Review: Bridget Marsden and Leif Ottosson — Mountain Meeting

I have never reviewed an album on this blog before but this one’s so good I’m prepared to make an exception. Bridget Marsden is a young English violinist who fell in love with Swedish folk music and studied for her Masters degree in Stockholm; Leif Ottosson is a young Swedish accordionist determined to get new sounds out of his instrument. They teamed up for this album, and have been playing concerts with some kind of storytelling guy, apparently.

Now, I normally don’t like the accordion, but at my workplace we were throwing away a bunch of CDs we had been sent for review, and this looked interesting (on the cover, Marsden looks a bit like a very attractive rabbit that has temporarily assumed human form, while Ottosson looks like a junior member of a crime family) and I took it home because I thought it worth the gamble. (There were other reasons, such as my lingering fondness for Scandinavian folk music, but anyway.)

Ottosson (l), Marsden (r), photo by Aron Mattsson
Ottosson (l), Marsden (r), photo by Aron Mattsson

These two are really good. This is what you hope albums of traditional music will be like, but so seldom are like. Ottosson plays his accordion like a fiddle, without any of the hearty chordal oompah which is normally so off-putting in records of accordion music, and Marsden is mercurial, light and stabbing in her attack. This music is danceable but it also has a sense of silence and violence. I’m very pleased with this and I heartily recommend it to those who prefer their traditional music to be non-reassuring. Buy it here.

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Review: Bridget Marsden and Leif Ottosson — Mountain Meeting