Nordic Raga Acoustic Music Centre

Few musical collaborations in recent times could be more unexpected than that of two exponents of traditional Nordic music, Par Moberg (sax and flute) and Dan Svensson (percussion and vocals) combining their talents with those of the outstanding Carnatic violin player from Bangalore, Jyotsna Srinkanth.

But the Scandinavian duo’s desire to experiment with improvisation in Nordic folk, something they found lacking in their home country, has come to fruition in this outstanding trio. While it might have been easier for them to collaborate with jazz musicians in their homeland, a situation that would have allowed them to stretch their abilities while remaining in the comfort zone of polskas, waltzes and hallings, their desire to experiment led them much further afield.

And the result is astonishing. Although they have apparently been working as a trio for less than a year, you could believe that they had grown up playing together, such is the empathy between them. Whether the music came from Indian or Nordic tradition, or indeed an enthralling composition from Srinkanth, it all sounded as if it had been drawn from the same well. Throw in a “meeting in the (geographic) middle” – a Macedonian influenced “Balkan Waltz”, composed, I believe by Svensson – and you have a unique, unforgettable, experience, topped off by the majestic closing halling “Wild Honey”.

And while I would be the first to admit that I am no expert on the concept of Nordic Raga – indeed, who outside this band is? – I know good music when I hear it, and I heard it tonight.

Jim Welsh