MayMondayThe album May Monday is a collection of mostly new instrumental compositions in the Irish and Swedish folk traditions. The pieces are centered around Karen Tweed’s piano accordian and Timo Alakotila’s classically-influenced piano playing, but around half of the tracks also feature a chamber group made up of a second accordian, guitar, flugelhorn and strings. The accordian playing is intricate but relaxed, the seamless long melodic lines superb. And this is achieved even though the music itself doesn’t play it safe, by any means – the rhythms and accents are all over the place (for example, the alternating six-eight and five-eight bars in the opening section of “Melting”), as are the harmonic modes, which constantly challenge expectations. It’s also very hard to distinguish between the new and traditional compositions, as both are equally quirky. Although this music comes from a different musical tradition, the approach reminds me of Gideon Kramer’s chamber renditions of Piazzolla’s tangos on his CD Hommage a Piazzolla. Highly recommended, even for those (like me) not normally attracted to folk music. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get hold of.

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