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Written in fRoots issue 211/212, 2001

Live På Halkær Kro

Halkær Kro Halkær 1 (2000)

Normally a venue-recorded live collection would merit a few lines in “And The Rest”, but this double CD, excellently recorded by Danish Radio between 1993 and 2000 at the intimate Danish concert and festival venue, captures golden moments of life and zip not to be found anywhere else.
      In the sort of storming full cry rarely achieved in the studio are twenty-seven leading European names including, from Britain and Ireland, Ron Kavana’s Alias Big Band, the short-lived Caledon, Kathryn Tickell with Tweed, Ian Carr and Geoff Lincoln, the Barely Works, the Poozies, Steve Tilston and Maggie Boyle, Chris Wood and Andy Cutting, the Simon Nicol/Chris While/Ashley Reed period Albion Band, the Battlefield Band, Chris While and Julie Matthews, Máirtín O’Connor with the Chatterbox Band, Ian Matthews, Alasdair Fraser with Tony McManus, Máire Ní Chathasaigh and Chris Newman, and Andy Irvine. There are Finns JPP and Troka, the Anglo-Swedish Swåp, the Norwegian Fliflet-Bastians Frie Flyt, Italian guitarists Beppe Gambetta and Carlo Aonzo, Danes ULC, Phønix and Haugaard and Høirup both as a duo and with a Vingården expanded with other members of the American Café Orchestra, plus from North America New Englander Rodney Miller with the All Round Boys and Cape Breton’s Natalie MacMaster with her band.
      All deliver in top form but, partly because they’re likely to be less familiar names outside Norway and partly because their contribution is so remarkable, special mention must go to the performance by the band that includes accordionist Gabriel Fliflet with regular partner drummer Ole Hamre, whose live duo gigs are tours-de-force of wit and unpredictability. Here they’re joined by clarinettist Peter Bastian, fiddler Oluf Dimitri Røe, bassist Olav Tveitane and Sámi joiker Ailo Gaup for an extraordinary eleven-minute piece that begins with Balkan lyricism, then chugs and flies into Balkan dance over which Gaup delivers angry joik as the backing evolves via deconstructing noise-terror into Turkish mode, impatient Balkan wedding-band music and Gypsy bat-hearing fiddling. And the following track from Swåp is no come-down.

© 2000 Andrew Cronshaw

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