Kippis! It’s high time to raise a glass to Finnish fiddling powerhouse band FRIGG – who celebrate an incredible 20 years of music making in 2020. And they will mark the milestone with the release of FRIXX, their tenth album.
One of Finland’s hottest musical exports, the sizzling Scandinavian septet have carved themselves a top notch in folk with their heart-bursting, life-affirming, feelgood tunes and immaculate precision musicianship. Oozing charisma and theatricality their high energy music has successfully crossed borders all round the globe.
FRIXX is their first album since 2017’s Frost on Fiddles and 2012’s highly acclaimed Polka V - Songlines ‘Top of the World’ album, Folklandia’s Folk Album of the Year and nominated for the prestigious Teosto Prize, awarded annually by Finnish composers –recognising the fact that Frigg almost exclusively perform their own infectious original tunes.
It’s an exuberant ensemble that has emerged from the famous Kaustinen fiddle tradition. Reviewing Frigg’s debut album, American folk music magazine Sing Out! exalted the stunning Scandinavians as “The second coming of JPP”, a reference to the legendary Finnish group that for 20 years had carried the torch for Nordic string bands.
Named after the Norse goddess of love and fertility, this exquisite line-up have been credited with creating their own captivating style of music – Nordgrass, fusing Nordic folk and American bluegrass – which has found widespread appeal amongst folk, world and classical music fans alike.
The innovative combo features the virtuosic talents of two members of the famed Jarvela family from the central Finland village of the same name - siblings Alina and Esko Järvelä. Their cousin Antti, the band’s former double bass player and frontman has handed over to bassist Juho Kivivuori, who has dep’d for him over the past few years and Anssi Salminen has taken over from original guitarist Tomas Logren in the current line-up.
Tommi Asplund and Tero Hyvaluoma complete the formidable core fiddling foursome while Petri Prauda delivers his cittern and mandolin skills. Guests featuring on the album are Luis Peixoto on the cavaquinho, Senni Eskelinen on the traditional Finnish kantele with Anni Jarvela and Siiri Virkkala providing additional strings.
Recorded at Espoo’s Mimix Studio, the12-track FRIXX reveals an ever more confident, sharply-honed and versatile act –delivering fast, furious and fun original tunes tempered with exquisite, soporific wind-down numbers. Sometimes melancholic, sometimes mischievous this is music to daydream to one minute and dance to the next. It is produced by Esko and Tero, who, along with Petri, have also composed most of the diverse tunes.
Says Tommi: “We can hardly believe that Frigg has been performing for two decades but we hope we have come up with some bright, fresh and engaging new tunes to get everyone in the mood to help us celebrate –the world needs more happy music!”
Frigg’s globetrotting gigs full of ‘Finnish tunes with Norwegian detours’ has seen them complete extensive tours of North America, together with tours of Australia, Japan, Germany, Austria, the Benelux countries and Spain, Portugal, France and Switzerland. Their numerous festival appearances around the world include WOMADelaide, Norway’s Førde Festival, Austria’s Glatt und Verkehrt and Malaysia’s Rainforest World Music Festival.
After an initial appearance at Shetland Folk Festival and Glasgow Fruitmarket back in 2009 they made their first proper touring foray into the UK in 2013 wowing the audiences at Celtic Connections, Bury Met and Sage Gateshead among others and featuring on BBC Radio 3. Since then they have returned by popular demand several times and played UK festivals including Cambridge, Orkney and The Scots Fiddle Festival as well as last year’s Songlines Encounter Festival.
Photo Credits: Frigg: (1),(2) unknown/website; (3) by Walkin' Tom; (4) by folkBALTICA.