Draupner, Arvet (Caprice Records, 2003)

Draupner are a young trio of folk musicians from the Swedish province of Hälsingland. Hennig Andersson (fiddle and viola), Görgen Antonsson (fiddle and five-stringed fiddle), and Tomas Lindberg (guitar and mandola) started playing together as adolescents in 1994, and released their self-titled debut CD in March 2001. For their second CD Arvet ("Heritage"), Draupner obtained the services of Väsen's Roger Tallroth as producer. Four of the seventeen tunes on Arvet are originals; the rest are gleamed from the expansive Hälsingland fiddling tradition.

Not surprisingly, given the band's trio format and Roger Tallroth's production, Draupner sounds a lot like Väsen on many of the tunes. This isn't necessarily a bad thing in general, but Draupner doesn't bring quite the same muscle to its arrangements, and sometimes comes across as "Väsen lite." The band instead hits its best stride on the more distinctive tunes. For example, the second track "Waltz from Per Jonsson" actually oscillates between an energetic jig and a waltz, and Draupner does a fine job of making the transitions flow naturally and seamlessly. Another of the disc's highlights is the exquisite, deliberately paced "March, from Jon-Erik Öst." Lindberg's accompaniment is its most effective when he aims less for power and more for counter-melody, like in "From-Olle no. 7." In general this happened when he played the mandola, but Lindberg's 12-string work on "A-minor polska from Hultkläppen" is very nice as well.

Arvet does live up to its name, as it is both a celebration and a promotion of the musical heritage of Draupner's home region. The band's style is more purely traditional on the whole than that of Väsen, or the other New Nordic Folk bands carried by NorthSide for that matter. People looking for polskas and other traditional tunes from Hälsingland to play or to dance to will find a lot of music on Arvet to their liking. And while I wouldn't put Draupner on the same level as Väsen, any fans of Väsen looking for similar music shouldn't be disappointed by what they hear on this disc.

Overall grade: B+

Reprinted with permission from The Green Man Review
Copyright 2006 The Green Man Review

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