Anders Jormin, Lena Willemark, Karin Nakagawa – Trees of Life (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44.1 kHz | Time – 00:56:35 minutes | 520 MB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | @ ECM Records GmbH
Recorded: Creative Space, Miami; EMI Studios, Mayfair Studios, London; The Headquarters, New Jersey; Recorded: May 2013, Konstepidemin, Göteborg
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. In their collaborative music the Japanese classical tradition and the stark, archaic sounds of the koto, allied to Jormin’s muscular bass improvisations, form a unique context for Lena’s sung poems, delivered in her native Älvdals-dialect. Traditions and non-idiomatic improvising are cross-referenced, and new paths are opened up.
Bringing together composed music by all three participants—and recorded after two years spent working on the music in rehearsal and in concert—Trees of Light is rife with singable themes, cascading supportive lines and swirling koto sweeps that allow the music to ebb and flow so organically that the improvisation, so fundamental to its raison d’être, oftentimes blurs the line between form and freedom. With the broad-ranged koto able to traverse the entire range covered, in parts, by Jormin’s bass and Willemark’s fiddle, it often possesses an adherent quality, joining all three instruments into a seamless whole.
But, while there are songs where, indeed, the three players come together as a glorious whole, there is also plenty of space for permutation and combination…and solo excursions too, with koto, first alone, ultimately supporting Willemark’s voice before Jormin joins in to complete the imagery. Jormin’s remarkable and inimitable extended techniques (both pizzicato and arco)—developed over decades now—are given a cappella moments, too; and Willemark proves herself as compelling and evocative a fiddler as she is a singer—sometimes playing with raw, almost unfettered energy, other times so delicately that it seems as though she is barely breathing on her strings.
As transcultural collaborations go, Trees of Light is an unequivocal success, with Willemark having taught Nakagawa the Swedish polska and Nakagawa, in turn, shedding light on the millennial koto tradition for both Willemark and Jormin. Together, the three make music that’s redolent of both traditions and yet reveals something else as well.
1. Krippainggler 08:43
2. Dröm 03:55
3. Jag Starkvar 03:19
4. Urbanus 04:03
5. Hirajoshi 05:59
6. Minni 02:03
7. Ogadh Dett 05:39
8. Lyöstraini 05:14
9. Slingerpolska 02:28
10. Uoruo 05:59
11. Lyösfridhn 04:49
12. Vilda Vindar 04:27
Lena Willemark, voice, fiddle and viola
Anders Jormin, double bass
Karin Nakagawa, 25-string koto