Title - 'Trees Of Light' [ECM]
Artist - Anders Jormin & Lena Willemark & Karin Nakagaw
Anders Jormin’s new Swedish-Japanese project returns the highly distinctive voice and fiddle of Lena Willemark to ECM (her first appearance on the label in more than a decade), and introduces koto player Karin Nakagawa on the highly impressive Trees Of Light.
Swedish bassist and composer Bassist Anders Jormin first established a musical partnership with Bobo Stenson in the mid-1980s which led to international recognition playing with Charles Lloyd, in the early 1990s. In the late 1990s he also performed regularly with Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stañko, but here on Trees Of Light he seems to have found is true groove - so to speak.
For those not in the know, the songs here on Trees Of Light are in "Älvdalsmål Swedish" dialect, but the package notes have English translations. In fact, even here the short lines of sketchy poetry have a Sino-Japanese quality, as in "Gently / beneath crimson / Women's radiant heart / Preserved in peace / Shining peace."
Trees Of Light is a stunning album of music and one that incorporate a gentle sing-song Swedish folk fiddle melodies until the koto timbre, tremolo, note bending and spacing take the listener into a Zen garden. The Swedish musicians could have easily played with a harpist, but they had the insight that the koto and traditional Japanese musical features offered a new sound, one at home with their Nordic perspectives.