I learned early in life to love the minor key, without being aware of it. I knew nothing about music theory. Much later, I found a musical connection between the songs that I love. Swedish folk music is characterized by minor keys. It is considered to reflect gloom; the modesty of a peasant society, the rural remoteness and endless forests. Minor keys are said to express grief. But why is it that the shorter musical steps, certain half-tones, awaken sadness in humans? Is it, that with its constrained movements, it reminds us of resigned people with dampened body language who look at the ground?
For me, the minor temperament of folk music is not at all about sadness, but about sincerity and devotion. It is music that makes you believe in your own feelings and at the same time feel involved in the larger context; it gives you a sense of security in the giant darkness of the universe, an affinity with, and sense of belonging to, people who lived long ago as well as those who will not be born for many years to come.
I am happy that Lisa and Lisa have made this record; there are so many of my own emotional currents that I come into contact with when I listen to it. Here, innovation in Swedish folk touches music from the early Baroque, as can be heard in the music of composers such as Samuel Scheidt and Johann Hermann Schein, an important precursor to Bach, and whose music was itself rooted in older folk music. The music on this album deals tenderly with different influences, creating a dense web. It requires things of you as a listener, but also gives so much back.
There is so much we must trust, Thomas Tranströmer writes in his poem Schubertiana, where he attributes to the music a higher existential value. We must dare to trust it, he says, just as when the light goes out in the stairwell and your hand follows – with confidence – the blind handrail that finds its way in the dark. I think of that when I listen to this album, for this is music worthy of our trust. This is music that finds its way in the dark.
Joyful, delicate, urgent, teasing, sombre and thoughtful. An unexpectedly beautiful pairing of the accordion and violin, each instrument soaring or supporting in an ever-changing dialogue. The rhythms of life pulsing under the joy of the spring morning, with notes tumbling over themselves in their playful desire to shine.
Ruth Sullivan, Foley Artist
When the darkness in the music merges with the light, something within me suddenly brings my attention to a detail of Isabelle’s artwork, a momentary expression in a face. The picture in turn opens up new movements, tones or shades in the music that again touch something in me. Our impulses run as a flow that is beyond our conscious control, both wonderful and vulnerable; a magical dance giving each other space to be in that state of gentle exploration that is so full of life, and yet is so seldom given time and space today. In that state, within us and between us, where our minds can clear and expand, there is such a blessing to be found. Thank you all for letting me be part of the journey.
AnnaReet Gillblad, Photographer