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Editorial Board
Classical Editor
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BIS Downloads available from

Gunnar IDENSTAM (b.1961)
Jukkaslåtar (Songs for Jukkasjärvi)
Poem I [5:43]
Cradle Song (Sami version) [2:00]
Eight Seasons [5:27]
Dance of the First Snow [4:12]
Bieggaolmai [4:59]
Finn's Dance [3:54]
Song of the Water Spirit [4:16]
Cradle Song (Swedish version) [1:27]
Midwinter [2:23]
Saari Polska [3:11]
Halling [3:34]
Reindeer on the Frozen River [4:47]
Dance to Spring [2:40]
Summer Wind [4:10]
Cradle Song (Meänkieli version) [4:29]
Cradle Song II [3:01]
Poem II - Epilogue [4:29]
Simon Marainen (yoik, vocals) Brita-Stina Sjaggo (vocals) Sandra Marteleur (violin) Thorbjörn Jakobsson (saxophone) Jonas Sjöblom (percussion) Gunnar Idenstam (organ, tapes)
rec. Kiruna Church, March 2010. DDD
BIS BIS-SACD-1868 [65:40]

Experience Classicsonline

Those who enjoy BBC Radio 3's Late Junction will almost certainly find the material on this disc very much to their liking. Everyone else would be wiser looking elsewhere for musical entertainment - as far away as possible, in fact. Because this is not 'classical' by any stretch of the imagination, despite the appearance of violin, organ and saxophone at various points: it is cross-over.
The booklet warns of this; it says that the music of Swede Gunnar Idenstam, who composed or arranged all the items, is a "bridge between the French cathedral tradition, symphonic rock music and folk music." So there are elements of all three throughout, interwoven - not necessarily with much skill - and for that reason the music will probably not please lovers of any of those categories individually, least of all the first - César Franck is a universe away. This is cross-over of the New Age variety, with a beat through much of the music which only New Age and pop fans will appreciate. At its worst, in tracks like Reindeer on the Frozen River and Dance to Spring, the music sounds like a refugee from 1980s pop.
None of the 'songs' are particularly memorable; in fact, because of their New Age simplicity, they are really rather samey, the price paid for Idenstam's intention to create a 'concept' album - a kind of tribute to the traditional way of life of the Samis, Finns and Swedes in the village of Jukkasjärvi in northern Scandinavia.
The purely instrumental pieces are slightly better; Saari Polska is as good as it gets, whereas Finn's Dance comes reasonably close to a sprightly folk dance. As for the "vocals", as they are inevitably described, Brita-Stina Sjaggo at least has an attractive voice; Marainen's yoik (Sami-style) singing is little more than a horrid throaty wailing.
The CD comes in a glossy fold-out case made of rather flimsy card, and nimble fingers are required to extract the booklet from its hidden pocket. The sound quality, however, is superb. Why a great label like BIS chose to allot the extra resources for an SACD to this kind of fare is puzzling - but not as puzzling as their decision to record this in the first place. In his introduction, Idenstam describes Jukkaslåtar thus: "Baroque meets yoik, meets [...] high tech [...], meets juicy symphonic layers of melody [...], meets orgiastic groove ... meets you." Caveat emptor.




















































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