Svart Kaffe,
(Nomis, 2005)

Unless you're Swedish, this isn't your everyday folk music. Nonetheless, it's an excellent introduction to the genre and pleasant listening even if you don't understand the language.

It's mostly joyful music and as uplifting as a jolt of caffeine (Svart Kaffe, the group's name, translates to black coffee). The 17 tracks include traditional and modern songs, polkas, waltzes and a few whose origin goes back to ancient times.

Jean-Pierre Evert, the founder of Svart Kaffe, is a native of France who has become an ambassador for Swedish music in his homeland. He relocated to Sweden in October 2004. A man with an impressive set of mustaches, he plays accordion, willow flute and the sanza, an African thumb-piano.

Louise Schultz plays the fiddle and sings in Swedish. Though the language is not the same, the mellowness and range of her voice remind me a bit of Chava Alberstein, the renowned Israeli singer. Rounding out the group is Simon Stalspets, who plays guitar, Nordic mandola and harmonica.

As to favorites, you'll have to pick your own. Some of mine include "C'est Le Belage," "Blicken," "Fleksasen," "Bla Rocken" and "Mansang."

by John R. Lindermuth
17 February 2007

[ visit the artist's website ]