Review Archive

‘Mala Fama’ from Summers : Silvola : Kvam - a collection of pure five-star tunes

(November 27, 2012)

Before I heard a single note I knew this would be a treat. ‘Mala Fama’ from Summers : Silvola : Kvam is a new album based around the special talent of that leading light among Scottish fiddle players - Mala FamaSarah-Jane Summers. On this album, Sarah-Jane (fiddle, Hardanger fiddle) plays alongside Juhani Silvola (acoustic guitar) and Morten Kvam (double bass) to deliver a collection of pure five-star tunes.

The album ranges across both the musicians’ own compositions and traditional tunes to create an entrancing exploration of their individual and collective heritage. There’s Sarah-Jane’s dramatically disquieting ‘Mala Farma/ The Exorcist’, plus the supremely expressive ‘Train Jig’ and ‘Fartsgrense’ (Norwegian for speed limit). Tradition is represented by ‘Walk on Water’ and a pair of hornpipes ‘The Smith He’s Black an’ Brucket/ Mrs MacIntosh of Raigmore’. Among the other tracks the addition of Morten’s ’Sang1’ a gentle reflective tune of significant depth and Juhani’s composition, ‘The Lumberjack’ which fairly seethes with life, and Sarah-Jane’s inspired tribute to her friends’ wedding ‘Max & Sophia’s’ makes this an album to savour.

With influences from Scotland, Finland and Norway there’s live thread of energy that flows through this music – alluring, beguiling and above all supremely engaging. The tunes sweep across their musical landscape to tear you from your chair and bid you dance, to bring breathtaking joy and laughter, to express sadness and prompt tears. This is music that rides your emotions and takes you away from yourself on a journey that crosses borders and frontiers with consummate ease.

If you want to treat your friends or loved ones this festive season, then you should buy them a copy of ‘Mala Fama’  – they will be entranced.

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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