Norwegian double bass player Håkon Thelin belongs to a small elite of double bass player who keep expanding and redefining the bull fiddle language and sonic possibilities. He plays in the genre-binding trio POING, teaches as professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and collaborates with innovative contemporary ensembles such as the Ensemble Modern and Musikfabrik.
«Folk» continues his work o his previous solo album «Light» (Atterklang, 2011). Thelin reflects on these albums on what he calls folk music for the double bass, and this time he introduces three new original works that reflect the timbre, texture and technique of flamenco music, coupled with challenging compositions by Luciano Berio, late double bass master Stefano Scodanibbio and fellow Norwegian composer Lars-Petter Hagen. In between these compositions, he adds tests read by fellow musicians and poet Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen that illuminate the identity of the music, musician and instrument, its tradition and future, summarized best by pianist Ingfrid Breie Nyhus: «One’s voice resides in something larger than oneself», and in the poem of Pedersen:
of kindred viol
thou broad bass
you could not have felt a caress more virtuous
to stroke and pluck
the thin man
with lofty locks and
the genre wide mind
to honour music by.
The virtuoso playing is a given, but Thelin is fully focused on the music and his commanding extended techniques are always employed in the service of the music. His adaption of Luciano Berio’s monumental «Sequenza XIVb», in Scodanibbio’s reinvented version, already covered in his homage to the late double bass master «a Stefano Scodanibbio» (Atterklang, 2014), is an inspiring work of art, performed majestically. This composition has musical references to flamenco music as well as drumming traditions of Sri Lanka and with each listening to it its richness and more poetic ideas are revealed. Same kind of inspired inventiveness characterizes Scodanibbio’s rhythmic «Geografia amorosa» (also covered in «a Stefano Scodanibbio»), where Thelin percussive playing with the bow is fascinating. Hagen’s serene and melancholic «Hymn», explores what the composer describes as «non-existent folk music for an enormous, fictitious fiddle». Thelin’s touching flamenco-informed compositions open and close the album, all suggest the infinite spectrum of this string magical instrument (Scodanibbio term).
Håkon Thelin (b); Ottar Kåsa, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, Unni Løvlid, Sarah Ludwig Simkin and Torgeir Rebolledo Pedersen (v)