the service of Sinikka Langeland’s concepts for a decade and more: the quintet appeared both on Starflowers (recorded 2006) and The Land that Is Not (2010), and Seim and Ounaskari, furthermore, played on The half-finished heaven (recorded 2013, released 2015). The earlier releases with the quintet were also explorations of sung poetry, setting texts from Hans Børli, Edith Södergran and Olav Håkonson Hauge.

This time, Sinikka Langeland, kantele player and verse-maker/composer from eastern Norway’s “forest of the Finns”, looks at much older texts in a fresh cycle of songs built upon myths and legends...

“It is inspiring, says Sinikka, “to find traces and fragments of ideas about the world tree, axis mundi, in Finnskogen. I have transformed these and some parallel stories into songs that are encircled by instrumental passages and improvisations by the musicians.” She quotes the late historian-philosopher Mircea Eliade: "Every Microcosm, every inhabited region, has a centre, a place that is sacred above all."

The songs here, beginning with Sinikka’s setting of a traditional rune song text, “Puun Loitsu (Prayer to the Tree Goddess)”, celebrate the spirit of place. Langeland has been based in Finnskogen since 1992, and the sounds of


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the forest and the deep history of the region are integral to her work. In her notes to The Magical Forest, she writes that “Finnskogen can be regarded as the western part of a cultural belt that runs eastward through Finland, Russia and Siberia all the way to Japan.” Common to this shamanistic pathway are songs and hunting rituals, such as the one Langeland illuminates on “Kamui”.

The Magical Forest was recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in February 2015, and produced by Manfred Eicher. The full album line-up with Sinikka Langeland’s Starflowers group plus Trio Mediӕval will be appearing at Oslo’s Cosmopolite on October 28 and at Røgden Bruk Finnskogen on October 29.

For further information, visit Sinikka’s web site: www.sinikka.no