Trä as in “that’s Swedish for `wood’.” Normally, I’d expect the Finnish-Swedish CD someone hands me to be packed with death metal. Not so in this case. Hedningarna are a Swedish-Finnish folk or “world” band devoted to the traditional sounds of their homelands. So instead of roaring bass or blazing guitars, Anders Stake plays the Swedish bagpipes, Bjorn Tollin plays a saw, Hllbus Totte Mattsson plays lute, hurdy-gurdy and mora-oud, Sanna Kurki-Suonio sings and plays bass drum, and Tellu Paulasto sings and plays a bass moraharpa. Half the songs are in Swedish and half are in Finnish, two languages I don’t speak, but they did include translations in English, so…

The music is beautiful and the songs are about life, magic horses, nakedness, the wind, nature and other elements of interest to traditional-type people. Perhaps this is what the Vikings and their Finnish neighbors listened to while planning the next raid or having a good time at the Thing. A pleasant break from all the church-burning Nordic metal I’ve been (nicely) swamped with of late. All fans of “world” music will enjoy the music of Hedningarna. Northside Records, 530 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401

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