Folque are a band that will appeal to fans of traditional-leaning Nordic folk like Gjallarhorn, Kebnekaise and Garmarna. They tend to be mellower than most of Garmarna’s music, and Lisa Helljesen’s vocals are solid but not in the same league as Gjallarhorn’s Jenny Wilhelms.
Like all those bands Folque form their music around traditional Nordic folk (hence the name) but add modern instrumentation such as electric guitar, drums and synthesizers. Of course the instruments that make this folk dominate though, and especially violin, mandolin and dulcimer. At least two band members play banjos, but really the violin tends to overpower all the other stringed instruments on the first half of the album, while on the second half most tracks emphasize the banjos.
Several songs including “Æ'kje Gutane”, “Felerier”, “Dansevise” and “Gjevrevalsen” are simply traditional folk arrangements with really no progressive tendencies whatsoever. On that note the band should probably be considered more of a plain folk band than a contemporary one, but occasionally they stray into this century with some guitar and drums garnishments to liven things up (“Varulv”, “Beiarblakkjen”). These are the exceptions though, and the norm really is a traditional folk album with just enough of the twentieth century in it to earn them a place in the world music rack at your more discerning neighborhood book stores.
I can’t say this album does much for me personally, but it’s decent enough for what it is. I don’t expect most progressive folk fans will find the sounds here too appealing, but if you happen to run across a copy it might make for appropriate background music while reading a dusty old book about European history, or possibly for the drinking hour at a family reunion if Nordic bloodlines run in your family.
Otherwise I can’t say the album rates much more than a fan’s choice, so two stars it is and on to the next one in the stack.
01. No ha Jonsoknatta kome
02. Rei'ar med buttulen
04. Æ'kje gutane
08. Heming og Gyvri
Trond Villa: fele
Lisa Helljesen: vocals
Eilif Amundsen: banjo, guitar, bass
Morten Bing: mandolin, dulcimer, guitar, banjo
Lars Helljesen: sang, guitar
Morten Jakobsen: drums
Jenn E. Mortensen: vocals
Øyvind Rauset: fele, synthesizers
Espen Løvstad: lydteknikker