Hyperborea, Semmosta (Finnish Folk Music Institute, 2006)

Hyperborea are a Finnish quartet consisting of Frigg's Petri Prauda on cittern, mandolin, and vocals; Piia Kleemola on fiddle, viola, kantele, and vocals; Paula Suistaval on fiddle, nyckelharpa, and vocals; and Antti Paalanen on accordion. While not as frenetic as Frigg are, their sound is more firmly rooted in the Finnish pelimanni tradition. They play their waltzes, schottisches, and polkas in a graceful, melodic style that is very well suited for traditional dances. Their more conventional approach might not get them as wide of an international following as Frigg has, but their second album Semmosta is a very worthy endeavor full of good tracks. Highlights include the opening schottisch "Isua Enkeliskaa," the extended waltz "Pihlajatie," and the Väsen-like "Björkö-Polska." If you're looking for some New Nordic Folk that's a bit on the more purely traditional side, then I'd recommend Semmosta very strongly.

Overall grade: A-

reviewed by Scott

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